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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 5:06 am | Fair 42º


Friendship Center to Share the Love at Annual Festival of Hearts

Celebrate Valentine's Day at a party Feb. 12 at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort

Each year, the Friendship Center, the only nonprofit adult day services center on the South Coast, holds its gala Festival of Hearts event to benefit its H.E.A.R.T. (Help Elders At Risk Today) Program.

H.E.A.R.T. is akin to a scholarship program in that it subsidizes the cost of Friendship Center’s services for low-income dependent elders and their families who could not afford them otherwise. In addition to providing socialization and mentally stimulating activities to dependent adult participants, the other vital component of its services is the respite provided to their family caregivers.

The Friendship Center is excited this year to be branching out by holding the 12th Annual Festival of Hearts in the Reagan Room of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara, after many years of holding this well-attended event on-site at the center.

The event, from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, promises to be the biggest and best ever with an old-fashioned Valentine’s Party with an elegant luncheon, a selection of wines by Curtis Winery and live music. The Valentinos, otherwise known as the Montecito Jazz Project, are led by longtime local musician Tom Towle and will feature Margie Nelson on vocals, crooning love songs of a bygone era to add to the vintage feel of the soiree.

Tickets are $85 per person or $850 for a table for 10. Click here to purchase tickets.

The centerpiece of the event will be the beautiful and unique “heart art.” Provided with a plain brown papier-mache heart, local artists and celebrities paint, collage, sculpt or otherwise transform this basic element into a work of art. The artists donate the heart-art back to Friendship Center, and it is then sold at silent auction at the event.

Jeff Bridges, who lives locally and has participated for many years, is the most high-profile celebrity artist, but many notable local artists contribute, including Diane Arnold, Judy Nilson, Jim Dow, Arlene Larsen, Stacie Bouffard, Steven Gilbar, John Moses and Andrea Beloff. A group of artistic residents of Casa Dorinda, a retirement community in Montecito, have created heart art as well. Art students from area high schools and Westmont College also contribute hearts. Most of these are offered to guests as party favors, though the cream of the crop have been selected for inclusion in the silent auction.

“The artists’ hearts have become a beloved tradition in Santa Barbara,” Friendship Center Executive Director Heidi Holly said. “Many people come to the event year after year to add to their collection of hearts. Some use them to decorate their Christmas trees or display them year-round. We are so fortunate that local artists are generous with their time and talent, contributing to this worthy cause. Every one is different and every one is made with love.”

In addition to the hearts, gift certificates, gift baskets, jewelry and other gift items will be sold at silent auction for last-minute Valentine’s Day shopping or simply self-pampering. A live auction will be conducted by the charismatic Gail Rappaport, featuring high-ticket items such as a Costa Rica spa vacation (donated by heart-artist Charlene Broudy and her husband, Sherrill), a tour and cocktail party at the legendary Ablitt House, a sunset cocktail cruise on a private yacht along the Santa Barbara coastline, a pre-Fiesta brunch at a private home in Montecito, a weekend in San Francisco and a weekend stay at any Intercontinental Hotel worldwide, as well as lunches with local elected officials, including county Supervisor Salud Carbajal and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

For more information, contact Justine Sutton at 805-969-0859 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Justine Sutton is grants/development coordinator at Friendship Adult Day Care Center Inc..

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