A sell-out crowd of 650 gathered in Los Olivos on Saturday for the 11th annual Los Olivos Jazz & Olive Festival. A presentation of the Rotary Club of Los Olivos, the event raises funds for a variety of Rotary-supported causes including Santa Barbara Food Bank, Solvang Friendship House, SYV Botanic Garden and Valley Wind Ensemble.
On the jazz front, Grammy-nominated vocalist Denise Donatelli and musicians Stefan Karlsson, Larry Koonse, Tom Warrington and Joe LaBarbera enthralled the crowd.
"This is my fifth year coming to this event. It's a wonderful afternoon. We have perfect weather and a really appreciative audience," Donatelli said.
It turned out that Donatelli has one of those small world connections with the Valley she didn't previously know. Her next CD, out Sept. 15, is titled "Find a Heart" after one of the album's tracks.
"It's a song written by David Crosby," she said. Told that Crosby is a Valley resident, Donatelli didn't even attempt to hide her excitement. "Oh my gosh, I had no idea! We put a jazz arrangement to the song. I'd love to get it to him and hear his reaction."
The afternoon event also featured a popular silent auction, and 28 vintners pouring their latest releases. Each was paired with a dish containing olives made by local professional and amateur chefs. Pam Gnekow's Country Garden Catering had a hit with their savory Kalamata olive muffins, so did Shannon Casey of Rancho Los Olivos, who served her Mediterranean citrus olive salad.
Throughout the day, dozens of Los Olivos Rotarians, wearing bright yellow T-shirts to make them easy to spot, helped guests find their way and enjoy the experience.
"Many attendees come back year after year," said Rotarian Peter Robbins. "We have some who've been to all 11, and we always have people on the phone to us about it before we even have the tickets printed. It all comes down to our treating the guests as good as we possibly can."