Santa Ynez Valley Star • June 18, 2024

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Santa Ynez High’s Class of 2024: ‘Now we get to run’

Short-and-sweet commencement ceremony at Rio Memorial Field sees 199 graduates

In front of a full grandstand of adoring family and friends at Rio Memorial Field, senior students at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School said goodbye to their high school years and took the first big step to their respective futures.

And they didn't waste any time doing it.

One hundred and ninety-nine Class of 2024 graduates received their diplomas May 31 in a brisk, efficiently run hour-long ceremony on a sunny Friday afternoon.

The commencement ceremony began as the graduating seniors emerged from the school gym and walked along the stadium track on their way to the seat on the field. Of course, their was no shortage of what one might call "flair": Fancy scarves, colorful leis, mortarboards decorated with the logo of one's future college or a meaningful or humorous saying of some sort.

• First responders address carbondioxide tank leak on Industrial Way

News Pg. 6

• Sheriff’s Office releases 2023 crime stats

Sports Pg. 10

Once the students were huddled in the seats, Senior Class President Ricardo Carmona led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by Athena Kett singing the national anthem.

ASB President Ava Ladinig, and Senior Class Vice President

Samara Perez were introduced to welcome the audience to the graduation ceremony.

"We would like to say thank you to our parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and classmates who have helped us reach this milestone in our lives," Ladinig said, followed by Perez

expressing the same sentiment for the Spanish speakers present.

SYHS Interim Principal Andrew Alvidrez, the second to serve in the position during the academic year, introduced the SYVUHS District Board of Trustees Chris Johnson

• Local teens place seventh in double sculls at national rowing championships Spotlight .

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• Jazz music fills the air at the Los Olivos Jazz and Olive Festival Community . .

Pg. 13

• SYV resident wins e-bike in CycleMAYnia giveaway

Arts & Nonprofits Pg. 16

• Children's Museum director holds Open House

Calendar Pg. 19

• Government meetings and events

2024 Making Communities Better Through Print.™ SANTAYNEZVALLEYSTAR.COM
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'Earwigs can fly!': Dunn School graduates 45 in
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Newly graduated Santa Ynez High School seniors toss their caps in the air after getting their diplomas and turning their tassels at the commencement ceremony May 31 at Rio Memorial Field. Photo by Mike Chaldu



First responders address carbondioxide tank leak on Industrial Way Industrial Way in Buellton was closed off for a little less than an hour on Sunday, June 9, when first responders answered a call about a leak at about 11:07 a.m. at 45 Industrial Way.

According to Santa Barbara County Fire PIO Scott Safechuck, the county HazMat team was called in to the business at that address, and the team discovered the leak from a 10,000-gallon exterior carbon dioxide tank on the premises.

Five employees were evacuated from the premises without medical complaints and adjacent businesses got a sheltered-in-place order. Industrial Way was also closed at Highway 246, as the HazMat Team investigated.

After crews were able to shut off the valve to isolate the tank, and air monitoring sensors display normal exterior readings, Industrial Way was reopened at approximately 12:05 p.m., according to Safechuck, the the shelter-in-place was removed


Chantel Green named executive director for Solvang Theaterfest Solvang Theaterfest has announced the appointment of Chantel Green as its new executive director, effective in June. Green has been with the organization for the past three years, serving as assistant director and development director under the retiring Executive Director Scott Coe. Additionally, Ashley Esdaile, who has served as executive assistant and bookkeeper for the past year, will step into the role of assistant director.

Solvang Theaterfest owns and operates the Solvang Festival Theater. In July 2022, it completed a $5.2 million renovation project that ensured the theater's structural integrity, safety, and accessibility. The renovation included new electrical and technical capabilities, greatly enhancing lighting and sound. The overall design improved the audience experience and comfort with a higher wall, acoustical improvements, and new seating. The Solvang Festival Theater has been beautifully transformed into the county’s most attractive and up-to-date outdoor theater.

Since the project’s completion, Theaterfest has produced a robust number of concerts and events, increasing ticket sales and patron visits by more than 100 percent over pre-pandemic levels. The facility is also utilized by many local entities for fundraising events and performances, including Los Olivos Dance Gallery, the City of Solvang, and Friendship House.

California Nature Art Museum seeks input through online survey

The California Nature Art Museum (formerly the Wildling Museum) invites the public to take an online survey to help museum staff plan for later this year and into 2025.

"We want your feedback and hope you will take 3-5 minutes out of your busy day and fill out this survey," said Executive Director Stacey Otte-Damangate. "We want to know if you enjoy our exhibitions and family activities in the galleries. We are working on plans for later this year and 2025 and your input will help to guide us.

Go to SNSLPS9?blm_aid=265025537 to take this short (but informative) survey.

The California Nature Art Museum is lo-

cated at 1511-B Mission Drive in Solvang. To learn more, go to


Car hauler catches fire on Highway 101 near Nojoqui Summit

A car hauler carrying four exotic vehicles caught fire at early Monday, June 10, closing off Highway 101 at the Nojoqui Summit.

According to a report on, around 2:03 a.m., fire crews were called out to a reported commercial vehicle fire off Highway 101 at the Nojoqui Summit south of Buellton, info shared the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

County fire officials said the car hauler was carrying four exotic cars and the driver was busy trying to put the fire out when firefighters arrived on the scene detailed the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Santa Barbara County firefighters were able to contain the fire from spreading to nearby brush and fully knocked the fire down at 2:36 a.m.

During the response, traffic was being diverted away from the incident at Buellton, and onto Highway 154. A Caltrans map showed that traffic was already down to one lane due to two construction sites in the area, a median barrier installation and pavement work north of Las Cruces.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation at press time.

Prescribed training burn planned for this week

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department plans to conduct a prescribed burn for training purposes at the Chamberlin Ranch, near Los Olivos, between June 19-21,

depending on conditions. Prescribed fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires. Prescribed burns help prevent the spread of wildfires and can reduce impacts to watersheds that can result in soil loss and sedimentation.

This burn is a Prescribed Fire to achieve training of new Santa Barbara County Fire personnel. Approximately 100 acres of sage scrub and Oak woodland will be burned. Once the burn day has been selected, a media advisory will be issued the day before.

Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) staff review the Smoke Management Plan and provide conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County. The burn will occur when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers.

This prescribed burn is planned and coordinated by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County APCD, San Luis Obispo County APCD, San Joaquin Valley APCD, Ventura County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board to minimize impacts on air quality on surrounding communities.

The burn is dependent on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable to smoke dispersion. If the conditions are not as desired, the burn will be rescheduled.


High fire season preparedness and response levels declared in Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department

2 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
CONTACT US Santa Ynez Valley Star LLC PO Box 6086, Atascadero, 93423 (805) 466-2585 Powered by 13 Stars Media | Nic & Hayley Mattson No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or distributed without the authorization of the publisher. Digital copies available at: The Santa Ynez Valley Star is proud to be a member of: PUBLISHER Hayley Mattson Publisher NEWS TEAM Mike Chaldu Content Editor REPORTERS Pamela Dozois Contributing Writer ADVERTISING Kaleb Rich-Harris PRODUCTION TEAM Jen Rodman AD Designer Anthony Atkins Graphic Designer
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Solvang City Council moves preliminary budget forward

Motion passes narrowly after objections to late changes

In its Monday, June 10, regular meet ing, the Solvang City Council moved forward a preliminary biennial budget. However, the budget got the OK on narrow 3-2 vote after objections to late changes proposed by City Manager Randy Murphy.

The preliminary draft budget presented in the meeting is for fiscal years 2024/2025 and 2025/2026. The operating and capital budget for the second year (FY 25/26) will be reviewed and amended in the spring of 2025 as part of the mid-cycle bud get review process and is referred to as a Mid-Cycle budget.

Introduced by Administrative Services Director Wendy Berry, the FY 24/25 proposed budget for all funds includes a total revenue of $25,999,063 and total expenses of $23,859,893 with a projected combined surplus of $2,139,170. The General Fund total revenue is $10,932,272 and total expenses are $10,248,786 with a projected surplus of $683,486. The General Fund started out with an approximate $2 million deficit.

The budget was reviewed for any changes to be made, with final approval coming at the next meeting on June 24.

Near the end of the discussion, City Manager Randy Murphy requested two positions — an additional Parks employee and a management analyst — that were budgeted for six months be extended for a full year.

the General Fund," Murphy said. "Now that we have that surplus, I'd like to move those positions to a full year."

Murphy said the change would add another $150,000 to the budget.

Later on Murphy mentioned a proposed services contract with the Solvang Chamber of Commerce for three city events, including State of the City, in exchange for sponsorship, and said he would request $25,000 for the contract.

