When Oprah attends a dinner party, you know it’s gotta be good. But that wasn’t even the main event at this gorgeous get together at San Ysidro Ranch. The celebration was put on to honor and thank the Santa Barbara firefighters and first responders who helped protect San Ysidro Ranch during the Thomas Fire and following mudslides during late 2017 and early 2018. After over a year of repairs and rebuilding, the ranch is up and running, but showering the men & women who serve and protect the area with gratitude was at the very top of their list of to-dos. Imagine Santa Barbara helped the owners of San Ysidro Ranch pull off a grand gesture in the form of this stunning lavender dinner party as a thank you for their service. It’s heart warming and beautiful too…
Rebecca at Imagine Santa Barbara shares…
The back story behind the Firefighter event begins with the Thomas Fire that broke out on December 4, 2017. The fire was dangerously close to the historic San Ysidro Ranch on the hillside in Montecito. Thankfully, the Montecito fire department and first responders managed to keep the ranch safe and out of harm’s way. Sadly, a few weeks later on January 9, 2018, the ranch was in the direct path of the Montecito mudslide caused by the heavy rains in the burn scar area. SYR received significant damage including loss of their Creekside cottages and other structures located along the Creekside portion of the property. The assessment process and cleanup began as soon as it was safe to allow people back on property.
Ty Warner, the owner of SYR was deeply appreciative of all of the hard and extraordinary work done by the firefighters and first responders and wanted to show his thanks in a tangible way. The idea was born to host an event to thank the Montecito firefighters and first responders. Miraculously, the area known as the Upper Estate Lawn that sits above all of the guest cottages was not affected by the mudslide. This beautiful area hosts private events with an ocean view. It was decided that this event would take place there on Saturday April 14, 2018.
San Ysidro Ranch holds a very special place in my heart. I have been fortunate to plan numerous events there over the years and the staff is like family to me. I was honored to be asked by the General Manager, Maxine Rutledge, to design and plan this very special event. The vendors involved generously donated their time and services for this event. We acknowledged all of them on the back of the printed dinner menu. I wanted the design to bring life back to our hearts after the tragedy of the fire and mudslide and to inspire us to move forward in the aftermath of the disaster.
As you enter SYR and drive up the driveway you are surrounded by a lavender field. It felt appropriate to include the vibrant color purple into the design, and since it was springtime I included yellow as well. We were fortunate to be greeted by a beautiful and warm day for the event. Oprah Winfrey was an honored guest and speaker. She graciously took photos with the firefighters, first responders, and their wives. The guest list also included Michael Keaton, a local resident and neighbor of SYR. Maxine Rutledge welcomed everyone and graciously expressed her sincere gratitude for the efforts of firefighters and first responders. Guest dined on a delicious three course dinner created by Chef Matt Johnson. It was an incredible evening filled with so much emotion and celebration for a new beginning.
Now, on the first anniversary of this event, SYR has reopened and is more beautiful than ever. Looking at SYR now you would not know how much damage the property suffered. The management and ownership worked tirelessly over the past 15 months to bring life back to this very special place that is dearly loved by so many.