At the 7th Annual Courthouse Legacy Foundation’s Fiesta Party on Friday, August 5, members and other supporters mingled and dined in the Courthouse and watched Noches de Ronda being performed in the Sunken Gardens below. This fundraising event helps support the Foundation’s mission of preserving and restoring the Courthouse.
The cocktail hour was held in the second floor Loggia and in the historic Mural Room. Some popped up to the “El Mirador” clock tower to take in the magnificent views of the city, mountains, and sea at the sweet time of twilight. An extensive Mexican buffet dinner was offered in the Loggia throughout the evening.
The short program included remarks by El Presidente J.C. Gordon, who expressed his gratitude to the Foundation for the valuable work it does. Jean-Michel Cousteau, this year’s grand marshal of the historical parade, gave a brief but impassioned talk on the importance of preserving our oceans. This was an especially fitting topic given this year’s Fiesta’s theme of “Santa Barbara: The Coastal Frontier.”
A short auction lead by Drew Wakefield included a framed 2016 Fiesta poster, a landscape by Jeremy Harper, signed by both Gordon and Cousteau. The lucky winner was none other than Gordon’s mom, Sharon Gordon, who was thrilled to have made the winning bid of $1,100. The overall event, chaired by boardmember Isabella Madarang, netted more than $20,000.
Guests had the choice of viewing the dazzling dance and song performances of Noches de Ronda from the second-floor Loggia or from onstage seating. The latter afforded not only an up-close view of the performances but also a behind-the-scenes look at the exhilaration on the dancers’ and singers’ faces as they entered and exited the stage.
From the Loggia to the Mural Room, and from the Clock Tower to the stage, this was one elegant and enchanting evening.
The Courthouse Legacy Foundation was formed in 2004 by a group of citizens concerned about the County’s lack of funds and artistic resources to restore the Courthouse. The structure, designed by William Mooser, was built in the immediate aftermath of the 1925 earthquake. Today it still serves as an active courthouse, housing a law library, public records, and county offices.
Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $2 million and completed some significant projects. Its most recent project was the restoration in the Mural Room of the 4,200 square feet of hand-painted murals depicting Santa Barbara historical scenes. It was completed in 2015 at a cost of $575,000. Up until 1966, the County Board of Supervisors met in the room. Now it is used for weddings (about 300 per year), graduations, and special ceremonies.
The Foundation’s income comes from memberships, donations, events, and grants. Its other annual event, the Courthouse Miniature Golf Tournament, held in the picturesque Sunken Gardens, will be held on Friday-Saturday, October 14-15. For more information about the Foundation, including membership and the tournament, go to courthouselegacyfoundation.org.
By Gail Arnold