Cowboy Fun at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum 37th Vaquero Gala Weekend

By Bonnie Carroll

The 37th annual Vaquero Gala, Show and Sale to benefit the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum was a weekend to remember. The 2021 Vaquero of the Year Award was presented to legendary cattle rancher John McCarty at the annual gala held at the Museum and is a much anticipated event for locals and museum supporters. Testa Catering and Gainey Vineyards offered a delicious dinner and food and wine pairing, and auction items included a trip to Hawaii and the fly-fishing adventure, along with a host of other tempting items. . The three-day event is the main fundraiser for the museum and has been touted as a major success by museum officials.

Throughout the weekend, visitors and supporters took tours, enjoyed food and drink, watched traditional Vaquero riding demonstrations by Heather Kornemann and enjoyed local Vaquero fiestas performed by Baile from California. Attendees also enjoyed shopping for special gifts during the Vaquero Sale and browsing the museum’s exhibits honoring the unique culture and equine skills of Californian ‘Vaquero’ life, with many items showcasing the rich history of the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. .

Randy Jones is the most host at Pork Palace for the 37th Annual Vaquero & Barn Dance Dinner

On Saturday nights, the Pig Roast and Barn Dance at Pork Palace, 3 miles south of Buellton at 1503 Highway 101 (home of Heritage Pork), featured country swing music live from Monte Mills and the Lucky Horseshoe Band and was the place to go. The cowboy decorations and the outstanding roast pork dinner with all the trimmings were personally overseen by Randy Jones, owner of The Pork Palace and current director of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum board. He has been a member of a proud Santa Ynez Valley farming family since 1975. Jones Farm pork products are renowned and are sold at Santa Barbara Farmers’ Markets on Saturday mornings and the Goleta Market on Sundays. I was surprised to learn that they also offer customers online sales and pickup orders of Lamb, Goat, Turkey, Beef, and Pork at Fairview Farms in Goleta.

The music provided by Monte Mills and the Lucky Horseshoe Band got everyone at Pork Palace rocking to the sound of fabulous country swing music. It was so much fun to see everyone in their best country western outfits having so much fun at dinner and dancing for charity. The guests also bet on wines, pork products, creative bakery delicacies and the 50/50 which was won by a young woman who donated everything to the association.

Make sure to put this delicious and historic Vaquero weekend on your calendar for next year, because it is nothing short of a charming and delicious cowboy! Visit:

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