The historic Santa Barbara Courthouse provided a dramatic setting during Old Spanish Days Fiesta for the Courthouse Legacy Foundation's “Castanets and Caballeros” fundraiser benefiting the preservation and restoration of the courthouse.
“I was delighted to attend such a beautiful event knowing that money raised by the Courthouse Legacy Foundation is crucial to the preservation of this world-famous building,” Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves told Noozhawk.
Supporters dressed in Fiesta and western attire shared an intimate gathering of fine food with the flavors of margaritas, cocktails and Mexican cuisine from Lorraine Lim Catering.
This exclusive party also provided a private tour of the national landmark with bird's-eye views of the Las Noches de Ronda entertainment — song, folklorica and flamenco dancing — below in the Sunken Garden.
Established in 2004, the Courthouse Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Trustees whose mission is to conserve and restore artistic features of the courthouse.
The festive soiree commenced with cocktails served to guests in the historic Mural Room, located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Considered the jewel of the courthouse, the Mural Room was originally developed as the assembly room for the county Board of Supervisors, who gathered in the historic site for more than 30 years, until 1967, when noncourt functions of county government vacated the space and moved into a new building across the street. The courthouse was later remodeled to include courtrooms with social spaces and is now open to the public for tours, civic events, fundraising events, weddings and Fiesta.
The mural depicts the history of the Chumash Indians, who have lived in the area for more than 10,000 years, observing the arrival of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. He led the first European expedition to explore what is now the West Coast of the United States, in 1542. Also included is a reference to the Count of Monterey sending Sebastian Vizcaino to the Santa Barbara Channel on Dec. 4, 1602. Vizcaino named the channel and eventually the surrounding Santa Barbara area.
Guests mingled on the Loggia Terrace adjacent to the Mural Room overlooking the courtyard while some attendees ventured into the Santa Barbara Courthouse Clock Room located up one floor from the Mural Room.
Remarkable vistas of the city and the talented lineup of Fiesta performers below were also observed by guests, who rode an elevator to the 85-foot “El Mirador” clock tower viewing area to soak in the sights around and below.
"What a wonderful town we live in,” Montecito Bank & Trust President/CEO Janet Garufis said. “So many generous people honoring and celebrating our rich cultural history while using it as an occasion for pledging to preserve it. This town loves a party and supporting a worthy cause!”
The courthouse, designed in a Spanish-Moore style in 1929 by a father and son team of architects, William Mooser I and II, was originally constructed after the 1929 earthquake destroyed the former Greek revival courthouse as two courtrooms located in the Figueroa Wing.
Thanks to the many friends of the courthouse, the Courthouse Legacy Foundation has raised more than $1 million to refurbish and repair structures at the courthouse, including the Heraldic Paintings on the Ceiling of the Great Archway (2010), the Spirit of the Ocean Fountain (2011) and the Tower Clock (2012).
To become a Friend of the Courthouse, individual memberships start at $40 and family memberships are $75. Click here to donate a tax-exempt gift to the Courthouse Legacy Foundation.
» The Legacy Foundation would like to thank the following sponsors for their generosity and continued support: Rodney Baker, Jerry and Helene Beaver, Doug and Carol Fell, Boone Graphics, David and Louise Borgatello, Hammock, Arnold, Smith & Co., Ed and Marcia Lenvik, Lorraine Lim Catering, Keith Mautino, Robert Ooley, Loretta Redd, Mayor Helene Schneider and Union Bank.
— Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.