WATSONVILLE—The Crosetti Building at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds was almost unrecognizable Saturday evening, decked out for the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture’s 58th annual Gala and Dinner.
Going for a “Roaring ‘20s” theme, the inside of the building was decorated in black, white and gold. Men and women alike dressed to the nines in 1920s-esque suits and flapper dresses. Peacock feathers, flashy beads and sparkling lights adorned each table and the gala’s stage.
It was a big undertaking, but one that Chamber CEO Shaz Roth said went off without a hitch.
“There were no hiccups at all, which is incredible for such a big event,” Roth said. “People seemed to love it… it really felt like a big party.”
The gala honored local people, businesses and organizations that made big impacts in the Pajaro Valley in 2019. Awards were handed out for Woman and Man of the Year, as well as Business, Organization and Event of the Year.
Man of the Year went to Bob Culbertson, a retired State Park Ranger who continues to be involved in organizations and agencies such as PV Water, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Agricultural History Project and the Monterey Bay Birding Festival. Woman of the Year was Barbie Gomez, a bus driver for PVUSD who has made numerous contributions to the community through fundraising and volunteer work, and advocates for driving safety and league sports programs.
“It’s always great to honor these amazing people—the people who have changed this community for the better,” Roth said.
Business of the Year went to K&D Landscaping and Organization of the Year to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation. Event of the Year went to the Corralitos Padres’ annual Lumberjack Breakfast.
Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Hal Hyde was given a special honor at the gala. Roth said that a highlight of the night was seeing Hyde watch a video compilation of himself.
“[Hal] was absolutely beaming,” Roth said. “He has literally served his country and his community for so long… we cannot understate what he has done for us.”
Master of Ceremonies Barry Brown of KION introduced Roth at the start of the event, and the two took turns in thanking those in attendance and the event’s sponsors. After dinner the awards ceremony began.
The gala went on late into the night with more food and drinks, a silent auction and live music by The Ramblers.