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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 10:37 am | Fair 61º


American Red Cross Gala No Ordinary Garden Party

Benefit at Seaside Gardens gives fundraising an inviting change of scenery.




They don’t call this part of the world "paradise" for nothing, and the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter wants you to take advantage of the fact at its Gala in the (Seaside) Gardens event May 3.


“Most people, when they hear about a benefit for a nonprofit in this town, they think black-tie, formal dress, evening gala, sit-down dinner, really high-end,” said Kristiana Kocis, the Red Cross’ major gifts officer.

“We thought, why not think of something fun, low-key, entertaining, and make it open to people who might want to bring their families along as well?”

Hence, a less formal garden party — but in a serious set of gardens. Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria is a collection of gardens created by 12 landscape designers reflecting different versions of paradise: perennial, tropical, Asian, cottage, South African and others. The event promises to be an afternoon of great food and wine, entertainment, and the sights and smells of gardens from around the world.

The event is a benefit for the Red Cross, but it’s also part of a larger effort by the organization to have more of a presence in the community. While the Red Cross is known mainly for the aid it provides in times of disaster and emergency, Kocis said, it also offers programs to the community, such as a youth leadership retreat, and safety preparedness in the workplace and in the home.

“We’re hoping that the public will start to see the Red Cross in kind of a more everyday, neighborly view instead of as this organization that responds just in disasters or is just about CPR classes,” Kocis said.

Funds will benefit these community programs, a campaign for a facility in the North County and, of course, its trademark emergency aid programs.

Seaside Gardens is located at 3700 Via Real in Carpinteria. Click here for more information or to RSVP, or call 805.687.1331. Reservations are encouraged.

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