Baroness Jewelers has been a family-owned business for more than 40 years in Santa Barbara, specializing in custom-made 18-karat gold and fine platinum jewelry. Years ago owner, Ilene Baroni was one of the few women in the U.S. owning and operating a jewelry store.

Now her daughters, having grown up in a family dedicated to the making of fine jewelry, continue the tradition. Natalie Baroni is a Montecito resident and renowned jewelry designer whose creations have been featured in Saks Fifth Avenue ads and the cover of FLARE Magazine.

Most recently sister Julia Baroni, who also designs with her mother at their local shop, did the family and our community proud by becoming the first female national vice president for the 24-Karat Club. This is an invitation-only organization that promotes standards and excellence in the fine jewelry industry. Way to go girls!

Bocce and Bologna

Continuing in an Italian vein, we had the annual Pranzo Italiano and Bocce Ball Tournament recently as a fundraiser for Catholic Charities. Into Arnoldi’s Café came Vito Gioiello, Angelo and Susan Secco, Ron Gillio and Maryann and John Gherini.

But a few Irishmen slipped through the door as well: Todd and Ana Sullivan (who were making plans on how to celebrate their 20th anniversary), Tish Gainey, Mary Garton and Mike and Laura Murphy. Our usual gang of suspects also included Teri Suding, Chris Toomey, Annette Carrel and Mahri Kerley.

You should know that Catholic Charities concentrates its efforts on aiding the working poor (regardless of religion). The bottom line is that it can help prevent homelessness by providing food, or rental assistance, and counseling services for these families and seniors. In fact, Catholic Charities is the largest distributor of food in the Santa Barbara community.

So after the pasta and prattle, serious bocce ball got underway (is that an oxymoron?). The winning team included Angelo and Susan Secco, Vito Gioiello, Laura Murphy, who filled in when Vito had to leave early, and Jim Garcia, who had never played bocce before, but was able to translate his lawn bowling experience to contribute to the photo finish.

Art Work Under the August Moon

Hey take the kids over to Arts Alive on 2 Calle Caesar Chavez. Director Laura Inks held a Kids Art Contest in her art classes, wherein the little ones interpreted this year¹s Old Spanish Days theme “Under the August Moon.”

The 700-square-foot gallery space nicely highlights the innovative and charming artwork of these young artists (aged 5 to 13), who are having their first “real" exhibit. The opening reception and awards presentation takes place Friday, July 28, 5 pm to 7 pm, and the artwork will be up on display through August 11.

Fiesta Finale Honors Abercrombie

The Profant Foundation is honoring the legacy of Stewart Abercrombie at this year’s “Fiesta Finale Gala.” The event will be held Sunday, August 6, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. While the show is open to the public and can be viewed free, the gala portion is a fundraiser for the Profant Foundation, which provides scholarships for the performing arts regardless of age.

The gala tickets are $200 and include dinner and patron seating for the performance. The event kicks off at 5 pm with a festive reception – cocktails on the balcony of the courthouse, costume contest, exhibit and silent auction.

Then time to eat! The Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel caters a candlelit buffet dinner and on the lawn at dusk you can samba to Latin music.

At 8 pm, they get the show on the road. Enjoy dessert while watching world-class performances of professional dance and music. Within the program will be a special tribute to Stewart, and a highlight of the famous Brosik masks.

Do you remember those dances at the Fiesta courthouse shows back in the 1950s and 1960s that featured these giant colorful masks? The Profant Foundation purchased them to preserve them for the community’s cultural history.

Don’t forget – Gala guests can take the charming trolley for special transportation from and to Montecito. Call 682-8284 for info.

And by the way, the show is open to the public at 8 pm; you may watch without charge on the upper lawn of the Sunken Gardens.

Luck of the Irish

Continuing on with our multicultural theme, Maryann Freeman, another fellow traveler on the annual trek to our sister city in Dingle, Ireland, wrote recently: “I bought some 'Celtic knot' sterling earrings in a little shop during our tour of the Ring of Kerry. When I got home and unpacked, I discovered there was only one earring in the bag. So, I wrapped the one up in the store bag with the receipt and included a note saying that I only found one when I got home. I just sent it regular, overseas mail.

“Well, I received a registered mail packet within a week or two later from the little shop. Enclosed was a pair of earrings today with a nice note saying they had found the other, and they thanked me for shopping in their store.”

Hey is that service, or what? So these become a very special and lucky pair of earrings after all. And we find another reason to love the Irish and our little sister city!