Summer Supper Concert in Los Olivos Continues

The next Summer Supper Concert in Los Olivos at St. Mark’s will be Thursday, August 9 at 5 p.m., featuring Tri-tip BBQ and the Just Dave Band with country tunes. Photo by Frank Panaro Photography.

The next Summer Supper Concert in Los Olivos at St. Mark’s will be Thursday, August 9 at 5 p.m., featuring Tri-tip BBQ and the Just Dave Band with country tunes. Photo by Frank Panaro Photography.

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip BBQ and all the fixings will be accompanied by the Just Dave Band  at Thursday’s Summer Supper Concert Series in Los Olivos

People of all ages are invited to enjoy the band—featuring lead singer, acoustic guitarist and harmonica player Dave Bernal and known for its high-energy legit country tunes as well as some fun originals—on August 9 from 5-8 p.m. in the shady, garden courtyard at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley church located at (2901 Nojoqui Ave., just one block from the flagpole in downtown Los Olivos).  

Guests gathered in the shady courtyard at St. Mark’s in Los Olivos during the second Summer Supper Concert on Thursday, July 12. Courtesy photo.

Guests gathered in the shady courtyard at St. Mark’s in Los Olivos during the second Summer Supper Concert on Thursday, July 12. Courtesy photo.

Directly benefitting the St. Mark’s Preschool Scholarship program, each Summer Supper Concert begins with a themed food & beverage supper served at 5 p.m. The live music begins at 5:30 p.m. The suggested donation per ticket including supper, concert and a beverage is $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 years and under (there is a capped cost of $30 for a family with three or more children). Additional beverages are available for purchase, but no outside food or drinks are allowed. 

Complimentary childcare for ages 2-10 is available onsite. Tickets are sold at the door as well as online in advance https://www.smitv.org/syv-summer-supper-concerts.html.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published on August 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Cocktail Corner: Get the VIP Treatment at Fess Parker Winery

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Rob Brown.

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Rob Brown.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

It’s always lovely to visit Fess Parker‘s bucolic 714-acre ranch in Los Olivos, but they recently refurbished the VIP Barrel Room, which makes it an even better wine tasting experience.

The tour starts with a video, shot by acclaimed photographer Rob Brown, of the history of the ranch and Fess Parker’s development of the vineyard on what is now known as the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.  Though Fess passed away in 2010, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard is still family owned and operated, as it has been since 1989.

Fess Parker Winery, courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Winery, courtesy photo.

Following the video, we went into the barrel room for a discussion of the cooperage selection, and the wine aging process, as well as a special barrel tasting. Our tour was just for my husband and I, but they can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Tasting at Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Tasting at Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

You then go into a seated tasting of some top notch wines,  accompanied by a selection of savory bites prepared by the culinary team at The Bear and Star restaurant (another delicious Fess Parker family venture at the nearby Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa in Los Olivos). Among the six notable wines we tasted that day were the 2016 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills and the 2015 Ashley’s Pinot Noir, also from Sta. Rita Hills.

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Peter Malinowski.

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Peter Malinowski.

Tasting in the sophisticated new barrel room—designed in dramatic shades of red and black, which are warmed up by wood cabinetry and shelving—definitely feels like you’re entering the inner sanctum of the winery, and creates a dynamic contrast to the more homespun vibe found in other, more public, parts of the winery, where tastings are also offered.

Fess Parker Winery patio, courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Winery patio, courtesy photo.

The VIP Barrel Room Tasting and Tour is only available on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., by reservation only, and is $50 for non-wine club members and $35 for wine club members. For more information, call 800/841-1104 or email barrett@fessparker.com.

Fess Parker Winery is located at 6200 Foxen Canyon Rd., Los Olivos and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the 12 other wineries on the Foxen Canyon Wine trail (one of the most beautiful ways to explore Santa Barbara Wine Country, in my opinion) click here.

Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Cheers!  Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 22, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Spring Cocktails From The Bear and Star

The Bear and Star's The Greens, with muddled mint, cucumber, thyme sprig, green chartreuse, white rum, sparkling wine & lime juice. Courtesy photo.

