Looking for a chance to don your best duds and kick up your heels? Friendship Center’s 15th annual Festival of Hearts, “Deep in the Heart of Friendship,” promises to be a real hoot!


This western-themed luncheon with wine, Heart-Art by local artists and celebrities, and a live auction generates much-needed funds for Friendship Center, the 37-year-old nonprofit agency providing adult day services to aging and dependent elders and support to their family caregivers.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, enjoy hearty home-cookin’ accompanied by Fess Parker wines amid the elegance of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. You will even be serenaded by singing cowboy Agris Petersons, a former board member whose father was cared for at Friendship Center.

The silent auction will feature unique Heart-Art by “Crazy Heart” cowboy Jeff Bridges, “Veep” Julia Louis-Dreyfus and ultimate entertainment maven Rona Barrett, as well as a round-up of notable local artists including Steven Gilbar, Stacie Bouffard, Cheryl Guthrie, Diane Arnold, Judi Weisbart and many more.

Each guest is invited to choose a party favor from a collection of hand-decorated papier-mâché hearts created by high school art students from Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos and Bishop Diego high schools.

Friendship Center

Heart-Art by Rona Barrett, titled “Heart of the Golden Inn & Village.” (Friendship Center photo)

A rousing live auction will include a variety of travel and adventure packages for all tastes. Be the star of your own spaghetti western with a week in an Italian villa, enjoy a desert escape in the “badlands” of Palm Springs or find the “Gold in Them Thar’ Hills” with a tony three-night stay at San Francisco’s Mark Hopkins hotel.

If you prefer not to ramble so far afield, go for wine tasting down in the valley, the valley so low — Santa Ynez Valley, that is. Kick back with a down-home staycation, including a one-night stay at the DoubleTree, a close-up elephant encounter at the Santa Barbara Zoo, a gift basket from Georgia’s Smokehouse and lots more. Or just talk horse tradin’ over lunch for three with Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

All proceeds from the event will support Friendship Center’s H.E.A.R.T. (Help Elders At Risk Today) Program, subsidizing the cost of services for low-income aging and dependent adults and their families.

Top sponsors include Nancy and Thomas Crawford Jr., HUB International Insurance Services Inc, MarBorg Industries, Union Bank, Louise and David Borgatello, Cal-Western and Pacific Tree, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, LivHOME, Montecito Bank & Trust, Susan and John Hanna, Penny Mathison and Don Nulty, and Dana and Randall VanderMey

Festival of Hearts tickets are $100 per person, available by clicking here, or call 805.969.0859 for tickets or more information on Friendship Center’s programs.

— Justine Sutton is Friendship Center’s grants and development coordinator.