“Puttin’ on the Glitz,” hosted by the Courthouse Legacy Foundation at the beautiful Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden on Saturday evening, was rumored to be the social event of the season, and for the lucky partygoers who attended the festive affair it far surpassed their expectations.
The event was in honor of the completion of the Spirit of the Ocean fountain, and the gala theme was fashioned after the Roaring Twenties, an epoch in which the original Spirit of the Ocean fountain was designed and completed, in 1929. Fittingly, more than 250 guests arrived at the historic celebration adorned from head-to-toe in apparel reminiscent of the era.
Female guests entered the courthouse garden clad in glamorous straight-line chemise dresses made of colorful silks and rich velvets, embroiled with jewels and fringes with vivid feather boas and headbands, fur stoles, stylish gloves and flirty cloche hats. The gentlemen took care to dress the part for the occasion as well, sporting black tuxedos and pinstriped double-breasted suits with matching fedoras and top hats.
A cocktail hour kicked off the evening’s festivities as attendees mingled under a large “Prohibition Tent” festooned with chandeliers, sipping bubbly from a flowing champagne fountain. Guests also admired stunning ice sculptures fashioned after fish in the original fountain design and posed for photos at a giant paper moon booth designed by William LaChasse of LaChase Professional Creative Services. Models wearing 1920s accessories from the Paris Street Boutique added to the flavor of the night.
Robert Ooley and Robert Baker served as the Masters of Ceremony and offered guests a warm welcome and a special tribute to the donors whose generosity was essential in re-creating the Spirit of the Ocean fountain.
“The project really started about five years ago when I met Robert Ooley and we started discussing the fountain and how it was falling into disrepair,” said Nick Blantern, part of the talented team who carved the new fountain, including Nathan Hunt, Stephen Bouska, Andrian Melka and Blake Rankin.
“This event is a little surreal,” Blantern said. “It’s an honor to be here, and the project is just amazing.”
Event planner Belle Hahn Cohen of Belle Events spent nine months planning for the gala and dedicated the event in memory of her late father, Stephen Hahn, whose passion for the arts and love for the Santa Barbara community inspired her ideas.
“My father was very much a part of this community and art world, and so this project was really both of those things to me,” Cohen said. “The fountain was re-created both for purpose and beauty, and this event was a small thing I could do to contribute to our town in that way.”
The intimate lighting by Ambient Events coupled with elegant décor designed by Joni Papay for Santa Barbara Style added charm to the fashionable affair. Tables were draped in rich cream and shimmering gold tablecloths, and matching gold-plated glass plates complemented breathtaking crystal chandelier centerpieces adorned with roses and peacock feathers.
VIP tables were decorated in aqua tones and black swirls representing the spirit of the ocean. Each guest received a lovely peacock feather that was placed inside cumberbund folded napkins. This delicate party favor was later used prominently by many guests as a hair ornament or fastened into hat lapels.
A delicious dinner was prepared by Wine Leaf Catering and served under the glowing stars and festive lighting. The menu featured an entrée of beef burgundy on herb mashed potatoes or baked halibut with creamy cauliflower in a white wine sauce. Chocolate mousse with strawberry fan topped off the meal as guests were treated to a song and dance ensemble by Glory Lamb and Les Girls. The dancers delighted the crowd with the foxtrot to an old melody with a new twist, “Putting on the Glitz!”
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Debby Davison hosted the live auction that commenced after dinner. Highly sought-after items included “Pieces of History,” sandstone carvings from the original Spirit of the Ocean fountain carved in 1927 by Ettore Cadorin. Also up for bid was an elegant dinner party for 16 guests at the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office hosted by Dudley, a “Jazzy Prohibition Dinner Party for 24 Guests” at the 1929 County Courthouse Jail and an “Enchanting Dinner Party” in an exquisite Santa Barbara location for 30 guests featuring world-class dining by Bryan Scofield of Scofield Catering.
Proceeds from the evening were expected to exceed $20,000 to benefit the Courthouse Legacy Fountain, and the memories were expected to last a lifetime.
Pianist Bryan Tari and jazz vocalist Sweet Baby J’ai kept the evening festive with sweet tunes under the courthouse archway illuminated in vivid purple, blue and green stage lighting. The swinging jazz numbers brought partygoers to their feet as the dance floor quickly filled up with flowing flapper gowns and fedora hats. And in the spirit of the Roaring Twenties, the celebration continued beyond the scheduled finale as guests continued to reminisce in the spirit of the moment.
“You can tell a party is a success when people mingle around long after the event ends,” Cohen said with a smile.
The Courthouse Legacy Foundation thanks the following supporters:
» Rock Solid Sponsors: Michael and Anne Towbes, the children and grandchildren of Stephan Hahn, and the Isabelle Hahn Cohen Foundation
» Chip Off the Old Rock Sponsors: Pearl Chase Society
» Rock On Sponsors: William and Nyna Mahan, Fell, Marking, Abkin, Mongomery, Granet & Rainey, LLP, Robert Ooley and Rodney Baker, Lynn Montgomery and Richard Kreigler, the Courthouse Legacy Foundation, the Courthouse Docent Council, MarBorg Industries, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Arnoldi’s and Keith Mautino
» Hard Rock Corporate Sponsors: Belle Events, Classic Party Rentals, Joni Papay for Santa Barbara Style, Lazaro Press & Design, Miguel Fairbanks Photography, Wine Leaf Catering, Bryan Scofield Catering, Susan and William Lachasse, and Ambient Events