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Party Planning

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


Christmas Party Decor, Food + Beverage Felici Events Style

Impromptu Felici-Hour Holiday Party

Last night marked the 8th year that Zohe Felici - Event Party Planner Extraordinaire - hosted a pre #paradeoflights gathering at Casa Felici.  The only difference, is that this year she had been traveling, and decided at the last minute to continue and host this ongoing tradition.  With only a few hours to put the "Felici-Hour" together, before she and her friends would head to see the boat parade and fireworks, Zohe dug into her impromptu skills to make this Felici Event effortless for her and a success for guests.


There were four decor elements Zohe focused on to put together a holiday table-scape on her dining table.  She chose items (from storage) that accented height and interest to the table without overkill:

  • 1.5 foot tall Pier One Imports wooden snowman she fell in love with a few years back
  • wooden 3 tier Swedish Christmas Candle Carousel from Ikea - Zohe grew up with one and was always mesmerized by how they work using only candle heat to spin around….
  • mini Christmas tree gifted to her by the amazing and talented floral designer Kellye Clifford of Precious and Blooming at a recent coffee meeting.  This became a double-use item (Zohe loves two-fers, see more below).
  • red table runner from Cost Plus World Market
Felici Events Christmas Table Set Up

Felici Events Christmas Table Set Up

Favors and Entertainment:

As mentioned, the tree became a two-fer.  See it plain and simple on the image below and to the left.  At the foot of the tree are mini ornaments (from Ikea).  Zohe had no time to do this task, therefore she created this very fun activity for the kids (adults got involved too).  Zohe believes that interactive projects at parties are a great form of entertainment, so this was a no-brainer.  Voila, on the right is the finished product created by Zohe's almost-niece Malia.  Malia was so proud of her creation and keepsake!

Felici Events Kids Activity for a Holiday or Christmas Party

Felici Events Kids Activity for a Holiday or Christmas Party

Food and Beverage:

Once the table was set, Zohe, being the Italian that she is, moved on to feeding her guests.  With a time limit, she incorporated both home-made and store-bought items for nibbles.  From clockwise we have:

  • pizzette and arancini (placed in a 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes) from Trader Joe's
  • gorgonzola cheese dip with crostini (easy as 1-2-3 recipe, ready in less than 5 minutes)*
  • brussels sprouts with a spicy sweet glaze (easy as 1-2-3 recipe, ready in less than 5 minutes)*
  • mulled wine (easy as 1-2-3 recipe, ready in less than 5 minutes) for adults*
  • hot apple cider (from Trader Joe's) for kids or add Rum for an adult beverage
Felici Events Easy Food and Beverage for a Christmas or Holiday Party

Felici Events Easy Food and Beverage for a Christmas or Holiday Party

 Gorgonzola Cheese Dip w/ Crostini

  • 1 x 8 oz. container Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 1/3 c. whole milk
  • 1/8 c. half & half
    • microwave for 2 minutes
    • stir
    • microwave another 2 minutes
    • stir
    • serve with home-made or pre-made buttered bread crostini

Brussels Sprouts in a Spicy Sweet Glaze

  • 1 x 10 oz. package shaved fresh brussels sprouts (produce section)
  • 2 T. butter, salted
  • 1.5 T. agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 - 2 t. crushed red pepper
    • in large pan melt butter on medium
    • once melted increase temperature to high / medium high
    • add brussels sprouts and caramelize
    • stir occasionally so it does not burn, but let it brown
    • turn off burner
    • add agave nectar (feel free to add more to taste)
    • add crushed red pepper  (feel free to add more to taste)

Mulled Wine

  • 2 btls. red wine (preferably Merlot or something with hints of cherry)
  • 1 btl. white wine (preferably Chardonnay)
  • 1.5 c. sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 c. brandy
  • 1 fresh squeezed orange
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/4 T. cardamom
  • 1/4 T. fresh graded nutmeg
  • 5-6 whole cloves
    • put all ingredients in a large pot bring to a simmer
    • lower temperature to medium / low for 30 minutes
    • keep on warm until guests arrive or it is all sucked down!
    • pour into festive holiday mugs

Finally, she set her Spotify to the Michael Bublé Christmas Music Station, and there you have it.  How to prepare for and host a holiday happy-hour party for 8 in less than 1 hour.  The most time-consuming part of the preparation was the trip to Trader Joe's to purchase the food…..HA!

Happy Holidays Everyone!  We hope you celebrate safely with friends and loved ones in 2014 with these unique, #felicified and festive Christmas decor and food ideas inspired by #anotherfelicievent