The Bear and Star’s The Greens, with muddled mint, cucumber, thyme sprig, green chartreuse, white rum, sparkling wine & lime juice. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

The Bear and Star in Los Olivos not only showcases excellent refined ranch cuisine, created primarily with ingredients from the 714-acre Fess Parker Ranch that’s just a few miles away, but the heirloom fruits, vegetables herbs and wildflowers have also inspired a creative new cocktail menu for spring.

The Bear and Star's Herb Gin ‘n Tonic, with Cutler’s artisan gin, lime juice, simple syrup, quinine powder & seasonal fresh herbs from the garden. Courtesy photo.

The Bear and Star’s Herb Gin ‘n Tonic, with Cutler’s artisan gin, lime juice, simple syrup, quinine powder & seasonal fresh herbs from the garden. Courtesy photo.

The Spring Shandy is made with vodka, blonde beer, lemonade & lime juice.

The Herb Gin ‘n Tonic has Cutler’s Artisan Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, quinine powder & seasonal fresh herbs from the garden.

The Bear and Star's The Revive, with yellow chartreuse, aperol, kumquat shrub, muddled strawberry & white wine. Courtesy photo.

The Bear and Star’s The Revive, with yellow chartreuse, aperol, kumquat shrub, muddled strawberry & white wine. Courtesy photo.

The Revive is made with yellow chartreuse, aperol, kumquat shrub, muddled strawberries & white wine.

The Greens features muddled mint, cucumber, thyme sprig, green chartreuse, white rum, sparkling wine & lime juice.

Each of these hand-crafted cocktails are priced at $12 and available throughout the season.  

The Bear and Star's Spring Shandy, with vodka, blonde beer, lemonade & lime juice. Courtesy photo.

The Bear and Star’s Spring Shandy, with vodka, blonde beer, lemonade & lime juice. Courtesy photo.

“The bar at The Bear and Star focuses on crafting variations classic cocktails using the best seasonal ingredient available, many of which come from our farm just six miles away,” says General Manager Robert Williams. “And collaborating with our farmers is by far the most exciting aspect of what our bar program has to offer. We have only just begun.”

The Bear and Star is located at 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos at the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn.

Cheers!  Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 18, 2018.

Local Dish: The Bear and Star Chef’s Table

Guest Chef Vartan Abgaryan of critically acclaimed restaurant 71 Above in Los Angeles (left) joins the Bear and Star Chef John Cox on Tuesday, January 16 for a special Chef's Table dinner. Courtesy photos.

Guest Chef Vartan Abgaryan of critically acclaimed restaurant 71 Above in Los Angeles (left) joins the Bear and Star Chef John Cox on Tuesday, January 16 for a special Chef’s Table dinner. Courtesy photos.

The Bear and Star‘s next installment in their popular Chef’s Table Dinner series features Guest Chef Vartan Abgaryan of critically acclaimed restaurant 71 Above in downtown Los Angeles and takes place on Tuesday, January 16, with two seatings at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Dinner begins with an Amuse – Oyster with Uni, Caviar, Tarragon, Champagne and Parsnip Crème Brûlée; followed by a First of Beet with Tofu, Huckleberry and Black Walnut; then a Second of Sturgeon with Soy Pearls, Black Garlic, Crispy Skin and Finger Lime; Third course of Lasagna with Porcini, Pistachio and White Truffle; Fourth of Turbo with Potato, Leek, Vin Jaune, Meyer Lemon and Smoked Clams; followed by a Fifth of Oxtail with Bone Marrow, Horseradish and Red Sorrel. To finish for a Sixth and final course, guests will enjoy Chocolate with Coffee, Caramel and Pecan. Wine pairings are available for the dinner by The Bear and Star’s General Manager Robert Williams.

The Bear and Star’s Chef Room, photo by Kodiak Greenwood.

The Bear and Star’s Chef Room, photo by Kodiak Greenwood.

