Friendship Center in Montecito hosts 10th annual event
There was a lot of laughter and plenty of smiles Thursday afternoon as approximately 125 people enjoyed fellowship, hors d’oeuvres, vintages and live music at the Friendship Center’s 10th annual Wine Down.
“After a two-year hiatus, it was a great success, and it was great to see people come together outside in the courtyard enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a variety of wine and yummy apppetizers,” Heidi Holly, the center’s executive director, told the News-Press afterward. “What’s equally important is that we raised money for a great cause, the Friendship Center.”
Beverage purveyors who participated in Thursday’s event at the Montecito campus include Buttonwood Farm Winery, Roblar Winery, Draughtsmen Aleworks, Fess Parker Winery, Summerland Winery, Sunstone Winery, Folded Hills, Kalyra Winery, Brander Winery, Toretti Winery and Montecito Gourmet Coffee & Wine. Live music was provided by Tony Ybarra’s Elementos Project, featuring vocalist Marisa Pasquini.
“It was very festive and fun,” Ms. Holly said. “We had beautiful decor with a wishing well, where guests could make a donation. The live auction was emceed by auctioneer Steven Meade, radio personality of KJEE radio.
“There was also a touching caregiver testimonial from Suzette Vasta-Durso, a compelling compassionate caregiver for her father,” Ms. Holly said.
“There was a lot of laughter from people coming together and having a great time,” she continued. “We were fortunate we could host outside. People enjoyed themselves, and we had a live auction as well as a silent auction and raised some money for the Friendship Center.”
An anonymous donor also agreed to match funds up to $25,000 if the Friendship Center reached its fundraising goal of $50,000.
Money raised will go to support the Friendship Center’s Life Enrichment Activity Program (LEAP) program.
“This year we are focusing on the excursion program for seniors getting out in the community, because they have been isolated for two years,” Ms. Holly said. “A lot of people took a leap and gave the Friendship Center money for the cause and the things we do in the community.”
While funds raised are still being counted, “we are hopeful that with the outcome of the proceeds, we will be able to continue with the excursion program,” Ms. Holly said. “We are looking at purchasing a new van.”
Ms. Holly said she and the Friendship Center would like to express gratitude “to the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR) Young Professionals Network volunteer group and to the many other volunteers that made this event come to fruition. In addition, the board of directors and the dedicated staff of the Friendship Center were very involved in putting the event together.”
She added that the annual event included a toast to the evening.
“This year we toasted to friendship, because the best wines are the ones we drink with friends.”