La Arcada Christmas Walk

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

Get ready to get in the mood for the holidays! The spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, November 29, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic holiday open house has all the trimmings of the season, including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 23rd year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Viva, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Photos with Santa are FREE, as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Socorro, Renaissance, Ace Rivington, Lewis & Clarke, LaTavola Fine Linen, August Ridge Vineyards, The Barber Shop, Bread & Butter, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Peanuts Maternity & Gifts, Sanford Winery and Urban Optics will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2017.

Dream Foundation’s 7th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon

Guests at Dream Foundation's Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Guests at Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Dream Foundation‘s Annual Flower Empower Luncheon is always a beautiful and heartwarming affair, and this year’s 7th annual event, held at the gorgeous Klentner Ranch near the polo fields in Carpinteria, was a particularly lovely gathering.

More than 200 local community members came together for this annual event, which not only raises funds but also acknowledges the volunteers, sponsors, and growers who make Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program a success.

The heart of the program is a simple but meaningful gesture, the gift of flowers to brighten the day of those that are in need.

Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator) and Sheri Parker (Volunteer of the Year), photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator) and Sheri Parker (Volunteer of the Year), photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Flower Empower is a completely volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion—in the form of beautiful bouquets—to anyone who needs them. Several days each week, groups of volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers and make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers and personal residences. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies (we even got samples made by volunteer Robin Himovitz, “the cookie lady”), fine chocolates from Chocolats du CaliBressan (whose lovely owner was at our table) and handmade cards from school-age artists.

“Flower Empower is an invaluable program to our community,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kisa Heyer. “It reminds us that even the smallest gestures can make a lasting impression. We would love to see the program grow beyond Santa Barbara and bring happiness to others.”

Amanda & Justin Klentner (Klentner Ranch), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation CEO), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Amanda & Justin Klentner (Klentner Ranch), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation CEO), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Flower Empower receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants, so this luncheon was an important contributor to the cause.

KEYT Channel 3’s Alan Rose—a longtime Flower Empower program supporter and volunteer—served as MC, alongside his KEYT colleague and fellow Flower Empower volunteer Alys Martinez. Andrew Firestone led a short but entertaining and profitable live auction that included a private wine experience at Jaffurs Wine Cellars as well as a tropical getaway at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort and a visit to the set of CBS’ TV show, Hawaii Five-0.

Dream Foundation’s CEO Kisa Heyer and Flower Empower program coordinator, Valerie Banks honored and awarded the 2017 Flower Empower program sponsors: Laurel Barrack, Diane & Tim Brown, Kate & Arthur Coppola, Hollye & Jeff Jacobs, Nissrin Mahmoud & Bob Fuladi and Shelley & Paul Schulte, whose donations will help fund the program this year. Also acknowledged were Ed Van Wingerden, Grower of the Year and Steven Shulem and Sheri Parker, Volunteers of the Year. Honored in memoriam were William Pattis, Angie Redding and Michael Towbes who were staunch supporters of the Flower Empower program.

Dream Foundation volunteers lead the 50 Yard fundraising dash, photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation volunteers lead the 50 Yard fundraising dash, photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults.  With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 27,000 final Dreams over the past two decades and has never turned down a qualified applicant. For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org.

To volunteer for the Flower Empower Program or to refer a flower recipient, contact flowerempower@dreamfoundation.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 24, 2017.

Mark Your Calendars for La Arcada Christmas Walk

La-Arcada-ChristmasThe spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, December 4, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic arcade’s holiday open house has all the trimmings including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 19th year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Cielito, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Photos with Santa are FREE (5 to 7:30 p.m.), as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Encanto, Hampstead Village, Kathleen Cooper Fine Papers, Lewis and Clark, La Tavola, Peanuts, Oliver & Espig, Renaissance, Socorro, The Barber Shop, Urban Optics and the new Isabella Gourmet Foods and Sanford Winery will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on November 26, 2103.