However, Councilmember Elizabeth Orona objected to the change suddenly being proposed for the budget.

that hadn't been brought up to council, Murphy claimed it was under the expenditure authority of the city manager, and therefore didn't need to be brought back

The late proposals spurred Elizabath Orona and fellow Councilmember Claudia Orona to vote no when the budget came up for vote, but Councilmember Robert Clarke, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Brown, and Mayor Mark Infanti all voted yes to pass

In other business on June 10:

The council unanimously approved and adopted a joint powers agreement for Santa Santa Ynez Valley Basin Eastern Management Area Groundwater Sustainability

As discussed in the May 13 City Council meeting, the city staff had been engaged in discussions over the past two years with the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District-Improvement District #1 (ID1), the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District (SYRWCD) and the Santa Barbara County Water Agency (SBCWA), in an attempt to negotiate a JPA.

However, a sticking point had been start-up funding for the JPA. The initial seed money amount was left as a blank at present in Section 14.2 of the agreement, but the discussions ranged from $100,000 to $250,000 from each agency. However, there was no final agreement to the contribution from each agency.

On June 10, the council got back a deal where all the agencies agreed to pay $50,000 each for start up costs of the new agency.

Elizabeth Orona, who is on the GSA praised the deal before council approval.

"We got each agency to pay $50,000, and I see in the budget that we have $250,000 earmarked for this deal," Orona said. "And, it's all reimbursable."

Council passed a resolution to put a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on the Nov. 5 ballot. The City Council cannot OK a tax ordinance, but can approved putting it on the ballot.

The ballot measure, if adopted by the voters, would modify Section 3-2-2 of the Solvang Municipal Code to continue the city’s existing transient occupancy (hotel) tax, and to increase the current 12 percent tax rate to 14 percent. This rate is consistent with the rate levied in other tourist-oriented cities throughout California.

The resolution, which required a 4/5ths majority to pass, did so by a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Robert Clarke dissenting. Before the vote Clarke said, "I've heard many opposed to this in the Valley."

However, other councilmembers said they hadn't heard any complaints.

"Haven’t heard much opposition since Measure U," Elizabeth Orona said. "It's $3.7 million additional funding, paid by tourists. Let the voters decide."

Councilmember Dave Brown voted for the measure, but had misgivings.

"We’re on par with inflation, and I don’t want to kill the golden goose," Brown said. "I'll vote to put it on the ballot, but I’ll probably write rebuttal for this with Mr. Clarke."

The next City Council meeting will be June 24 at 5:30 p.m.

"We didn't discuss that, I don't remember hearing about that," Orona said.

"When we budgeted those positions for six months, we thought we had a deficit in

Murphy replied that it was brought up in an ad-hoc committee. When Orona said

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Solvang City Manager Randy Murphy discusses the city budget with the City Council during the council meeting Monday, June 10. Screenshot from YouTube

Diablo citizens' panel discusses re-use of plant site

Handful of options looked at during meeting on May 22

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — A citizens’ panel on the decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant heard potential reuse scenarios for one portion of the expansive coastal lands, with a handful of options being looked at. And from the presentations offered by the experts, energy-related uses could play a large role.

The Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel was in Atascadero on Wednesday, May 22, to hear what government agencies and the company are doing to prepare for the eventual closure and removal of the power plant and the potential uses for offshore wind energy was a focus.

Plant owner Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) spokesman, Tom Jones, ran down the complex nature of “Parcel P,” the specific area where the nuclear reactors, power building, marina, desalination plant, waste storage, and administration building, among other structures, sit.

Overall, the lands surrounding the plant cover about 12,000 total acres, and include a variety of land types: pasturelands, oak woodlands, coastal bluffs, and mountains with coastal dune scrub habitats.

Each area has its own unique set of issues to deal with, from Native American archaeological and historic sites, protected ag lands, and the coast, which includes numerous offshore rocks and reefs.

Jones noted the potential for re-using the small man-made marina, which is protected by breakwaters. With a little work it could accommodate some of the needs for the offshore floating wind turbine projects being developed now for a nearly 400-square-mile patch of open ocean 20-30 miles off San Simeon.

Floating offshore wind

Three offshore leases were auctioned off by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to three different companies, each intending to produce 1 gigawatt of capacity and 3 GWs total.

Diablo Canyon’s 230,000 volt (230KV) and 500KV transmission lines could be re-used to connect the offshore energy to the state power grid.

There’s the potential to transmit 6 GW of

power through the existing transmission lines, Jones said, and Diablo Canyon uses 2.5 GW now. So there is capacity now on the existing lines, which generally cost about $1 million a mile to string on land.

One of the sticky problems with the offshore floating wind farms is the needed harbor facilities: a deep-water port and massive portside assembly and maintenance facility, plus port facilities for smaller maintenance vessels.

Offshore wind (OSW) also might be able to re-use some of the support structures at the plant and if needed they have about 30 more acres that could be developed on Parcel P.

Jones cautioned that the OSW talk is premature. PG&E hasn’t seen any plans, he said, and they don’t know at this time what their requirements are.

County review

The SLO County Planning Department's Susan Strachen ran down the county’s work on the July 2023 Environmental Impact Report for the decommissioning.

That draft EIR (DEIR) lists eight possible re-use concepts for Parcel P: a clean technology industrial park, recreation uses like camping and a resort hotel, energy storage, energy research, institutional uses (university), cultural and historic preservation, a desalination plant, and a “Central Coast Offshore Wind Area.”

A cleantech innovation park, she said, could

be a mixed-use facility with clean energy research and development, marina (blue economy), a Chumash community center, expansion of the deal plant to add to the county’s water supply, and education.

She cautioned that this was for informational purposes only and they’ve done no analysis on the feasibility of any of these re-use ideas.

Blowin’ in the wind

Panel facilitator Chuck Anders turned the discussion over to three speakers with a focus on the wind energy projects.

Matthew Blazek, a renewable energy specialist with BOEM, ran down that agency’s process for leasing the Morro Bay call area off San Simeon. The idea was first hatched in 2016.

BOEM takes one to two years for its planning and analysis stage, Blazek explained. It includes forming a task force among government agencies, putting out a call for information and “nominations,” identifying a location and conducting preliminary environmental reviews. Stage 2 involves the leasing work.

Blazek said leasing is a one- to two-year process involving publishing notices (in the Congressional Record), conducting the auctions, and negotiating terms for leases.

Boosting the power grid

Work will also be required on the power grid, in particular high voltage transmission lines. Jeff

Billinton, California Independent System Operator’s director of transmission infrastructure planning, said they have been working on an overall plan for how these future developments would tie in with the power grid and where and how much additional transmission capacity might be needed to meet the state’s goals.

Cal-ISO has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission to work on the transmission and grid system.

Their MOU was updated in 2022 and “offshore wind is a component,” Billinton said. He said they’re planning for some 85 GW in renewable energy sources — solar, wind, offshore wind, geothermal — across the state.

Billinton said if the call area’s capacity grows above the current 3 GWs, or if Diablo Canyon stays open for 20 more years, “it would require adding transmission lines to both” Morro Bay and Diablo Canyon.

GO-BIZ is busy

Danna Stroud, who is with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-BIZ, said the funding for their efforts is coming out of Senate Bill 846, which authorizes Diablo Canyon to remain in operation for another five years, and includes provisions calling for plans for the eventual re-use of the Parcel P.

Her office is working on that aspect of SB 846, and she said they are planning to go out for bids for a consultant to write the plan, probably sometime this fall.

She said the plan is to go public with the Request for Proposals in late July or early August, and to solicit bids in August-September. The goal is to be ready to award a contract in October or early November.

Stroud pointed out that GO-BIZ doesn't operate any facilities or companies. It is the lead state agency on economic goals and development.

“There were concerns with Diablo Canyon closing,” Stroud said, “and how would the region recover or sustain itself without Diablo Canyon.” They are charged with looking at reuse of Parcel P and in overall economic development.

“Everyone has ideas,” she said. “Our intent is to explore the feasibility for the different ideas.”

The panel has a website where readers can access the various studies, plans and other work that has been done with regards to Diablo Canyon’s future re-uses, at

4 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
Satellite image shows the Diablo Canyon Power Plant with the red line delineating "Parcel P," the reuse for which was the subject of a recent meeting of the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Panel.

(SBC Fire) and local fire jurisdictions joined forces to announce the commencement of the 2024 High Fire Season for all areas of Santa Barbara County, effective June 3. With the onset of this season, SBC Fire will suspend all burn permits issued for residential burning and hazard reduction, while simultaneously increasing the deployment of vital resources to combat vegetation fires.

During the High Fire Season, it is crucial for residents, workers, and visitors in Santa Barbara County to exercise heightened awareness and prioritize fire safety. SBC Fire underscores the following key measures to ensure public safety:

• Maintain Vegetation Clearance: Individuals are advised to maintain proper vegetation clearance around structures to minimize fire risks.

• Review and become acquainted with the "Ready! Set! Go!" wildfire action plan, which outlines crucial steps for preparedness and response in the event of a wildfire. Smoke and ash contain very small particles called particulate matter, which harm the lungs and heart. The best protection against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors as much as possible, ideally in a well-sealed "clean air room" with an air purifier. The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) provides instructions to create a "clean air room" on their website. APCD's website also provides countywide hourly air quality conditions. People are also encouraged to sign up for Air Quality Alerts issued during wildfires.

