For its annual year-end fundraiser to further its efforts of providing affordable housing to low-income senior citizens, The Rona Barrett Foundation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.
The foundation is throwing a benefit today at Rancho San Antonio in the spirit of the legendary 1969 music festival, complete with tie-dye outfits and live music from the band Aquarius, which will exclusively perform songs that were played at Woodstock.
As the festival was a major moment for baby boomers, many of the generation’s members now senior citizens, former entertainment reporter and the foundation’s eponymous founder Rona Barrett said the Woodstock theme is apropos.
“They did a lot for all of us so we’re celebrating them on this 50th anniversary,” she said.
The event will also include a reception, food, live auction and a market arcade selling items handmade by the residents of the foundation’s senior living facility, the Golden Inn & Village in Santa Ynez.
Items featured in the auction include three original pressing Joan Baez vinyl records that are autographed by the folk singer and from her personal album collection.
Knowing Ms. Baez from her career as an entertainment reporter, Ms. Barrett asked the singer to perform at the benefit. But Ms. Baez declined having just concluded an extensive tour. Ms. Baez instead donated the records, which Ms. Barrett hopes will be popular items at the auction.
“I could imagine that they would be quite a bit of money being original vinyls and from her own collection,” she said.
Ms. Barrett hopes the fundraiser will raise enough money to go toward the construction of Harry’s House, the Golden Inn & Village’s final building named after Ms. Barrett’s father. She also hopes the event will raise enough for an endowment fund that can sustain the Golden Inn & Village’s work and even establish facilities like it elsewhere.
“The Golden Inn & Village is a template for what we can do for our aging population,” Ms. Barrett said.
First opened to residents in 2016, the Golden Inn & Village provides housing and care services to individuals Ms. Barrett called “orphaned seniors,” senior citizens who have nobody left in their lives to take care of them. When these seniors move into the facility, its professionals take the place of the family that would have taken care of them into their advanced age.
“We become their new family,” Ms. Barrett said.
Ms. Barrett said her extensive work helping the elderly was inspired by her father. Ms. Barrett was particularly influenced by his generosity. He frequently donated to such organizations as The Red Cross and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. When Ms. Barrett asked him what he was writing checks for, her father’s response stuck with her forever.
“He told me, ‘Rona darling, one day if you have an extra nickel in your pocket and you don’t need it, give it to somebody who does.’ That’s what he told me and I never forgot it.”
Tickets for the benefit are $150 and can be purchased online at The Rona Barrett Foundation website www.ronabarrettfoundation.org.
The fundraiser will run from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Rancho San Antonio, 2051 Jonata Park Road in Buellton.