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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 8:40 pm | Fair 53º


Rain Can’t Keep Santa Barbara Historical Museum from Celebrating Fiesta

Hundreds of guests take rare downpours in stride and party on at La Fiesta del Museo 2015

From left, retired Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa and his wife, KCOY News broadcaster Paula Lopez, Erin Graffy de Garcia and her husband, Jim de Garcia. All helped with the evening’s program.
From left, retired Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa and his wife, KCOY News broadcaster Paula Lopez, Erin Graffy de Garcia and her husband, Jim de Garcia. All helped with the evening’s program. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Under gray skies and occasional cloudbursts Saturday evening, more than 300 supporters of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum celebrated the culture, cuisine and costumes of Old Spanish Days at La Fiesta del Museo 2015.

After stepping in the front door of the downtown museum at 136 E. De la Guerra St., guests strolled through the newly opened exhibition Project Fiesta!, which features authentic costumes and memorabilia from Fiestas past.

The entire complex was utilized with the band and dinner tables set up in the large Adobe Courtyard, and the bar, silent auction and pre-dinner socializing arrayed round the lovely Covarrubias Adobe. Many guests were decked out in full Fiesta attire, and even a costumed Zorro was in attendance!

Colorful flamenco dancers entertained guests who had to duck under the courtyard’s generous eaves when occasional downpours occurred during the evening. But everyone took it in good stride — thankful for any moisture in drought-stricken Santa Barbara.

The Spirit of Fiesta 2015 and the Junior Spirit of Fiesta mingled with the crowd and posed for photos. Also in attendance was Saint Barbara, who shared memories with Louise Days, Fiesta’s Saint Barbara in 1965! The Martinez Brothers Band provided live music for all to enjoy.

After the social hour and silent auction closing, the program began with words by museum executive director Lynn Brittner, who thanked the team that helped put together the evening. Among those receiving accolades were chairwoman Sharon Bradford, Dacia Harwood, Michael Redmon, board members, many volunteers, and the crew who covered and uncovered the tables and place settings, as the rain came and went.

Retired Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa; his wife, KCOY News broadcaster Paula Lopez; and Erin Graffy handled the live auction and Fund-A-Need, as well as the “fashion show” of historic costumes.

Longtime trustee Eleanor Van Cott got the Fund-A-Need rally started with a generous five-figure gift.

“I have been involved as a board trustee and supporter of the museum for over 30 years,” she told Noozhawk earlier in the evening. “It is a wonderful organization and they do a great job of preserving our community’s history.”

Chef Rachel Main of Main Course California tied the menu to the history of Santa Barbara with a dinner of fried quail salad, oak wood-smoked beef tenderloin, pan-seared fish, potatoes and local vegetables.

“My family started running cattle in the early 1800s,” said Main, a fifth-generation Californian. “My great, great-grandfather, Doty, helped make popular the unique way in which we are known for grilling tri-tip on the Santa Maria barbecue.

“In the 1700s and 1800s, and even in the beginning of the 1900s, quail and trout were ubiquitous throughout Southern California and were staples of the California diet.”

The event enjoyed the support of numerous sponsors:

» Gran Patron level — Sharon and David Bradford, Cynthia and John Hall, Marlene and Warren Miller, Montecito Bank & Trust and Eleanor Van Cott

» Patron level — Bella Vista Designs, Main Course California, Sally and David Martin, Schipper Construction, Ventura Party Rental, P.A. “Andy” Weber III, John C. Woodward and WWW Foundation

» Caballero level — Terry Bartlett and Randy Fox, William S. Burtness, HUB Insurance, and Lisa Reich and Bob Johnson.

» Fiestero level — George Burtness, Oswald Da Ros, Wendy Foster and Pierre Lafond, Robin Schutte, Signature Parking, and Patricia and Nicholas Weber.

Founded in 1932, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located in Santa Barbara’s historic El Pueblo Viejo district. Through exhibitions, education, research and publications, the museum interprets more than 500 years of history with collections from the Chumash, Mexican, Spanish and American periods.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, or call 805.966.1601. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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