SBC Fire urges all community members to remain proactive and diligent in implementing fire safety practices during this High Fire Season. By working together, we can ensure the safety and well-being of Santa Barbara County and its residents. The public is also encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts at

Metropolitan Theatres launches Metro Summer Kids Movies at Camino Real Cinemas

Metropolitan Theatres has announced the return of Metro Summer Kids Movies from June 20 through Aug. 8 at Camino Real Cinemas, located at 7040 Marketplace Drive in Goleta. Movie-goers can celebrate summer and enjoy the big-screen experience with family and friends for just $2 per ticket,

and no booking fee for online and mobile purchases. Tickets will be available to purchase at, on the Metropolitan Theatres mobile app and at theatre box offices.

“The summer movie program offers our youngest guests and their families a fun way to spend summer by watching their favorite films on the big screen,” said David Corwin, president of Metropolitan Theatres Corporation.

The Metro Summer Kids Movies series will offer a new film every week at 10 a.m. every Thursday morning at Camino Real Cinemas. The weekly shows offer the perfect activity for field trips and group summer camp outings.

Moviegoers will enjoy their favorites like "Lyle Lyle Crocodile," "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation," "Despicable Me 2," "Secret Life of Pets," and more as part of this series. For more information on Metro Summer Kids Movies, including the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit

In addition to Metro Summer Kids Movies, families can look forward to a summer of brand new family-friendly releases at Metropolitan’s Santa Barbara and Goleta theatres including "Garfield" which is now playing, "Inside Out 2" on June 14, "Despicable Me 4" on July 4, "Harold and the Purple Crayon" on Aug. 2, "My Penguin Friend" on Aug. 16, and "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice" on Sept. 6.

County draft Zero Emission Vehicle Plan available for public comment

The County of Santa Barbara’s Sustainability Division is pleased to release the draft Zero-Emission Vehicle Plan (ZEV Plan) for public comment available to view online at uyds828nxptcrtsjbqssyiu4rpps5odr. The ZEV Plan aims to accelerate the adoption and utilization of zero-emission vehicles and reduce transportation-related emissions through a mix of policy, infrastructure, program and outreach actions.

The ZEV Plan goes beyond passenger vehicles and also considers the needs of commercial and transit vehicles, and mobility programs and devices, like carshare and electric bikes.

“This plan will create a road map for the County to reduce congestion, enhance mobility, and promote sustainability,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Steve Lavagnino.

The public comment period will be open for 45 days from May 9 to July 7.


Lompoc Valley Art Association to introduce new exhibit

The Lompoc Valley Art Association will be featuring, “Watercolor Creations,” an artist show by Claudette Carlton. The show will exhibit from June 27 to July 28. Although accustomed to sketching with pencil, Carlton began painting after she retired from 21 years of teaching at Vandenberg Middle School 12 years ago. She and her husband, Bob, are parents to four grown married children who have provided them with 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all of whom have enriched their lives.

Claudette describes her painting this way: “How can I explain the inspiration to want to replicate an image on paper? Is it the composition I see? The colors? The subject? Whatever it is, it has to tug at my heart and make me say, ‘I want to paint that!’ And then I try to do it. As a result, I’ve painted a wide variety of subjects that have captured my imagination, so this show title had to be called “Watercolor Creations.”

In this show, she is featuring historic buildings on the Central Coast, such as Old Artesia School, the Lompoc Museum, which was funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, as well as San Antonio de Padua Mission, landscapes, florals, animals, inspirational folk art, and playful pieces.

Claudette says, “Watercolor painting fulfils one of my creative holes. It’s exciting when something turns out well and I love sharing with others. Their wonder and appreciation simply mirrors my own; wow, did I really do that? Thank you, God!”

Please come by and check out the show and meet the artist at her reception that is open to the public on Saturday, July 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. It will be held at Cypress Gallery, 119 E. Cypress Ave., Lompoc (across from the Museum).


PG&E and California Fire Foundation open applications for wildfire safety and preparedness grants

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the California Fire Foundation (CFF) are accepting grant applications this week from California-based fire depart-

ments and community-based organizations focused on wildfire safety and preparedness. The grant program continues a seven-year successful partnership between PG&E and CFF. Applications were accepted beginning on May 30 and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on June 30 through the CFF website. Award notification will begin July 31.

PG&E and The PG&E Corporation Foundation (PG&E Foundation) are providing a total of $1.4 million to CFF’s Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program (WSPP). The WSPP continues to raise public awareness about wildfire safety and deliver resources to underserved communities in high fire-risk areas. It includes a competitive grant program that last year awarded 48 local firedepartments and community groups $730,000 in funding.

Funding in 2023 supported:

• Purchasing approximately 2,800 pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) including helmets, boots, gloves, goggles and fire shelters

• Removing over 176 acres of hazardous tree and brush

• Chipping and hauling of 380,500 pounds of tree limbs, branches and other combustibles

• Conducting 25 prescribed fires or pile burns for forest management

Since 2018, CFF, which administers and manages the WSPP, has awarded 313 grants to fire departments and community organizations statewide, focusing its efforts in Northern and Central California. Funding targets communities identified as having extreme or elevated fire risk as identified by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“California weather conditions remain unpredictable and residents must be prepared in the event of wildfire and disasters. It has only been three years since the largest and most destructive wildfires raged across California and conditions can quickly change again with new growth in vegetation and fuel due to recent storms,” said Rick Martinez, executive director of the California Fire Foundation. “The Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program is a partnership with PG&E that was created to give residents the best chances at staying prepared to keep their families safe.”

From 2018 to the present, PG&E and the PG&E Foundation have provided $8.8 million in total support for fire safety awareness through the WSPP. The charitable contribution is shareholder-funded, not paid for by PG&E customers.


Sheriff’s Office releases 2023 crime stats

Buellton, Solvang each see substantial decreases in violent crime from 2022 to 2023

SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office last month released the 2023 crime statistics for the communities it serves. Throughout the year, the Sheriff’s Office compiles information about crimes occurring within the communities it serves. For the purposes tracking, reports are broken down into two major categories: Part 1 crimes, which are the most serious in nature, and Part 2 crimes, which include a number of lesser criminal offenses and some juvenile status offenses.

Part 1 crimes are further broken down into two subcategories: violent crimes and property crimes. Part 1 violent crimes are offenses that involve force or a threat of force and include criminal homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Part 1 property crimes are theft-related offenses that do not involve threats or force against the victim, including burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.

“We in the Sheriff’s Office are pleased to report a significant decrease in Part 1 crimes in those areas of the county that are served by the Sheriff’s Office, including all unincorporated areas and the contract cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, Buellton, and Solvang," said Sheriff Bill Brown. "These overall Part 1 crimes, which include both violent and property crimes, decreased from 2,679 in 2022 to 2,225 in 2023, a reduction of 16.9 percent. I am immensely proud of the many contributions the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office have made during 2023 that helped keep the peace and that made our communities safe.

“The overall Part 1 crime total was the lowest it has been during the past 10 years. That is a remarkable accomplishment given the challenges that have been faced this past year, including the proliferation of fentanyl in our communities and the related surge in overdose deaths.”

After experiencing a few years of fluctuating crime rates, the communities served by the Sheriff’s Office experienced a decrease in overall Part 1 crimes, from 2,679 incidents in 2022 to 2,225 in 2023, marking a reduction of approximately 16.9 percent. Violent crimes did inch upwards from 356 incidents in 2022 to 377 in 2023, an increase of 5.9 percent. The most significant decreases in violent crime, as

compared to 2022, occurred in homicide (67 percent decrease from 2022) and rape (13 percent decrease from 2022). Robbery incidents saw a slight increase (2 percent increase from 2022), while aggravated assaults increased more significantly (10 percent from 2022).

Part 1 property crimes decreased from 2,324 incidents in 2022 to 1,848 in 2023, a 20 percent decrease. Statistically significant decreases in Part 1 property crime, when compared to last year, were seen in burglary (27 percent decrease from 2022), larceny-theft (20 percent decrease from 2022), and motor vehicle theft (2 percent increase from 2022). Arson cases also saw a decrease (52 percent decrease from 2022).

Moving to Part 2 crimes, there was a notable decrease overall from the previous year. Total Part 2 crimes decreased from 6,871 in 2022 down to 6,449 in 2023, reflecting a reduction of about 6.1 percent. Several areas observed significant reductions: Weapons crimes were reduced from 121 in 2022 to 93 in 2023, marking a 23.1 percent reduction. Drug-related offenses decreased from 907 in 2022 to 830 in 2023, reflecting an 8.5 percent decrease. Liquor laws violations saw a count of 521 in 2022, which slightly increased to 573 in 2023, still showing

a reduction from the 1,092 recorded in 2021. The Sheriff’s Office is honored to provide policing services for the cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Solvang, as well as all the unincorporated areas of the county. The Sheriff’s Office attributes its effectiveness in maintaining public safety within each of these areas to ongoing collaboration with city councils, the Board of Supervisors, and the individual communities it serves.


