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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 2:22 am | Fair 44º


Supporters Get on Board for Maritime Museum’s Harbor Tastings and Treasures

10th annual event honors Tom Parker and the Hutton Parker Foundation for outstanding community leadership

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum hosted community leaders, foodies and marine channel advocates as more than 100 supporters joined together for the 10th Annual Harbor Tastings and Treasures.

Dozens of local restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries and distillers featured tastings benefiting educational and curatorial programs offered by the museum at 113 Harbor Way.

Flavorful scents and savory aromas filled the spacious museum, enticing the palates of patrons who ventured around various food stations, sampling an array of scrumptious tastings prepared by more than 30 vendors, including Anchor Woodfire Kitchen & Bar, Jordano’s, Marmalade Café, Figueroa Mountain Brewery and Whitcraft Winery.

Celebrity judges Michael Cervin, Michael Hutchings and James Sly were also on hand to select winners for the evening, with RND Vodka winning for beer and cocktails, Alma Rosa Winery for wine, and Rincon Catering and Spoon for the sweet tooth.

Guests feasted on a variety of delectable dishes and surveyed a variety of silent and live auction items that lined the rich wood walls.

Must-have items up for bid included rental of the Maritime Museum’s top floor for the Fourth of July fireworks, a two-hour coastal cruise for 140 aboard the Condor Express, a private dinner for 20 at the Maritime Museum, and a two-hour private charter for up to 12 people on the Casa Blanca power boat.

The evening also honored Tom Parker and the Hutton Parker Foundation for outstanding community leadership in the areas of education, health and human services, civic and community development, youth and family services, and arts and culture.

The Hutton Parker Foundation has generated support ranging from $2.6 million to $3.2 million annually, and also owns and manages more than 250,000 square feet of office space in 17 buildings serving more than 90 local nonprofit organizations.

A third-generation Santa Barbarian, Parker has served on various nonprofit boards, including the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College, the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation and the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts.

Parker shared with Noozhawk what makes the museum and the evening’s honor so special to him.

“This means a lot to me because as a kid I spent most of my life out there in the harbor in a seashell coming up and down the harbor,” he said. “So Santa Barbara and the harbor and the ocean and the islands have been a big part of my life and my family’s life forever. When this started I got excited, I think it’s a great legacy for the city.”

Established in 2000, this one-of-a-kind museum is located inside the Santa Barbara Waterfront Center, formally the Naval Reserve Building, built in 1943. The building overlooks the Santa Barbara Harbor and the museum’s flagship, Ranger, a 1917 sports fishing yacht.

The goal of the museum is to preserve the maritime heritage of the California coast and present its rich history to the public by promoting a series of outreach, interactive and educational programs comprised of a specialized study of diverse disciplines, such as history, science, literature and math that are conducive to the coastal community and ocean.

Parker also wanted to use the evening as an opportunity to praise a longtime supporter and advocate for the museum, Victor Atkins.

Atkins joined the U.S. Navy out of Harvard University and won nearly every accolade from the armed services for his service during Vietnam and returned to Harvard for his MBA before starting Polaris.

“Victor Atkins is one of the most private philanthropists you’ve ever known, always anonymous,” Parker told Noozhawk. “And he’s done that for decades and he’s done as much or more for this town and a lot of places everywhere. But he always does it without recognition. So this is a chance — he’s my friend — and I wanted to make sure I said thank you to him. He’s done a lot anonymously for this Maritime Museum and it’s time. It’s his time.”

He said that from day one Atkins has been an integral part in the evolution of the museum, and Parker embraces the opportunity to finish the task with Atkins planning to leave California.

“I’m finishing it, but he’s the reason I even got involved and he’s the one who started a lot of this — he along with two or three other people,” Parker said. “But he’s been instrumental all the way through in this and a number of other things in Santa Barbara.”

The efforts of these community leaders spread to local youth in a variety of programs benefiting all walks of life.

The Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship Program provides local schools with a professionally developed curriculum aligned with the California State Content Standards to highlight California’s maritime history. In this particular interactive program, fourth-grade students who are studying California history read Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana and then spend a night aboard a tall ship to re-enact the life of a 1830s sailor.

More than 400 students participate in this unique program annually, and proceeds from the event and private donations also help to support local Title 1 low-income schools that are unable to participate in the program without assistance.

Additionally, the Marine Science Program, a follow-up Spirit program, puts sixth- through ninth-graders aboard the Bill of Rights sailboat for a three-hour sail. The replica 19th-century schooner, built in 1971 and owned by Stephen Taylor, captain and founder of the American Tall Ship Institute, provides students with an opportunity to learn how to chart a course, navigate and study plate tectonics, and observe the effects of species loss on the marine food web.

Some of the museum’s newest exhibits include “Rick Sharp’s Surf Posters,” “Abalone Diving,” “Dan Wilson’s 400-Foot Helium-Oxygen Dive” and the highly anticipated exhibit “Preserving & Celebrating the Point Conception Lighthouse Lens.”

The Maritime Museum has been designated by the U.S. Coast Guard to be the future home of the Point Conception First Order Fresnel Lens, and you can help be a keeper of the light by helping with the cost in disassembling, transporting, restoring and reassembling the lens.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27, join the museum for the Sea Festival, maritime fun for the whole family. Please contact the Maritime Museum for opportunities to donate and for a listing of scheduled presentations, special events and exhibits.

This magical evening was a breath of clean ocean air, and Atkins summarized what makes the museum such a local jewel.

“It’s small, it’s manageable and it’s all about the channel,” Atkins said.

The special evening also recognized the memory of dear friends, Barry Berkus, founder, board member and museum architect; Ed Venable, Ranger captain; Fred Benko of the Condor Express; and DeEtta Nancarrow, supporter.

The Maritime Museum graciously thanks its patrons and sponsors for support of the 10th Annual Harbor Tastings and Treasures:

» Patrons: Hutton Parker Foundation, L-3 MariPro, Montecito Bank & Trust, Jean Schuyler, Venoco Inc., and Judy and George Writer

» Sponsors: Boone Graphics, Discount Party Rentals, Jack ‘N Toolbox Inc., Hank and Mari Mitchel, and Signature Parking

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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