Chef Abgaryan, a native Angeleno, was formally trained at Le Cordon Bleu, mentoring at the iconic André Soltner restaurant, Lutèce. He returned to Los Angeles to lead the kitchens of acclaimed restaurateur Tim Goodell’s Red Pearl Kitchen, ‘A’ Restaurant, and Public Kitchen. For the next three years, Abgaryan served as executive chef at Cliff’s Edge Restaurant to great critical acclaim. LA Weekly’s restaurant critic Besha Rodell wrote, “Abgaryan’s food is composed above all else—the chef focuses as much on visual beauty as on taste.”

In 2015, Chef Abgaryan joined forces with Emil Eyvazoff to debut a new, world-class dining destination on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower. At 950 feet above ground level, 71Above is the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi. Offering elevated modern American cuisine, 71Above boasts breathtaking ocean views from Malibu to Laguna Hills, along with spectacular views of the Los Angeles basin and the surrounding mountain ranges. In addition to the magnificent views, 71Above was designed to provide a number of varying dining experiences. Guests may choose to dine within the buzz of the bar or in our adjacent lively main dining room. The Chef’s tables offer views of the open kitchen and transition into a semi-private dining area, offering a quieter and more intimate dining environment.

For reservations, call 805/686-1359 to prepay by credit card or visit Eventbrite for tickets.

Mark your calendars for upcoming guest chef collaborations:

February 25—Chef Neal Fraser, Redbird, Los Angeles

March 21—Chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse, Santa Monica

The Bear and Star is located at 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 9, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Pico

Pico is located in the Los Alamos General Store, courtesy photo.

Pico is located in the Los Alamos General Store, courtesy photo.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Headquartered in the wee Western-style town of Los Alamos and sharing its 1880s vintage building with The Los Alamos General Store is PICO, a farm-to-table foodie destination that’s quickly building a buzz among diners up and down the coast.

Owners Will Henry and Kali Kopley, a husband and wife duo, chose the building because of its history and place in Los Alamos’s timeline. It continues to fulfill its original destiny as a mercantile through the retail portion of General Store, which includes a 2,000-bottle wine shop. The restaurant side of the business takes its name from historical figure Salomon Pico, an infamous local bandit said to have been part of the inspiration behind the legend of Zorro.

Housemade charcuterie from Pico, courtesy photo.

Housemade charcuterie from Pico, courtesy photo.

PICO’s seasonal menu is a tribute to the symbiotic farmer-restaurant relationship, using strictly in-season ingredients and primarily showcasing the bounty of Santa Ynez Valley. Dishes are created based on the food items at hand from local farmers and ranchers, all under the guidance of Chef Drew Terp.

Terp’s top-notch credentials include Michelin-starred kitchens from Napa (Auberge du Soleil) to New York City (Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Masa and barMasa), Spain (under Chef Pedro Subijana at Akelare), Las Vegas (barMasa and Shaboo), Washington, D.C. (Jaleo) and most recently with the now-shuttered Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos. Terp makes all of his ingredients in-house—including the ketchup and mustard.

Pico's Seared Duck Breast, courtesy photo.

Pico’s Seared Duck Breast, courtesy photo.

PICO recently added a 2,000-square-foot outdoor area with additional seating, a fire pit, a chicken coop, bee hives and raised gardens, bringing the locally sourced menu even closer to home.

With the outdoor area, “the restaurant’s eggs come from right outside our back door; our bees will provide honey for our dishes and drinks, as well as our house-made condiments and provisions; and the garden will offer up home-grown herbs and produce, to supplement the fabulous ingredients that we receive from our local providers,” says Terp.

Current menu highlights include charcuterie (locally sourced meats, house-made by Terp) and cheese plates with delicious bread from the neighboring Bob’s Well Bread Bakery; starters like pork cannelloni with béchamel, manchego and asparagus with house-made bacon and a 63 degree egg, and mushroom salad with bacon and arugula; and entrées such as a juicy heart of rib eye, served sliced over crispy potatoes, cedar-wrapped halibut with morels, English peas and Meyer lemon or grilled local lamb loin with ratatouille mille feuille and polenta. 

Pico's creative menu features approachable Californian cuisine sourced from locally-farmed, seasonal ingredients, courtesy photo.

