At Taste of the Central Coast, visitors take a culinary tour of nearly 30 area restaurants and wineries while grooving to live music and participating in auctions to benefit an important local organization. Guests can present chompers with unfamiliar sensations from eateries such as Full of Life Flatbread and New West Catering while sipping spirited libations from wineries located in the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria. Like pranksters who replace a bowl game's football supply with honey-filled beehives, local pastry chefs make the event sweeter, contributing decadent cupcakes to the gustatory parade. Live and silent auctions give guests a shot at such coveted items as cases of wine, weekend getaways, and spelunking lessons on the moon. The Family Care Network will use proceeds from the event to fund its efforts to provide foster-care services and assistance to high-needs children and families.
Hop-n-Play's indoor playground extends beyond the usual dimensions of fun. Apart from being climbable, slidable, and bouncable, nearly every play piece is also moveable. Toddlers can ride balls suspended from a spinning palm tree, or balance inside a slowly rotating hamster-wheel. Flowing water even makes an appearance, cascading down a tiny slide that's encased in clear plastic to prevent anyone from getting wet or ruining their makeup.
But each unique and safely padded attraction does more than entertain. While romping and running under the watchful eye parents, kids develop their muscle coordination and sense of space. And they can develop them late into the evening—families can show up ready for bed during the last business hour of the day, known as "pajama play."
From under the brim of a ten-gallon hat, the stern face of a rifle-toting man peers out across a table laden with liquor bottles. Despite appearances, this isn’t Wyatt Earp. Rather, he’s the subject of a signature old-time photo taken at The Solvang Photographers and Photo Gallery. Here, modern-day subjects slip easily into the period garb of Southern belles, gun slingers, bar ladies, and outlaw cacti to pose for sepia-toned photographs. Started by Geoffrey T. Grant in 1976 and now helmed by his daughter and her husband, the family-run business welcomes subjects of all ages into its camera’s scope for unique portraits of families, couples, kids, and friends.
A photo booth from Heather Dunn Photography can be a party-enlivening tool for birthdays, weddings, family reunions, and more. Rentals come with a number of extras, including a plethora of props such as silly hats and feathered boas, to get the photographed in the mood to strike a deadly pose. A trained attendant will be on hand throughout the event to make sure the booth is running efficiently and to suggest tried-and-true facial contortions. All strips printed are included in the rental, and the host receives a disc that contains every image taken during the event, so he or she can show family members every close-quarters shot in high quality.
Those seeking traditional Italian food need not travel far, thanks to Angolo Italiano. With familiar dishes such as lasagna, calzones, and fettucini alfredo, the kitchen seeks to comfort diners. Italian entrees such as marsala or parmigiana can be made with chicken, veal, or eggplant, and a kids' menu sates little tummies with tortellini and ravioli dishes that are not stuffed with cotton candy.