Gaucho pride permeated all of this year’s festivities, which were organized by the UCSB Alumni Association around the theme “Savor UCSB.”
On Saturday, alumni and community members gathered near Harder Stadium for the Sixth Annual Gaucho Gallop, which featured an Elite Rehab 5K walk/run, Santa Barbara Running Co. 10K run and the popular Gaucho Challenge.
Some runners had enough steam at the finish line to sprint and yell “Gauchos!” to shouts of encouragement and support.
In the afternoon, festivities focused on the “savor” aspect of the theme as hundreds partook of local wine, brews and bites during the Third Annual Taste of UCSB event.
Alumnus Brock Arner traveled from Sonoma to meet up with former classmates, most of whom graduated around the same time he did in 1971.
“Love me some Gaucho,” said Arner, who has come back for the reunion every year. “This is the best event. (But) my favorite part is reconnecting with classmates.”
Former graduates noted how the campus has evolved since they were enrolled.
Childhood friends Kelly Fouch and Larry Skelly attended the event for the good food and local brews as their own version of a high school reunion. Neither attended UCSB, but Fouch, a Goleta resident, and Skelly graduated from high school together in Long Beach.
“It was an excuse for him to come up from Long Beach,” Fouch explained.
The Taste of UCSB event sold out during pre-registration this year, as did Saturday night’s keynote address event featuring culinary icon Alice Waters, executive chef, founder and owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
The reunion seems to pick up momentum each year, said Christina Yan, a 2012 UCSB graduate and Alumni Association membership coordinator.
She said the main focuses of the event are community and philanthropy, since all silent auction proceeds of the taste event were put toward a scholarship sponsored by the Alumni Association, which has more than 20,000 members.
“This is a relatively new event,” Yan said of the Taste of UCSB event. “The main goal is to bring the community together. It’s great way to reach out. The All Gaucho Reunion is really growing.”