Pico’s creative menu features approachable Californian cuisine sourced from locally-farmed, seasonal ingredients, courtesy photo.

As for the wine, Will Henry is co-owner of Lumen Wines (with esteemed vintner Lane Tanner), and the list includes their labels, along with other gems. Definitely leave room for dessert, which includes house-made ice creams (also available from the mercantile) with mouth-watering flavors like dulce de leche, tarragon and granddaddy’s favorite (bourbon-Wild Turkey 101), the chef’s homage to his grandfather.

PICO at The Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805/344-1122, losalamosgeneralstore.com.

Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine

Cocktail Corner: Tasty Tidbits

The Lark, courtesy photo.

The Lark, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

I can’t believe that summer is almost over. There’s been a lot of news on the bar beat the last few months. Here are some highlights:                

One of Santa’s Barbara’s favorite dining destinations, The Lark (131 Anacapa St.), was recognized by Wine Enthusiast in their sixth annual issue of the “Best Places to Drink Up In While Dining Out.” As a winner of the “Not to be Missed” category, The Lark was recognized for their outstanding wine program curated by Wine Directors Chris Robles and Vern Kettler. The wine list at the Lark focuses on smaller production wines made with minimal intervention from the winemaker, and which reflect a sense of place. Grape varieties for which the Santa Barbara area is known and their international counterparts are the focus. With few exceptions, all American wines are from Santa Barbara County. Wine Enthusiast editors state that “Chef Jason Paluska’s wine friendly foods are inspired by farmers’ markets—smoked pork belly, for example, might come with roasted berries, pickled summer peppers and candied brittle of fat local almonds.” The Lark is the only recipient from Santa Barbara this year, and one of 22 restaurants awarded in California. See the full list here. 

J. Wilkes Wines, courtesy photo.

J. Wilkes Wines, courtesy photo.

J. Wilkes Wines has opened a new tasting room in downtown Los Olivos at 2963 Grand Ave.  The space highlights a distinct wine tasting experience including educational aspects focusing on the region’s unique AVA’s, an entertaining quiz and private Winemaker Office Hours with winemaker Wes Hagen

The J.Wilkes brand was launched in 2001 by wine industry veteran Jefferson Wilkes and after his passing in 2010, the label was relaunched by the Miller Family, a fifth-generation California farming family, as a tribute to Jefferson’s unwavering love of the region.  J. Wilkes, under the guidance of accomplished winemaker Hagen, is dedicated to producing wines from the greatest American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s) on the Central Coast.  Their new tasting room and education center in Los Olivos boasts an experience that gives insight into these regions and their wines and provides visitors with information about the area’s AVA’s including Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Paso Robles.  

At long last, bottles of Cutler’s spirits are now available for purchase in the tasting room.

Cutler courtesy photo

Ian Cutler, courtesy photo

You can now come directly to the distillery to purchase your local favorite spirits. Personally, I’m partial to the spicy, cinnamon-tastic, delicious Grandma Tommie’s Apple Pie Liqueur,  but Cutler’s Artisan Spirits also has its own Gin, Vodka and 33 Bourbon Whiskey, all of which are high quality and locally produced. (the tasting room and distillery is at 137 Anacapa St., Suite D, in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone).

Some of the fare at Lama Dog and the Nook, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Some of the fare at Lama Dog and the Nook, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

 

 

 

The first two tenants at The Waterline, a commercial mixed-use project at 116-122 Santa Barbara St. in the Funk Zone, have opened for business and both have quickly become local favorites: the Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop. Craft beers (and a few wines) paired with fabulous, high quality food is a win-win for the area. Try the House-Made Bratwurst or the Rock Fish Tacos with one of 20 interesting rotating beers on tap.

Ah … it’s a great way to keep that summer feeling going all year long!

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on September 2, 2016.

 

 

Cocktail Corner: Tasting Notes

Cheers to M. Special Brew Co., Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills Estate Tasting Room, Standing Sun … The Bodega, The Good Lion, Globe, The Nugget, Les Marchands and more!

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

M. Special kegs, courtesy photo

M. Special kegs, courtesy photo

Brewing in Goleta

The ever groovier Goleta has a cool new hangout, M. Special Brew Co. Tap Room and Brewery, located at 6860 Cortona Dr.

