Staff Report

Local Juneteenth Santa Ynez Valley celebration returns to Solvang on from 4 – 7 p.m. in Saturday, June 19, in Solvang Park. The second annual event, presented by non-profit organization Madi’s Treasure Box Inc., is sponsored by High on the Hog Catering and People Helping People.

“June 19th marks the 158th anniversary of the true end of slavery.  It is a day to celebrate, promote awareness, and move forward towards lasting change, says CEO of Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, Valerie Kissell. “We are pleased to be a sponsor of this wonderful community event.”

CEO of Madi’s Treasure Box and Air Force Combat Veteran, Vashti Wilson launched the first Juneteenth Santa Ynez Valley in 2020 when her daughter asked why there were no Juneteenth celebrations locally. Wilson explains the importance of the holiday: “Juneteenth is not just Black History; it’s American History. The day commemorates freedom and triumph for our ancestors and is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together in jubilation and remembrance.”

Entertainment for the event will be presented by the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara featuring Afro-Brazilian Troupe Banda Alegria with a Maculele (Stick Dance) and Capoeira. The band includes lead and backup vocals, keyboard, guitarist and 5 drummers playing high-energy African Brazilian music. Their colorful costumes and captivating performances integrate dance and music to get the crowd moving. In addition to a performance of a Maculele, or Stick Dance, Banda Alegria will present a dance of liberation called Capoeira with a special performance by Master Mariano Silva. Developed by the enslaved people from Africa who were brought to Brazil, Capoeira was used to gain skills to fight for freedom. Today, the dance is still a tool for transformation, building strength, confidence and community. The Juneteenth demonstrations include music, dance and audience participation.

Attendance to the event is free with optional dinner available from 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. by pre-ordering from High on the Hog Catering. Meals available for purchase include: Juneteenth Southern Plate, Vegetarian Plate, & Southern Desserts. To preorder your meal, visit

The City of Solvang will be presenting a proclamation to Madi’s Treasure Box Inc. and sponsors, People Helping People and High on the Hog Catering, on Monday, June 14, 2021 in recognition of Juneteenth Santa Ynez Valley. Mayor Charlie Uhrig says of the event: “It is important for all of us to remember our nation’s history, the good and bad, so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. On Juneteenth, we honor the freedoms long overdue, and afforded to the enslaved African-American citizens by President Abraham Lincoln, with the writing and final delivery of the Emancipation Proclamation. But let us not forget that even today we have not finished that work. As a nation and as the Santa Ynez Valley, we need to continually remind ourselves that all are entitled to the same rights and freedoms. So, in order to honor all Americans, past, present, and future, regardless of ethnicity, color, religion, or orientation, let us pledge together to treat others with the dignity and respect we desire for ourselves.”

The Solvang celebration was originally conceived by now 9-year-old, Madi Wilson, creator of Madi’s Treasure Box. She says simply: “I want all my friends to know that this holiday matters. I hope I get to say thank you in person for all of their support”. For more information about the Juneteenth event, visit or email