In Buellton, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 indicate a decrease across multiple categories. Overall, Part 1 crimes decreased from 99 incidents in 2022 to 74 in 2023, representing a reduction of approximately 25.3 percent. Violent crimes saw a notable decrease, moving from 6 incidents in 2022 to 3 in 2023, a reduction of 50 percent. This includes aggravated assaults, which remained stable at 2 incidents in both 2022 and 2023, and robberies, which decreased from 3 incidents in 2022 to 1 in 2023.

Property crimes also declined, with totals decreasing from 93 incidents in 2022 to 71 in 2023, a drop of 23.7 percent. Specific catego-

ries like burglary decreased from 10 incidents in 2022 to 9 in 2023, and larceny-theft dropped from 65 to 49. Motor vehicle thefts saw a decrease from 18 incidents in 2022 to 13 in 2023.


In Solvang, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 reveal a significant decrease in overall crime. Overall, Part 1 crimes decreased from 86 incidents in 2022 to 57 in 2023, representing a 33.7 percent reduction.

Violent crimes saw a substantial decrease, dropping from 14 incidents in 2022 to 5 in 2023, a reduction of approximately 64.3 percent. This includes a decrease in aggravated assaults, which fell from 11 incidents in 2022 to 4 in 2023, and rape incidents, which decreased from 2 to 0.

Property crimes also declined, with totals decreasing from 72 incidents in 2022 to 52 in 2023, a drop of 27.8 percent. This category includes a significant decrease in larceny-theft, which fell from 52 incidents in 2022 to 42 in 2023, and burglary, which dropped from 14 incidents in 2022 to 6 in 2023. Motor vehicle thefts were reduced by half with a decrease from 6 incidents in 2022 to 3 in 2023.

6 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
Courtesy of Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

Santa Ynez High graduate gets WE Watch

National Honor Society member Lizbeth Aguilera plans to study animal science at Cal Poly

Lizbeth Aguilera is WE Watch’s 2024 $1,500 Scholarship recipient who just graduated from Santa Ynez Valley High School. She plans to study animal science at Cal Poly.

A straight-A student since entering high school, she is a member of the National Honor Society. In her junior year, she was nominated for the Global Leadership Connections seminar in Santa Barbara and from that was selected to attend a Washington D.C. Leadership Experience.

She has been active in FFA at her high school and was president of its sectional chapter as a senior. She was on JV basketball and track and field teams.

In addition, she works part-time in a Santa Ynez store and job shadows at the Alamo Pintado Equine Center.

WE Watch, a nonprofit volunteer organization, has focused on Santa Ynez Valley land use and environmental issues for more than 30 years. Its annual scholarship is awarded to a student who intends to pursue an education that dovetails with its mission goals. Examples include agriculture, architecture/green construction, biology, climate change, environmental science, and land-use planning. New members are always welcome. Contact us at www.we-watch. org or email

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Theresa Reilly, WE Watch board member, presents the nonprofit's $1,500 scholarship to Santa Ynez High graduating senior Lizbeth Aguilera during the recent Senior Scholarship Night. Contributed Photo

‘Earwigs can fly!’: Dunn School graduates 45 in 2024 Commencement

Student speakers talk about deep connections and relationships made at campus

“Iwas told once that evidence is sometimes right before your eyes — you just have to look at it the right way," said Dunn School Head of School Kalyan Balaven in his opening address at the Los Olivos school's Commencement on Saturday, June 1. After a pause, he asked, "Is there a right way to look at an earwig?"

And Balaven used his reference to the school's rather unusual mascot to give his 45 graduating students one last lesson.

To begin his address — which each year is an enjoyable poetry reading with verses reflecting events that happened over the past school year — the administrator expounded on Dunn's favorite insect.

Balaven went on to say that he's gotten dozens of letters asking the school to change the mascot, has seen the earwig mentioned in the LA Times or ESPN's lists of "horribly funny nicknames," and the "apocryphal" story about how the name was hatched from a classroom joke.

"That's one way to look at an earwig," Balaven said. But then he pointed if you delve deeper into its biology, the insect molts five times, and on the fifth actually does develop wings. "When they choose to, earwigs can fly."

And in using that as a metaphor for the students who are getting ready to "fly away" to other destinations, the head of school launched into his verse reminded the students of what they experienced this year.

Compared to other high schools in the area, Dunn is considered a different animal — or insect if you will — and it was the student speakers who reminded the audience what made the school, and the people in it, so special.

Student Body President Alexander Grenier was the first speaker to stand at the podium, and he admitted it took him some time

Eventually, he figured out "independence comes at the expense of connection. I couldn't see the importance of being part of a community, until I came here."

Musson came to Dunn after his parents made an impromptu trip to an open house and suggested he go there.

"Dunn wasn't even part of the plan," he said. "But when I got here, the people here recognized my drive, saw qualities I didn't see in myself."

To conclude, Musson advised his classmates to "go forward. See the value in people who make up your life, and the value of people you don't yet know well."

After the speakers, it was time to hand out the diplomas. In the continuation of an idea hatched last year, each graduate was able to choose a faculty member to say a few words about them after they received their diplomas.

Like last year, it conveyed to the audience the connection and rapport built up between the students and the teacher.

And this year, one graduating student went one better. Near the end of the process, Oliver Vachon approached the stage and got to hear some emotional words from Gene Vachon, Dunn School associate head of school and the commencement emcee — and Oliver's father.


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to acclimate to Dunn.

"I struggled to find my place at Dunn," he said. "Many saw me as a troublemaker, and I seemed to look at any situation as an invitation to be a provocateur."

However, Grenier said, the teachers at the school seemed to take a different tack with him.

"At any other school, they would tried to put me in a box and force me to conform," he said.

"At Dunn, they understood that I caused problems out of a need for attention, not malevolence. They believed in me and encouraged to find ways to contribute to the school."

Grenier said after that he developed a passion for contributing to his community, which

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increased his sense of belonging. He advised his classmates to take advantage of chances to contribute to your community.

"The more you give, the more people respond," he told his fellow graduates. "And don't forget to recognize cries for attention and reach out."

Keynote speaker Matthew Musson, who gave his speech immediately after contributing to a musical performance with classmates Ben Dellis and Daphne Urquidez, told a story similar to Grenier's

"I was quite the handful as a kid," Musson said. "As a kid I was kicked out my first day of kindergarten. I always bristled at authority."



"When I found out you chose me to stand up for you at graduation, I wondered how I would possibly go through today without crying," Gene Vachon said as his wife and Oliver's mother Vicki stood by them. "I decided there was no way this day would happen without tears."

Vachon went through a number of reasons he would be crying for and was proud of his son, culminating in "we are so proud that you are ready for the next chapter and the ones after that. We are proud that you are ready to let go, but that you're willing to hold on just enough. I love you with all that I have."

Soon after, all the diplomas were given out, and Balaven went up to the podium one last time to remind his new graduates "if you didn't believe it before, you'll believe it now — Earwigs can fly!"

8 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
Dunn School Head of School Kalyan Balaven, with Associ ate Head of School Gene Vachon, addresses the audience. Student Body President Alexander Grenier talks about his time at Dunn Singer Daphne Urdiquez (left), singer/guitarist Ben Dellis (right), and bassist Matthew Musson (hidden) perform Keynote Speaker Matthew Musson talks about his time at Dunn Screenshots from YouTube

Kirby, Andreu win Elks Student of the Month awards

Recent SYHS graduates will continue their studies at the University of Wyoming and Cal Poly Humboldt, respectively

The Santa Ynez Valley Elks Lodge #2640, in conjunction with Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, has announced its two news Students of the Month: Braeden Kirby (March) and Lucy Andreu (April).

One of Braeden’s teachers describe him as “one of the most humble, kind and hardest working people I know.” What a wonderful accolade to describe a young man.

Another staff person states that Braeden falls quietly under the radar: "He is hardworking, consistent and trustworthy.”

Not surprisingsly, Braeden is an Eagle Scout. He has volunteered at many Elks Friday night dinners. He has also volunteered for People Helping People for its summer lunch program, serving lunches to students at a local elementary school. His scout leader

moving parts and machines and has worked on cars and motorcycles. It looks like he is on a path to success.

The lodge is also proud to honor Lucy Andreu as April’s Student of the Month. In the words of one of her teachers, Lucy is kind, funny, hard-working, and inclusive of all. She is totally willing to wrestle sheep and turn around and help with theater productions.

