Morning fog enveloped the Pirate Garage Car Show, lifting magically to reveal prized cars, trucks, motorcycles, students and proud parents at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.  

We enjoyed visiting with Nathan Hoagland and dad Dan, admiring their restored '58 Fairlane convertible and '68 Fury with Ralph Nadar-mandated seat belts, and we loved a green VW Bug with sign “Don't laugh I was built 30 years ago.” 

Ron and Cindy Long, Bill Hollowell, Allison Cobb with her '58 Belair, Chuck Small and his creamy 1937 Ford Cabriolet were there. A drone filming overhead prompted one concerned owner to hope it didn't fall on her lovingly polished black sedan.

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The 23rd annual Taste of Solvang enlivened Solvang for an entire weekend, starting with Sips & Sweets on Friday night.

Judges Peg Ivy, George Yatchisin and Allison Levine announced the winners. In the amateur category, Celi Ribet's delectable coffee espresso pot decrème was the winner. Carol Krivulka and Kim Jensen's of Ingebord's Chocolates, took home the professional prize for their butterscotch sea salt caramels.

Susan, Jack, CT, and Jody Williams, Allison Banks, Linda and Dan Johansen, Sharon Price, Chris Parker, Bent Olsen, Suzi Sorensen, Danielle Laudon, Dillon Ruse, and Tracy Farhad joined folks from all over California to vote and award attorney Lana Clark and her English toffee the prize for "audience favorite."

A winemaker dinner on Saturday night at the Greenhouse Cafe in Solvang featured a four course meal prepared by Chef Pink and Courtney Rae, paired with Larner wines.  Jeff Paaske, David and Janet Rasmussen, Michael and Christina Larner savored this new addition to the Taste of Solvang's event schedule. Rounding out the festivities was another 2015 Taste innovation, Bubbles & Brunch, at the Wildling Museum. Heather and Richard Bedford, and Julie and Neil Glendinning were among the sell-out crowd enjoying Louise's Kitchen delights paired with bubbles from Norm Yost's Flying Goat Cellars. A fitting closing toast to a wonderful local tradition.

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Women Environment Watch (W.E. Watch) president Penny Knowles welcomed wine notables Jeff Newton, Peter Work, Morgen McLaughlin and host Michael Larner for a fascinating hour of discussion about sustainable and biodynamic vineyard practices. Louis Lucas, Richard Sanford, Bob Baehner and Vicki Fournier-Baehner, celebrated wine makers all, were joined by viticulture students like Michael Sandoval, as well as interested community members, for this W.E. Watch outreach event held at Larner Vineyards.

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Gypsy Studios owner Christi Schaeffer and filmmaker Wil Fernandez joined forces with winemaker Karen Steinwachs, beguiling 20 novice painters to concentrate on old cabernet franc vines, bud break leaves and tiny grape clusters in the inaugural Painting in the Vineyard get-together at Buttonwood Farm. We joined  Tenley and Pete Fohl  and three family groups, all with March 22 birthday girls, for the fun, with each of us creating a unique plein air oil painting. The experience was complemented by Buttonwood wines, as palates and canvasses flew about in the fresh afternoon ocean breeze. 

Aah, our Valley...

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