By Sean Paroski
CoLAB kicked off its 2017 Spring BBQ on April 24, under sunny skies at beautiful Rancho Matilija outside of Ojai. Over 200 people attended the annual event, CoLAB’s largest fundraiser of the year, enjoying good food and drink, music, games, a live auction and the company of fellow CoLAB members and guests. This year’s BBQ was the most successful one since CoLAB started the annual tradition five years ago, breaking previous fundraising totals with over $67,000 raised. This funding provides the valuable resources CoLAB needs to advocate on behalf of our members and track all the issues affecting landowners and businesses in Ventura County.
The Spring BBQ has become a much-anticipated event, bringing people together from across Ventura County to spend an afternoon mingling with farmers, ranchers, business owners and other supporters of CoLAB’s work at one of the most scenic locations in the area.
Guests were able to enjoy the rustic charm of Rancho Matilija, including the impressive reservoir surrounded by farms and orchards. Whether strolling along the sandy lake shore, standing over the water on the docks, playing a five-foot tall version of Jenga on the grassy banks or enjoying a drink in the shade, there was plenty to keep participants entertained all afternoon.
In addition to the fun and scenery, a silent and live auction gave people opportunities to bid on a wide variety of gifts, exciting activities and exotic vacations. The live auction, conducted by master entertainers Richard and Bonnie Atmore, included some exclusive activities which can’t be found anywhere else, including a tour of the Reagan Ranch, a trip to Cabo, a stay at a private beach house in Catalina, a Ventura County Golf Tour and a trap shoot excursion at a private local shooting range. Silent auction items included spa days, a tickets to Six Flags and local concerts, trips to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, and even a pearl and diamond necklace.
After dinner and a fantastic BBQ meal from Stonefire Grill, the crowd heard from CoLAB President Bud Sloan and Executive Director Lynn Jensen about the work CoLAB has been accomplishing over the past year. In addition, Ms. Jensen highlighted upcoming opportunities for CoLAB members to become engaged, including on important issues such as Wildlife Corridors, groundwater management and the County’s 2020 General Plan.
CoLAB wants to extend a grateful thank you to everyone who came out to support our annual BBQ, as well as our generous sponsors who make this event happen every year. We look forward to seeing everyone again this time next year!