Lucy has been a part of the theater productions all four years of high school, just finishing her last one as deck crew captain. Lucy has also been a member of FFA all four years of high school. She is enrolled in vet science where students take care of the farm animals. She has volunteered at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Riding Program for the last two years.

states that Braeden possesses a deep well of character and a strong sense of ethics. He is a quiet leader who can be counted on to work with challenging students with whom no one else wants to bother. Braeden ranks seventh in his class; he has taken eight AP courses. He also holds a part-time job at

a local gas station. It is said that he never complains about his heavy workload.

Having just graduated from Santa Ynez High School, Braeden will now attend the University of Wyoming, where he will major in mechanical engineering. He has a full scholarship to that university! He loves

Lucy will attend Cal Poly Humboldt next year, where she will study marine biology and nursing. No matter what she pursues, her work ethic and personal attributes will ensure her success.

Congratulations, Braeden and Lucy! Santa Ynez Valley Elks is proud to honor you as the March and April Students of the Month!

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Staff Report Recent Santa Ynez Valley Union High School graduate Braeden Kirby accepts his $100 check from Elks Scholarship Coordinator Pat Merritt (left) and Santa Ynez Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Mario Santiago for being named Elks Student of the Month for March Contributed Photo Recent Santa Ynez Valley Union High School graduate Lucy Andreu accepts her $100 check from Elks Scholarship Coordinator Pat Merritt (left) and Santa Ynez Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Mario Santiago for being named Elks Student of the Month for March. Contributed Photo


Local teens place seventh in double sculls at national rowing championships

Jacie Dingman, 14, and Elsa Loya, 16, compete for Santa Barbara Community Rowing out of Cachuma Lake

Staff Report

Two local high schoolers and Santa Barbara Community Rowing Junior Racing Team members, Jacie Dingman, 14, (Santa Ynez Valley Union High School) and Elsa Loya, 16, (homeschooler and Classical Resource Learning Center student) had a strong showing at the 29th Annual USRowing Youth National Championships at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida, last weekend, earning the distinction of being the seventh-fastest U17 women’s duo in the country in double sculls.

Over the course of four days of racing, which brought together 4,000 athletes from 224 clubs across the United States, Dingman and Loya exceeded even their own expectations, landing a spot in the A finals Sunday morning, June 9, after besting 18 other teams along the way.

It was the duo’s first time competing on a national stage and, and Dingman and Loya — who have been rowing together all year and are friends both in and out of the boat — neither knew quite what to expect and simply hoped to make it into the top 16 and qualify for the B finals on Saturday.

However, starting with time trials on Thursday, where they placed seventh out of 25 boats, and covered the 1,900-meter course in 7:50.12, it was clear they had the speed to set their sights on the top spots.

It was at this point that Dingman said they started to feel the pressure, needing a topfour finish at Friday’s’ A/B semifinals to earn a spot in the A finals on Sunday.

And in a nailbiter of a race, they did just that, executing their signature come-frombehind sprint during the final 300 meters to overtake South Jersey Rowing Club and place third in their heat.

“This is a big achievement," Santa Barbara Community Rowing coach Gracie Barbara said. "Not only did these girls have to overcome some extremely fast competition, they also had to figure out how to deal with the

intense heat and humidity that defines this event every year.”

In fact, with temperatures in Sarasota in June routinely in the mid 90s under a blazing sun and the humidity level hovering around 70 percent, Barbara began incorporating humidity training into practice in the weeks prior to the event, recommending the girls practice in sweatshirts when possible to simulate the discomfort of rowing in such a heavy climate.

And it paid off: By Sunday’s finals, both girls were fine-tuning their race plan, and hoping to increase their stroke rate in order to gain ground early and compensate for a crossing head wind.

“The athlete’s race plan is to not get flustered no matter what happens in the first 100 meters of the race," Santa Barbara Community Rowing coach Gracie Barbara. "Elsa and Jacie are great at staying zoned in and executing their race plan with special moves or focuses throughout the race and then emptying the gas tank at the end. It's not over until it's over!”

Despite a false start in the finals by one of the crews in their heat forced a reset of the entire field back into the starting blocks, Dingman and Loya kept their cool and went

on to deliver their best start of the year, clocking in at blistering 42 strokes per minute and a 1:41 pace for the first 250 meters.

Coming through the first 1,000 meters (of the 2,000m race) Dingman and Loya were dead even with Vancouver Lake Rowing Club, but dug deep in an all-out sprint and managed to march past Sarasota Crew to hold on to seventh place across the finish line.

As this was the toughest field these two young rowers had faced to date, both rowers ended the race proud, and traded a high five at the finish line. “I want to come back next year," Dingman said.

Barbara had high praise for Dingman and Loya after the race.

“These two have shown how resilient they are the past few days," she said. "They practiced together only a few times in the weeks between regionals and the national championship. They were both sick at separate times and we weren’t able to row on the water for a few practices due to the wind, which is crucial in matching up and getting more in sync as teammates.”

“And as a coach it’s the best feeling to see Elsa and Jacie see their hard work come to fruition. They’ve fallen in love with a sport that I fell in love with 20 years ago and to

share that love together has made our bond and trust extremely strong."

And while Dingman and Loya didn’t make the medal stand this year, they hope to be back next year and already Dingman was making plans to try to drop her erg score — the common metric rowers use the judge strength and speed.

“These girls work really well together," Barbara said. "They are both hyper-aware of what’s going on around them and talk a lot in the boat as they go down the course. And having this experience down here will only help them figure out how to improve to come back faster next year.”

Barbara also hopes Dingman and Loya's success can increase interest in rowing locally.

“We hope more kids will come out and try the sport especially if they are inspired by Jacie and Elsa," she said. "We want to bring more kids to nationals next year and field a few more boats in a variety of categories! We are running camps all summer, and it’s the perfect opportunity to try it out, especially if you or your kid is looking for something unique to try.”

To find out more about Santa Barbara Community Rowing online go to www. or @sbc_rowing on Instgram.

10 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
SBCR’s Jacie Dingman and Elsa Loya during time trials Thursday at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida, that happened June 6-9. Contributed Photo

Upcoming Family Events at the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is thrilled to announce a series of exciting family-oriented events designed to provide fun, relaxation, and unique experiences for all ages. Mark your calendars for these engaging activities that cater to different interests and needs, ensuring an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone.

Autism Safari Nights: June 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Autism Safari Nights offers a wonderful opportunity for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to connect while their kids engage in fun activities. Set for the evening of June 25, children up to 18 years old can enjoy a range of activities including a movie, a reading corner, a bounce house, and sensory activities tailored to their needs. Meanwhile, parents can relax, mingle, and en-

joy a variety of food and beverages available for purchase. This event is free with registration, but remember to sign up soon as spaces are limited. Pre-registration is required and can be done online at

Members’ Night: June 27, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Celebrating Santa Barbara Zoo Members

and Foster Feeders, Members’ Night promises an evening of entertainment and engagement. Scheduled for June 27, the event features keeper talks, live music, and a delicious selection of food and drinks for purchase, including beer, margaritas, and a classic barbeque spread. This exclusive event is complimentary for SB Zoo Members or Foster Feeder spon-

sors, though registration is required.

Family Safari Sleepover: July 6-7

Experience the zoo like never before with the Family Safari Sleepover! From the evening of July 6 to the morning of July 7, families and friends can camp out under the stars at the Zoo’s scenic hilltop. The adventure includes making s’mores by the fire, sleeping under the stars, and a host of activities like an animal encounter, a ride on the Zoo Train, and a morning tour. This event is priced at $90 per person, with a discount rate of $80 for SB Zoo Members. Don’t forget to bring your camping gear, as facilities are limited. Each of these events is part of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s commitment to hosting inclusive, accessible events. For inquiries about accessibility or to request accommodations, contact or visit sbzoo. org.

Join the Santa Barbara Zoo for these special family events—spaces are limited, so be sure to register early to secure your spot for these unforgettable experiences!

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Engage, Connect, and Explore the Special Events COMMUNITY Staff Report

Jazz music fills the air at the Los Olivos Jazz and Olive Festival SPOTLIGHT

Attendees sample wine and olive-based delicacies along with performances by local musicians

It was a lovely spring day in Los Olivos as jazz music, the aroma of fine wine, and delicious food wafted through the air at the at the 18th annual Jazz and Olive Festival which was held on Saturday, June 8, at Lavinia Campbell Park. Four hundred people attended the soldout event, which featured 28 vintners pouring their latest releases and 24 O’Chefs, who prepared bite-size servings containing olives or olive oil. Nancy Dale offered tricolored quinoa with seafood vinaigrette salad; Dona Eichelberger made her tasty vegan spring pea soup; Judy Canby made Hoisin Beef. There were smoked olives to be had, cranberry olive skewers, olive dip, kalamata cornbread, and Sue Doherty tickled the tastebuds with her olive oil and

Amaretto chocolate truffles to name just a few of the many tasty creations.

“We reduced the number of wineries and O’Chefs just a bit this year and also lowered the number of tickets sold to 400 as opposed to the 600 we usually sell," said Rotarian Rich Nagler. "It was just too crowded last year and we ran out of food by 2 p.m. But this year, there is plenty of wine and a bounty of olive-based treats for all to enjoy.”

