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Michael Towbes

Community Memorial with 2000+ Attendees for Mr. Santa Barbara

Community Memorial with 2000+ Attendees for Mr. Santa Barbara


It was an incredible honor to create an event commemorating the late Michale Towbes, Santa Barbara’s most influential and respected entrepreneur and philanthropist. The community event consisted of an afternoon at the Granada Theatre. Over 2000 spectators and community members gathered as Michael Towbes’ closest friends, family, work confidants and even Governor Jerry Brown took the stage to individually honor and shared in songs, stories, photo collages and favorite memories of the beloved guest of honor. The touching tribute ended with Mr. Towbes friends and family on stage to sing the guest of honor’s favorite song and getting every single spectator of the filled theater on their feet to .

The afternoon memoriam was followed by a champagne toast and mini cupcake reception at the iconic Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens. A quartet performed Mr. Towbes favorite songs while guests mingled and celebrated the life of our community’s beloved philanthropist, and all-around mensch. The garden party included orchids, his favorite flowers as well as personalized cocktail napkins printed with his favorite quotes or “Towbe-isms including:

“Onward and upward…”
“Some of the best deals I ever made were  the ones I didn’t make”
”The only thing I like better than a ground breaking is a ribbon cutting”
”I always try to do my best, even when no one is watching”

We had the absolute pleasure of working with Mr. Towbes on several party planner projects, including his 80th Birthday Celebration and Fundraiser for the Granada Theatre Capital Campaign, his 85th birthday brunch and a show at Bacara Resort and Spa, as well as one of his company’s 60th Anniversary Celebration and Roast of MT. Each event was carefully planned to exemplify things Mr. Towbes loved and supported, the arts, fundraising and success in business. Creating this garden party to reflect and combine the personality, passion and entrepreneurial psyche of our local tycoon was the hardest story to tell, and the most rewarding to produce.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Towbes has been a huge influence on our community and the people in it. Everybody wanted to celebrate the life of this extraordinary man, Michael Towbes.

Santa Barbara will not be the same without him.

GRAZIE MILLE to the Event Production Team who made this all happen!

Photography: Kelsey Crews Photo

Music at the Granada: Scott Hiltzik, Aurora Ensemble

Garden Party Venue: The Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

Memorial Venue: The Granada Theatre

Rentals: Elan Event Rentals and The Tent Merchant

Audio at the Sunken Gardens: SPARK Creative Events

Quartet Music at the Sunken Gardens: Idiomatiques

Mini Cupcakes: Léle Patisserie

Flowers: Louloudi Boutique Floral Design

Bartenders: Liquid Cult

Servers: Top Shelf

Transportation: SB Trolley

Valet: BlueStar Parking

Also, a special thanks to MarBorg Industries and Triumph Protection Group


Felici Events Featured in CASA Magazine

Felici Events Featured in CASA Magazine

Article from CASA Magazine

Article from CASA Magazine

Felici Events Makes News for Planning Santa Barbara's Largest Philanthropic Event

Special thanks to CASA magazine for their article, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” published in August 2009. The article, written by Jacqueline Dyson, provides a detailed description of the event and includes information about Michael Towbes. This birthday celebration also served as a benefit for the Granada Restoration Capital Campaign and raised approximately $1.2M.

As the evening drew to a close, the party was just getting started! Dancing under the stars to Lois Mahalia & The Georgetown Band, exuberant guests rocked the house. Michael enjoyed dancing to his favorite song ‘YMCA’ with wife Anne, granddaughter Allison, and the family. Michael and Anne savored a special moment with the favorite, At Last, and shut is down with a rousing last dance Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough. When all was said and diner, the party’s theme summed it up well: “It’s a Wonderful Life!” – CASA Magazine

Casa Magazine celebrates life in Santa Barbara. This award-winning weekly magazine focuses on cultural institutions and non-profits that support basic human rights and stewardship of the earth. Jacqueline Dyson has written other articles on local fundraising events, including:

Felici Events is a first-class event design and production company based in Santa Barbara, California that produces events like this 80th birthday celebration. Contact us if you are planning an upcoming birthday celebration and looking for a company that listens to and expertly translates its clients’ visions into reality.