Their core line-up of beers includes:

    • M. Special American Lager – Based on a classic American craft lager
    • All Time Special – Farmhouse Ale
    • Pablo Special – Pale Ale
    • The Greatland Special – India pale Ale
    • Lazy Eye Special – Double India Pale Ale
    • Dozer Special – American Brown Ale

The tasting room features roll-up doors to create an open-air environment, with views of the brewing area through hand-made steel frame windows. The brewery also has four 50” televisions and a Sonos music system to provide additional entertainment. The bar is constructed from local wood from woodworker and artist John Birchim, who created over 40 feet of live edge bar made from a fallen Monterey Pine from the Santa Barbara coast. The brewery was designed by Patrick Housh of Piorier + Associates Architects and built by Michealsen Construction Company of Santa Barbara.

Not only is this place cool looking, you won’t go hungry. They have a partnership with Woodstocks Pizza, so pizza and salads are always available, and they’ll feature various food trucks on rotation. There was quite a spread the night we went—we’ll definitely be back!

M. Special Bar, courtesy photo

M. Special Bar, courtesy photo

Pouring in Los Olivos

The charming town of Los Olivos—always a great place for walkable wine tasting, shopping and dining—recently got even better, with the addition of the new Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills Estate Tasting Room. Located at 2963 Grand Ave., Unit B , the tasting room is open Thursday through Monday  from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bien Nacido

“Simply put, Bien Nacido Estate is now one of the hottest wineries in California,” writes wine critic Antonio Galloni, founder of Vinous, a well-respected wine publication. In Galloni’s recent report, the Bien Nacido Estate Chardonnay and the Solomon Hills Chardonnay were the two highest rated Chardonnays on California’s Central Coast. For more information, visit biennacidoestate.com.

Santa Barbara’s Oldest—and Newest—Wine Cellar

Another new place worth checking out (It’s gorgeous!) is Standing Sun … The Bodega, located in the historic Casa de la Guerra‘s original 1817 Bodega wine cellar. This rhone varietal wine tasting and art gallery is the oldest wine cellar on record in the city of Santa Barbara, and quite possibly the State of California. 

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Standing Sun wines are handcrafted in small lots from some of Santa Ynez Valley’s premiere vineyards. The fruit is sourced as vineyard specific varieties, each with its own characteristics and diversity. Vineyards they work with include: Tierra Alta vineyard on Ballard Canyon, Clover Creek vineyard on Refugio Rd, Colson Canyon vineyard near Tepesquet and Camp four vineyard on Baseline Avenue.

The resulting wines are pure, un-manipulated wines, individually fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels for 11 months.

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Good Vibes at Good Lion

A couple of weeks ago at the Fermentation Festival I had the pleasure of trying several really delicious handcrafted cocktails from The Good Lion (1212 State St.) and was quite impressed. Everything is fresh and fun and their weekly rotating cocktail menu features the Central Coast’s finest fruits, herbs, spices, and produce, as well as local booze from Cutler’s Artisan Spirits and Ventura Spirits, among others.

World Cuisine With Small Town Prices

Another fun addition to the downtown cocktail scene is Globe, 18 E. Cota St., which features a big $10 and under menu of globally inspired small bites and cocktails. I really liked the Pink Grapefruit Drop (sort of a cross between a Greyhound and a Lemon Drop), and the Flaming Blood Orange Margarita.

Serious Drinking

Fancy cocktails are always fun, but sometimes you just want (need?) a stiff pour, and downtown’s new Nugget Restaurant (21 W. Victoria St.) certainly fits the bill. Between the strong, well-priced drinks, vintage Santa Barbara photos, friendly service and comfort food menu, I thought I was at Harry’s for a minute. I miss Arlington Tavern but this is a welcome addition to the downtown offerings.

Delicious Pairings

Giuseppe Quintarelli, courtesy photo

Giuseppe Quintarelli, courtesy photo

Coming up on Tuesday, October 6, Les Marchands presents a dinner celebrating the exceptional wines of Giuseppe Quintarelli, the revered wine producer from Veneto in northeast Italy. Quintarelli was internationally heralded for his Valpolicellas, reciotos and Amarones.