The winners of this year’s O’Chefs competition are as follows: Main Dish: Meatballs by Puck Erickson; Appetizer: Kalamata Olive Biscotti with Rosemary and Pistachio by Michelle Griffoul; Salad: Shannon's Greek Salad by Shannon Casey; Snack: Focaccia by Tyler Sprague; and Dessert: Orange Olive Oil Cake by Karen and Greg Johnson. The judges were Elaine Revelle and Sarah Harris.

“The crowd is significantly younger this year, probably between 35 and 40 years old,” Nagler remarked.

Steve Berg, who served up Steve’s smoked olives, said it was his 17th year as an O’Chef.

“Over the years I’ve met a lot of people who say they don’t like olives, but after tasting one, a smile appears on their faces," he said. "That’s why I do this event every year.”

New to the Jazz and Olive Festival stage this year were local jazz musicians, featuring Alan Satchwell on trumpet joined by the Alan Satchwell Quintet, consisting of David Alm on piano, Darrell Voss on drums, Wes Marquette on guitar, Dave Keif on bass, and featured guest singer, Chanel Finch.

“We decided to go with local talent this year instead of incurring the cost of hiring musicians from Los Angeles. We have so many talented musicians right here in the Valley, so I thought, why not use local talent instead. And by the sound of it they are doing a really nice job,” said Nagler. “They play with great enthusiasm and have a large jazz repertoire which everyone seems to be enjoying along with a glass of fine wine.”

The afternoon also featured an O’Bazaar silent auction with many items up for bid donated by the generous supporters of the

Jazz and Olive Festival.

Many Los Olivos Rotarians were on hand to help guests with their needs and enjoy the experience.

“We have plenty of great volunteers, some Rotarians from Lompoc and Ventura came to help us out," Nagler said. "We also had volunteers from Youth Empowered in Solvang who helped us set up and tear down. Youth Empowered is a family-owned personal training business in downtown Solvang who primarily teach boxing and powerlifting. They are a great help and a great group of people. We want to thank all those who participated in this year’s event. Without their continued support we could not present such a great event every year.”

The festival got good reviews from those attending.

“This is a marvelous event," said Susan Pratt of Solvang. "People just love it. It’s not so crowded this year, so it’s been really nice. The volunteers also love this event.”

This event is presented by The Los Olivos Rotary Club Foundation. For more information, visit

12 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
Livinia Campbell Park was filled to capacity with attendees seated in folding chairs enjoying live jazz and a glass of the Valley’s best wines for the Jazz and Olive Festival. Photos by Devyn Marseilles Alan Satchwell is shown accompanying featured guest singer Chanel Finch as the Alan Satchwell Quintet performs at the Jazz and Olive Festival in Los Olivos. The Jazz and Olive Festival featured 28 vintners pouring their latest releases. The Alan Satchwell Quintet were the featured group at this year’s Jazz and Olive Festival in Los Olivos. Pictured from left are David Alm on piano, Dave Keif on bass, Darrell Voss on drums, Wes Marquette on guitar, and Alan Satchwell on trumpet. Tents are lined up at the Jazz and Olive Festival, with vintners pouring their latest releases and 24 O’Chefs, preparing bite-size servings containing olives or olive oil.

SYV resident wins e-bike in CycleMAYnia giveaway

More than 950 Santa Barbara County residents took part in National Bike Month campaign Staff Report

SANTA BARBARA — The 15th annual CycleMAYnia celebration wrapped up last week with the announcement of Harrison Baugh, a senior at Santa Ynez High School, as the winner of a brand-new e-bike. More than 950 Santa Barbara County residents took part in 57 National Bike Month events, engaging kids, families, adults, and commuters throughout May.

Jake Sandell, store manager for Rad Power Bikes in Santa Barbara, presented Baugh with a brand-new e-bike of his choice for participating in CycleMAYnia and shared information about e-bike safety.

Baugh found out about CycleMAYnia activities from his school.

"I couldn't believe it when I found out I won the electric bike," he said. "I am excited to make cycling a big part of my life thanks to this bike. I'm grateful to Rad Power Bikes, SBCAG, and CycleMAYnia event organizers in Santa Ynez Valley for this amazing prize and I can't wait to ride with my friends on my new Radster 1."

CycleMAYnia unites the community to explore active transportation. Participants commit to actions promoting more bike trips, such as airing up tires, setting goals, and identifying themselves as bicyclists.

Organizers aiming to boost bike trips this May found that nearly 15 percent of CycleMAYnia participants had not biked in the past three months.

Participants logged their bike trips on, a regional platform for exploring commute options and earning prizes.

In May alone, bike trips prevented 5 tons of CO2 emissions, burned over 500,000 calo-

importance of community-driven initiatives that promote bike-friendly infrastructure. I look forward to continuing the active transportation celebration in North County this fall when Santa Maria Open Streets returns this October."

In the South Coast, the City of Carpinteria hosted the popular Mayor’s Ride this year in partnership with the County of Santa Barbara, a vibrant celebration of community and cycling for all ages and abilities. The youngest participant, a 2 1/2-year-old, and eldest, the ever-humorous 97-year-old Robert Antonini, had everyone grinning from ear to ear as he rode the inspiring “Cycling Without Age” trishaw piloted by Joe Howell.

CycleMAYnia is a collaborative effort between public entities and private organizations, leveraging community resources and South Coast transportation sales tax Measure A Bicycle and Pedestrian funds to foster and support community-driven activities.

ries, and saved participants a combined $7,000 compared to driving.

"Spring is here. Bikes are in bloom" was the theme for the 2024 CycleMAYnia celebration. Participants collected herb and flower seed packets by biking to various events or participating business locations. Staying true to the theme, CycleMAYnia culminated with an Obern Path tree-planting event.

"CycleMAYnia is made possible through valuable partnerships with employers, individuals, and community organizations," said Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG. "The Ginkgo trees planted along the Obern bike path are a result of collaboration with Santa Barbara Beautiful and the County of Santa Barbara. These trees, which will grow to 70 feet, are a gift for the next generation to enjoy.

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Events like CycleMAYnia bring the community together by biking and help plant the seeds for a more sustainable transportation future in Santa Barbara County."

This year, Santa Barbara’s North County hosted a record number of CycleMAYnia activities, with Santa Maria local businesses, schools and the city coordinating the most events countywide. Highlights included a latenight ride for ice cream, Santa Maria Recreation & Parks’ Ride with a Ranger, the Bike to Art mural ride, and the Trail Mix group ride exploring local infrastructure.

"It’s no surprise CycleMAYnia is gaining traction in Santa Maria and nearby communities," said Steve Lavagnino, chair of SBCAG and county supervisor. "Events organized during National Bike Month highlight the

SBCAG encourages the public to learn more about driving less and saving money by visiting Through the website, the public can log vehicle-replacing trips throughout the year and enter to win monthly giveaways.


Founded in 2009, CycleMAYnia began as a community brainstorming meeting aimed at jump starting a vibrant bike culture here in Santa Barbara County. Inspired by events and programs in other towns, the hope was that by engaging the cycling community directly and bringing them into the fold as collaborators, a dynamic calendar of events could be created and co-managed that celebrates National Bike Month in May. Expanding the reach of cycling to a greater number of riders and connecting to a more diverse demographic brings the joy and benefits of biking to as many people as possible in the greater Santa Barbara area.






Santa Ynez High student Harrison Baugh (center) is shown with Rad Power Bikes store manager Jake Sandell (left) and SBCAG Director of Multimodal Programs Aaron Bonfilio after Baugh was presented with a new e-bike in a CycleMAYnia giveaway, at the Rad Power Bikes store in Santa Barbara. Contributed Photo


Children's Museum director holds Open House in Buellton

Ashley Jenkins hopes money can be raised for a 2025 opening

The effort to get the Santa Ynez Valley Children's Museum is moving along slowly but surely.

On June 1, an Open House and fundraiser was held at the old Willemsen property in Buellton just down the road from River View Park. The Open House was hosted by Ashley Jenkins, the museum’s executive director, and Amber Ortiz, and drew a sizable crowd on an overcast Saturday morning.

Kids were having a blast in the popular Dirt Zone, which is self-explanatory. Kids were happy playing in the dirt and using small digging and measuring tools.

Veronica Carranza was there watching her sons Giovanni and Sebastian and her friend's son, Joseph Romero, play in the dirt pit.

"I found out about this from an online moms club I just joined," she said. "We got a little invitation and we decided to go, because there's not much of anything like this to do."

Also popular was the Paint a Truck exhibit, where an old truck was placed and arts and crafts paints and paintbrushes were supplied to put their color to the vehicle.

For the moment, Jenkins is looking at developing the top part of the acre, and eventually going down the hill in back.

While the people attending the two-hour Open House only got a sampling of what Jenkins envisions for the finished product, she is hoping to get the museum up and running in 2025, if she can get the needed $500,000 to start it up.

