Solvang Chamber honors business, community standouts

Feb 01, 2016

Community all-stars and their supporters were out in force Thursday night for Solvang’s Community Awards Banquet, where honorees in categories ranging from Large Business of the Year to City Employee of the Year were lauded.

The banquet, sponsored by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, was a happy, glitzy affair making its inaugural splash in what is intended to be an annual event. A capacity crowd packed Solvang's Root 246 restaurant.

It attracted a talented array of nominees who aligned with the 2016 theme, “Grow Your Community, Think Solvang First.”

Award Winners

Large Business of the Year – Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Small Business of the Year – Art Kaslow, DDS

Restaurant of the Year – CHOMP

Winery of the Year – Buttonwood Vineyard

Ambassador of the Year – Tracy Farhad

City Employee of the Year – Brad Vidro

Public Service Award – Santa Barbara County Fire Department – Station 30

Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Atterdag Village – Chris Parker

Most Philanthropic of the Year – Montecito Bank & Trust

Linda Johansen Spirit of the Community Award – Glen Jacobsen

Tourism Organization of the Year – Santa Barbara Vintners- Morgen McLaughlin

Merit Awards, Non-profit – People Helping People – Becky Barieau; Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital – Kathy Erb

Employee of the Year – Ellen Hall

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital (SYVCH), whose Auxiliary won a merit award for nonprofits, chose hospital leader Kathy Erb as their designated honoree.

Erb was introduced by SYVCH Vice President Wende Cappetta.

“Kathy has served as a hospital Auxiliary member since 2008. Since that time she has put in 1,000 hours of volunteer service for the benefit of our community hospital, and has served as treasurer of our thrift store for four years, as well as president of our Auxiliary for two years," Cappetta said.

“Kathy’s time and commitment have been exemplary: chairing monthly meetings, planning our annual Gala, and opening up her beautiful home for our Volunteer Annual tea. Simply put, Kathy has stepped in when we have needed her most.”

One of the night’s big winners – for Small Business of the Year – was dentist Art Kaslow, who couldn’t quite believe his ears when his name was announced. Kaslow, who carried his six-month-old grandson to the stage, said the award was a big surprise.

"I thought I was attending a Chamber of Commerce installation event – and wow, this is just so encouraging to my practice and to me," he said. "It’s wonderful that the Chamber takes the time and energy to recognize and to reassure and support small, cottage businesses like mine, as well as the larger organizations in this community.”

Well-kept secrets seemed to be the order of the night.

“It feels wonderful to be recognized by my peers, Solvang business leaders and friends, for doing a job I love," said Tracy Farhad, Ambassador of the Year winner and Executive Director of Solvang Conference & Visitor’s Bureau. "It was quite a surprise and best kept secret by my board of directors and staff. I’m truly honored and humbled.”

The Winery of the Year nod went to Buttonwood Vineyard.

“It was a huge honor – thrilling – because not only are we located right here in Solvang, we are very much involved in the community, and we like to think of Buttonwood as ‘Solvang’s winery,’" said winemaker Karen Steinwachs. "For us, it’s not just about being able to offer great wine – it’s about hospitality. We love being able to live and share this beautiful place with everyone in this community.”

Emceed by travel planning guru Linda Johansen, the banquet also featured silent and live auctions and a raffle, as well as entertainment by the Solvang Conservancy and the always popular Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band.

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