For this dinner, Les Marchands Executive Chef Weston Richards has created a four course menu of Duck Liver Mousse, radicchio and apple; Wild Mushroom Lasagna with house-made ricotta; Crispy Lamb Cheeks with cannellini beans, roasted figs and Pecorino; and Chef Weston’s selection of Ripe Cheeses that honors these stunning wines – Quintarelli’s 2011 Primofiore IGT, 2006 Rosso Ca’ del Merlo, 2006 Valpolicella Classico Superiore and the 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico.

For further information call 805/284-0380 or visit lesmarchandswine.com/pages/events. Space is limited.

Cheers!  Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on October 2, 2015.

Solvang’s “Scarecrow Fest” and Halloween Fun Start This Week

Scarecrow Fest, Grand Prize Winner, Buellton Valley Pets. Photo by Tenley Fohl Photography.

Scarecrow Fest, Grand Prize Winner, Buellton Valley Pets. Photo by Tenley Fohl Photography.

The beginning of Solvang’s 5th Annual Scarecrow Fest coincides with the Santa Barbara Wine Country Celebration of Harvest Weekend, then there are numerous fall activities planned in the Santa Ynez Valley/Santa Barbara Wine Country, spread throughout the month.

Running from Oct. 10-Nov. 10, some of the festival highlights include:

-The amazing scarecrow contest, where Solvang businesses, organizations and, as a new facet to this year’s contest, Solvang residents, will participate in the contest by featuring a scarecrow of their own creation, posted at their location. You can vote via ballot boxes scattered about the city, for scarecrow winners in six  different categories: “Best Scarecrow in Motion,” “Best Use of Recycled Materials,” “Best Use of a Business Theme,” “Most Danish,” “Spookiest” and “Most Humorous.” Ballots are available at the Solvang Visitors Center and at select Solvang businesses, and feature maps to direct voters to each of the contest’s scarecrows.

Once a “Best Solvang Scarecrow” winner has been chosen, it will be entered into the Santa Ynez Valley-wide competition with the respective winners from Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez, to determine the “Valley’s Best Scarecrow” bragging rights.

Solvang Scarecrow Fest, Best of Solvang Lucas & Lewellen, #1 Judges Choice Winner. Photo by Tenley Fohl Photography.

Solvang Scarecrow Fest, Best of Solvang Lucas & Lewellen, #1 Judges Choice Winner. Photo by Tenley Fohl Photography.

The October installment of Solvang’s Third Wednesday, to be held on October 15, which will feature a “Fall Frolic Block Party” at the town’s “West End” including live music, free treats, a local business-supporting “Cash Mob” and free admission to the Wildling Art Museum.

The Oct. 15 “Fall Frolic,” Lemos-sponsored doggie costume contest and parade kicks off at 5:45 p.m., with prizes – $20 Lemos gift certificates – being awarded for best costumes in three categories: “Funniest,” “Scariest” and “Most Original.” To enter the costume contest, human handlers should show up in front of Lemos (1511 Mission Dr.) by 5:45 p.m., with their animal counterparts. Along the “parade” route, a handful of Solvang’s West End businesses will be upping the “free” and “food” antes including Wandering Dog Wine Bar, (1539-C Mission Dr.) which will be offering gratis Rosemary Spiced Nuts, as well as free cider and nibbles in front of Kandra’s Beads (1539-A Mission Dr.).

-The 21st Annual Haunted House and Street Fair, which will thrill visitors with food, fun and spirits, on Oct. 30-31. The Haunted House and Street Fair, to be held at the Solvang Festival Theater (420 2nd Street), will include a “Trunk or Treat” candy-palooza among other tasty and spirited delights.

Additional information is available at www.solvangthirdwednesday.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Solvang Scarecrow Fest, Best Use of Recycled Materials, Waste Management, courtesy photo.

Solvang Scarecrow Fest, Best Use of Recycled Materials, Waste Management, courtesy photo.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 8, 2014.