"Depends on funding, if we get the $500,000 we can start in 2025," Jenkins said. "If not, we doing things like this [the Open House] and building one at a time until we hit that mark.

"Past that we can't get any more specific. When we start, we'll probably be open three or four days a week with open hours and then reservations for parties and schools."

Jenkins' Phase I consists of eight exhibits, some of which were partially on display for the Open House:

Dirt Zone: An area where kids can create dirt hills, valleys, play with tires, use mini excavators, tractors, and trucks. Come get dirty and dig deep

Sensory Garden: Designed to inspire children’s interest in plants and natural cycles. Year-round activities in the garden will include: seed starting and saving, transplanting, pollinator and plant education, composting, arts and crafts, cooking projects, free play and more.

Mud Kitchen: This is an outdoor playspace with a multi-station table where kids can have

hands-on interaction with materials to make mud, tools to transform the area into their own beautiful mud creations.

Fairyland: This will be a magical play area where visitors can walk through a fantasy fairy area with a tea garden and wishing well.

Building Zone: An active zone where kids can saw, hammer, build and take apart things.

Paint a Truck: The museum will have a rotating exhibit of large objects for children to paint and explore.

Water Feature: The water feature will be a long, recirculating waterway in the shape of

a natural stone-lined streambed. Beginning of the waterway is a walk-in gazebo that rains periodically, flooding the waterway, teaching kids about rain, storms, floodplains, etc.

Forts: Space for 3 forts on our property. Each will have its own unique theme and play area for children to explore and be inspired by. Each fort will have an open-concept so guardians may allow free play in the forts while still having easy access and line-of-sight.

"We have plans, we are already talking to architects, and people who build playgrounds for a living," Jenkins said. "We have a hill there, so we're envisioning things like slides and tunnels, and we're looking to leave the trees and build an ecology walk."

In addition to some of the exhibits, the Open House also had Paleontologist Russ McGlenn (also known as Dakota Mac), who had worked on a lot of archaelogical digs, was at the Open House, showing some dinosaur artifacts. He the proprietor of Adventure Safaris Dinosaur Warehouse & Exploratorium in Santa Maria, where he does guided tours by appointment.

"Ashley had come to my museum, and I found out what she's doing, so I came to help the cause," he said. McGlenn had a stretch of dinosaur bones on the floor that kids were able to pick up and measure.

The site of the proposed museum is on 202 Dairyland Road in Buellton, the former Willemsen property that was bought by the City of Buellton.

When Jenkins heard that the city acquired the Willemsen property in 2020, she went to every single town hall meeting that explored possibilities for the property. It quickly became apparent that this was the perfect location for the children’s museum she had envisioned.

You can donate on the museum website using the Donation button or visit their Amazon Wishlist to see some of their current needs. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram @ SYVchildrensmuseum.

Also, the Children's Museum will host its Fall fundraiser at the museum site on Saturday, Sept. 14

The Santa Ynez Valley Children’s Museum is located at 202 Dairyland Road, Buellton. For more information email syvchildren@

14 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
Caleb Thomas, 9, of Lompoc touches up the vehicle in the Paint a Truck exhibit at the Children's Museum Open House in Buellton. (From left) Sebastian Carranza, Joseph Romero, and Giovanni Carranza play in the dirt zone during the Santa Ynez Valley Children's Open House in Buellton on June 1. Photos by Mike Chaldu

PCPA presents 60th season of live theater and Summer camps

PCPA has announced its highly anticipated Summer Season 60, from June 13 through Sept. 8, at Solvang Festival Theater and Marian Theatre in Santa Maria. This season promises a captivating blend of comedy, drama, and musical theater, featuring four sensational productions: "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Play That Goes Wrong," "Cabaret," and "The Agitators." Get your tickets today at

'Little Shop of Horrors'

Opening the season on June 13 through July

and July 12-28 at Solvang Festival Theater, theatergoers will be treated to side-splitting laughter with "The Play That Goes Wrong." Written by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer, this award-winning comedy is a hilarious depiction of a theater company attempting to put on a 1920s murder mystery, with everything that can go wrong hilariously derailing their production.

'The Agitators'


ensemble storytelling, and character creation! Young actors will work directly with current PCPA performers. No experience is required! There are four sessions to choose from:

Session 1 — Teatro PCPA (Ages 8-12):

Monday, July 15, to Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., $30 per camper

**Campers must have a strong understanding of Spanish in order to participate in Teatro PCPA**

Session 2 — Clowning Around (Ages 8-12):

Monday, July 22, to Saturday, June 27, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., $250 per camper

Session 3A — Just For Laughs Morning Session (Ages 13-18):

Beginning July 18-27 at the Marian Theatre and Aug. 2-25 at Solvang Festival Theater, "Cabaret" takes center stage. Book by Joe Masteroff, based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb. This iconic musical is set in Berlin as the 1920s ended, and as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich, you can forget your troubles at the Cabaret. Widely acknowledged as a rare musical masterpiece, "Cabaret"' resonates with fresh urgency in our contemporary world.

Mat Smart’s historical play of rebellion and revolution, personal passion, and sacrifice, reverberates powerfully in our America of today.

Monday, July 29, to Saturday, Aug. 3, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., $250 per camper


Get Santa Ynez Valley Star delivered directly to you.

Closing the season from Aug. 22-25 at the Marian Theatre and Aug. 29 through Sept. 8 at Solvang Festival Theater, "The Agitators" by Mat Smart presents young abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, full of dreams and seemingly common purpose, when they meet in Rochester New York in the 1840s and form an unexpected friendship.

Your subscription will begin with the first issue after payment received and continue for one year.To subscribe, email, visit us online at, or fill out the provided form to the right and mail to: Po Box 6068, Atascadero, CA 93423

PCPA is excited to bring this diverse and dynamic lineup to the community, ensuring a summer filled with entertainment, thoughtprovoking narratives, and unforgettable performances.

Ticket Information

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at (805) 922-8313. Don’t miss the chance to experience these remarkable productions in the enchanting setting of the Solvang Festival





Session 3B — Just For Laughs Afternoon Session (Ages 13-18):

Monday, July 29, to Saturday, Aug. 3, 1 to 4 p.m., $250 per camper

Registration information

To register visit and click on the Engage and Learn page under Summer Youth Camps. For more information, contact Director of Youth and Community Arts Marilet Martinez (she/they) at (805) 928-7731, ext. 4151 or at

PCPA will be bringing four productions to the Solvang Festival Season over the course of the summer. Photo provided by PCPA

New show added to Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series this summer

The Ruysdael Quartet from Holland will perform on Wednesday, July 31, at 7 p.m.

Staff Report

On Wednesday, July 31, at 7 p.m. the world-renowned Ruysdael Quartet will present what promises to be an exceptional concert for the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series.

“We are so thrilled to offer this special summer presentation for our audience," Artistic Director Dr. Robert Cassidy said. "The timing was perfect as the Ruysdael Quartet will be on a rare West Coast tour of the United States.

Please save the date in your calendar!”

The Ruysdael Quartet started their journey winning prizes at the Charles Hennen and Bordeaux competitions, and the prestigious Dutch Kersjesprijs. They perform on all Dutch stages and tour abroad. Recent highlights include the honor of accompanying their majesties the King and Queen of the Netherlands on their state visit to France, a Wigmore Hall debut, a Boulez Zaal debut in Berlin, and tours of Japan and Turkey. The Ruysdael Quartet’s repertoire spans from Purcell to contemporary works and includes many commissions, the latest by Jörg Widmann. To celebrate the Quartet’s 25th anniversary 25 Dutch composers wrote miniatures for the group. Five of these will be featured on July 31 along with Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 95 in F minor and

the Brahms Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 34 with Cassidy as the accompanying pianist.

St. Mark’s in-the-Valley provides an intimate concert experience with seating for just over 100. It is pleased to offer the SYV Concert Series as a community arts enrichment program. All are invited to come and enjoy these concerts, and students are always free. Tickets available now at Ticket Order (

Stay tuned for exciting news about the 202425 Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series season.

About St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church:

Formed in 1926 and serving the Santa Ynez Valley at its present location in downtown Los Olivos since 1979, St. Mark’s practices a spacious

Christianity and welcomes people of all faiths or none. St. Mark’s is a no-fee community center for non-profit groups and community meetings, an arts venue for musical and cultural events, a welcome center for residents and area visitors, and home to a vibrant, inclusive faith community. St. Mark’s top-flight, non-sectarian professional preschool serves Santa Ynez Valley families with quality early childhood education. The county-permitted SYV Community Kitchen at St. Mark's serves as a regional food hub. St. Mark’s is also grateful to be home to the area’s Jewish community and a local Zen sangha (part of Santa Barbara Zen Center). Open doors, restrooms, free Wi-Fi, a shady courtyard, gardens, a labyrinth, and water for pets are available for visitors and area residents all day, every day. For more information, please visit


Get Santa Ynez Valley Star delivered directly to you.

