It seems that with every weekend that passes, you’re sure to find a good time in every nook and cranny that makes up the Valley. But throw in a good cause, and the community unfolds from the corners and spills out with generosity and warmth. For animal lovers, there was the Pups and Purrs FUNdraiser, co-hosted by C.A.R.E.4Paws and Old Yeller Ranch Rescue at Fess Parker Winery. The annual event raises critical funds for both nonprofit organizations to assist the four-legged population of Santa Barbara County. Ron and Betty Ziegler and guests Tim and Susan Ziegler and Rob and Jeniene Raisch enjoyed perusing the silent auction while listening to music by Jesse Rhodes and the Vineyard Byrds. Then Isabelle Gullo, Amanda Parker and Erica Valdes welcomed all for a seated dinner and live auction in the barrel room, catered by K'Syrah. The event ended with lots of happy guests supporting a great cause, including Sara Sessler, who scored some great vacation packages after some serious bidding wars. A major success, the event raised more than $25,000 for each organization.
For those enthusiastic to help our Valley youth, an old-fashioned chicken barbecue and live auction took place at Nojoqui Falls Park to support the Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation. Katherine Brocke, 2017 Youth Recreation queen, helped lead the live auction, where parkgoers bid on over 100 items. From homemade toffees by Carol Paaske and strawberry jam by Russell and Gail Tomasini, to gift certificates donated by local restaurants and bakeries, there was something for everyone in the auction. Hilary and Morgan Halme, Art Green, Barney Hanly and Gary Brown were some of the lucky bidders to walk away with auction items supporting the cause. A longtime supporter and organizer for the Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, Frank Kelsey shared that this annual auction has taken place since 1958, with proceeds benefiting our youth by providing a range of sports and recreation facilities throughout the Valley.
For the nature-loving crowd, community members gathered at River View Park for a belated Earth Day celebration put on by the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden. A “kid zone” was especially fun for families like Chris and Megan Linton, who brought their son to explore. With bounce houses, a rock climbing wall and Earth Day “passports” encouraging kids to collect stamps after completing activities, there was plenty to encourage children to learn in a playful environment. Bear Erickson and Adriana Ortiz explored some of the action-oriented booths, including SYV Action Community Alliance, a relatively new Valley organization already boasting 300 members; while the alliance focuses on women’s issues, health care and environmental concerns, Stacey Thompson focused on teaching attendees about small steps we can take to help the environment, sharing a demo on how to make “plarn," a yarn replacement made from recycled, single-use shopping bags. After gathering ideas to improve their homes and community, the 21 and over crowd capped the beautiful afternoon in the wine and beer garden with tunes by the Ruben Lee Dalton Band.