RANCHO SANTA FE — Just walking through the doors of the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club evoked the spirit of Christmas. Maybe it was all the sparkle and glitz, the warm textures and patterns and the scent of spice and pine all wrapped up with Santa at his station by the Christmas tree.
It was the second Sassy Santa joint fundraiser hosted by the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary and the Garden Club on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.
“It’s as much an event for the community as it is a fundraiser,” said Steve DiZio of the Garden Club. “It’s been a joy for these two groups to work together.”
Plus, he said, it’s a way to get people together and get them to the village.
Last year when the two groups joined forces, they realized they had hit upon a good idea.
While each had hosted their own fundraisers in the past, this new partnership drew more shoppers.
DiZio, whose wife Helen is president of the Garden Club, said they expected at least 500 people to walk through the doors and shop over the two days of the event.
Next year, as word spreads, they expect even more shoppers.
The Garden Club was decked out in holiday colors with bright pots of poinsettias lining the walkway. There were about 25 vendors, whose wares included jewelry, clothing, purses and Christmas stockings. There was also food, candy, plants, scarves and much more. There were items available at just about every taste and price point.
Rotary President Alan Balfour made a perfect Santa, while Rotary members and volunteers Don McVay, Patrick Galvin and William McMullen manned the bar.
Allison Austin and Krista Lafferty, who co-chaired the event, were busy making sure everything was running smoothly.
“For those who want unique gifts, that is what Sassy Santa is all about,” Austin said. “It is a great place to just start Christmas shopping, to come out and celebrate or just have some fun.”
Last year the event was held in December, but Austin said people asked if it could be held earlier this year, so they held it on Nov. 19.
“This is our first time here and it’s nice,” shopper Jennifer Bearden said as she was leaving. “There’s a good variety. We bought a necklace.”
Her mother Kathy Bearden was walking out with a unique gift, a decorative purse made of grass and succulents. “I think it was lovely,” she said.
The two organizations intend to hold the event again next year and will consider letting it run longer.