Your subscription will begin with the first issue after payment received and continue for one year.To subscribe, email, visit us online at, or fill out the provided form to the right and mail to: Po Box 6068, Atascadero, CA 93423






16 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
The world-renowned Ruysdael Quartet will come from their native Netherlands to play at St Mark's-in-the-Valley Church in Los Olivos on July 31. Contributed Photo Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series Artistic Director Dr. Robert Cassidy

Santa Ynez Valley High School Class of 2024


(president), Sherri Noble, Kathy GraceVelazquez, and Susan Shehab, as well as Interim District Superintendent Elysia Lewis.

Alvidrez then addressed the parents of the graduates.

"We want to thank you for letting us be a part of these senior's lives," the principal said. "We are very proud of them and we can't wait to hear of many of their successes."

Alvidrez then addressed the soon-tobe graduates, using the words of a famous author.

"T.S. Eliot once wrote, 'Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go,'" he said. "The best advice I can give you is to go far. Don't stop. Blaze your own trail. Hold your head up high, and never, ever, ever quit."

With that, Alvidrez introduced the first of two student speakers, Shannon Morehouse.

Morehouse began by describing the circumstances the Class of 2024 were dealt with when they first entered high school during the COVID pandemic.

"We had our eighth-grade school year cut short, had drive-thru graduations in 2020, and spent a lot of time in our first year on Zoom," she said. "We never thought that was what high school would be like, but we made do with the circumstances we were given. We prevailed, and we have officially taken the first step on our way to adulthood.

"So, welcome to an in-person graduation ceremony. We deserve it."

Morehouse went on to cite many of the small milestones on her class' way to this in-person graduation, among them: Slowly returning to a normal classroom environment and getting to "put faces to the names, their first Homecoming, with an out-of-this-world theme offering "dancing aliens on a screen behind the DJ," and "accidentally" building a bridge in science class that couldn't be crushed by a 16-pound frozen turkey.

Morehouse ended her speech by telling how her uncle asked her what were the best lessons she learned in high school, and she mentioned two. The first was realizing that Shay's Rebellion was "not about the British, it's about the farmers."

For the second, she went by the advice

offered by the late, great singer Kenny Rogers.

"Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run," Morehouse said. "My fellow classmates, we now get to run."

Introduced next was the next student speaker, Lizbeth Ortega Aguilera.

Ortega, while reveling in the fact that "we made it," also reminded her classmates to appreciate the memories they made in their previous four years.

"We were always so caught up on wanting to grow up, we did not notice that we were making memories that will last us a lifetime," she said. "Our senior year was not just our last year of high school, but our last football game ... last prom ... last time going to El Rancho Marketplace for lunch ... last time staying up all night to study for an AP exam.

"However, though graduation is bittersweet, we must close this chapter of our lives and start writing the next."

Ortega also spoke about her pride being a first-generation, Mexican American high school graduate, and how much that moment means to her. On that note, she recited the middle part of her speech in Spanish "as a tribute to all the Hispanic students and families present with us here today."

In going back to English, Ortega told her classmates to embrace the future, no matter how uncertain it may be.

"I'm nervous, and a little scared for what life has waiting for me," she said. "But the future isn't something we enter, the future is something that we create. I see a bright future full of hope and change, and I hope you all take a sense of pride, purpose, and a sense of responsibility with you."

After the commencement addresses, SYHS Assistant Principal Jasmine Day introduced the 36 Class of 2024 students who achieved a grade-point average of 4.0 or above, and were identified by the gold stolls they wore with their robes.

Before receiving their diplomas, the students were addressed by Assistant Superintendent Lewis who encouraged the class about to take the next big step.

"May you continue to pursue your passions, chase your dreams, and then leave an indelible mark on the world," Lewis said. "Congratulations graduates. Your journey has just begun."

Congratulations, and best of luck to SYHS's Class of 2024.

18 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024
Santa Ynez High Interim Principal Andrew Alvidrez welcomes family and friends of the Class of 2024 to the commencement ceremony May 31 at Rio Memorial Field. Photos by Mike Chaldu Santa Ynez High graduating senior Shannon Morehouse gives her commencement address during the May 31 ceremony at Rio Memorial Field. Santa Ynez High graduating senior Lizbeth Ortega Aguilera gives her commencement address during the May 31 ceremony at Rio Memorial Field.





Betteravia Government Administration Building, 511 Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria

For more info:


Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, 2975 Mission Drive, Solvang



At Community Services District Building, 1070 Faraday St.

For more info:



At Council Chambers, 140 West Highway 246, Buellton

For more info:



At Solvang City Council Chambers, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang

For more info:



County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara

For more info:



At LACSD Board Room, 82 Saint Joseph Street, Los Alamos

For more info:



At Council Chambers, 140 West Highway 246, Buellton

For more info:



At Solvang City Council Chambers, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang

For more info:



Concert Series makes its return on Wednesday, June 19, at Solvang Park, and will continue on Wednesday's thoughout the Summer. Star file photo


While Sean Wiggins weaves her own original tunes into her shows, she is known for adding her own soul into your favorite covers. When you come to see the duo or the band, you will hear a mix of originals and covers with a fresh take. She covers Janis to Adele to Guns & Roses to Aretha to Garth Brooks. Come down to Solvang Park for the annual Music in the Park, presented by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, a family-friendly event to entertain locals and tourists on those nice summer nights. Held Wednesday, bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets & baskets with food you’ve prepared, or enjoy a tasty meal from a Solvang restaurant nearby. At Solvang Park, 1630 Mission Drive, Solvang

For more info:



The Movement 2024 will be held for the seventh year on the Central Coast, the heart of horse and wine country. A transformational experience with humans & horses featuring Monty Roberts and other outstanding presenters, the program includes: Horse training mastery with a few of Roberts and his top certified instructors, holistic health and hoof

consults to bodywork for your horse and for yourself, gentling wild horses from halter to saddle in the Mustang Gentling Facility, and demonstrations on California’s only Mark Bolender Mountain Trail course. Tickets are $350, and include three-day unlimited access to all demonstrations and live sessions from June 21-23, lunch on Saturday and Sunday, wine and cheese evening, and three-month pass Monty’s Online University.

At Flag Is Up Farms, 901 E. Highway 246, Solvang

For tickets and more info: montyrobertsshop. com/products/events-the-movement-2024



Join us for the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Old Santa Ynez Days Parade and Street Fair! This year’s festivities will feature the Santa Ynez Elks Lodge 2640 as the Grand Marshal. On Saturday morning, bring the whole family into town for the Old Santa Ynez Days Street Fair and Hometown Parade. The fun begins at 9 a.m., giving you plenty of time to enjoy breakfast from local restaurants or food trucks, and the parade kicks off down Sagunto Street at 10 a.m.

The excitement continues beyond Sagunto Street, with free carriage rides around downtown showcasing the wonderful boutiques and businesses tucked around town. Don’t miss the OSYD Rodeo on June 22 and 23, and the Kick-off Party on June 21. The Street Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more info: or


We are thrilled to announce this year’s pride theme: "Small Town, Big Heart." This is a nod to our incredible community, yes YOU, who consistently shows up with love, empathy, and support of our mission to create a safe, supportive, and empowering home for the LGBTQ+ community in the Santa Ynez Valley. Because of you, Pride now exists in our small town.

Pride 2024 will be our biggest and best yet —we will be taking over the back parking lot of Solvang Park so that we can have more food trucks, sitting areas, youth activities, and an expanded beer and wine garden! As usual, we will have music throughout the festival, including the @themollyringwaldproject from 3 to 5 p.m.

In Downtown Solvang and Solvang Park, 1630 Mission Drive, Solvang.

For more info:



Kelly’s Lot was formed in 1994 by Kelly Zirbes, a folk singer/songwriter with a heart for the blues. With 15 CDs and lots of touring in the USA and Europe, the band celebrates 29 years since the first night the band hit the stage at the Roxy in Hollywood. Come down to Solvang Park for the annual Music in the Park, presented by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, a family-friendly event to entertain locals and tourists on those nice summer nights. Held Wednesday, bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets & baskets with food you’ve prepared, or enjoy a tasty meal from a Solvang restaurant nearby. At Solvang Park, 1630 Mission Drive, Solvang

For more info:



From Iceland to Italy, and all over the U.S., San Francisco-based band Dirty Cello brings the world a high energy and unique spin on blues, rock, and Americana. Enjoy the Music in the Garden series with us! Seating is first come, first served. Gates open 30 minutes before the show. Wine, beer, soft drinks, and snacks available for purchase. Tickets are $37. At Solvang Festival Theater, 420 2nd St., Solvang

For tickets/more info: show-details/dirty-cello

The Solvang Music in the Park The Santa Ynez Old Days parade will take place on June 22, part of a weekend-long 60th anniversary for the event. Star file photo
20 JUNE 18 – JULY 1, 2024

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