Solvang Festival Theater celebrating milestones and renovations

By Pam Pilcher

Contributing Writer

As Solvang Festival Theater celebrates 43 years this summer, who would have thought that a theater built in just 58 days would still be standing, let alone continuing to bring wonderful live performing arts to our community?

More than 30,000 people come through the gates each year to attend the stellar PCPA summer performances as well as to support the many other events held at the theater.

The current board of directors remains stalwart in supporting the dream and determination of the original organizers to provide and maintain a venue for live performing arts in our wonderful valley.

Numerous nonprofits rent the theater for fundraising events, including Friendship House’s Nashville Nights, Los Olivos Dance Gallery’s Centre Stage, The Nativity Pageant, the Solvang/Buellton Park and Rec’s very scary Haunted House, and the local high school’s Raw Talent, among others.

In the past year we partnered with Santa Barbara Public Library to provide a free presentation of readings by Drama Dogs, “Qualities of Mercy,” and with Arts Outreach for Tales for a Summer Afternoon, written and performed by Gerald DiPego.

This past year there were numerous improvements to the theater and grounds. For example, we moved the concessions’ electrical feed from the theater’s main panel to its own 200-amp panel. This will allow expansion on the theater’s main panel and help with some electrical issues we were having in the concessions.

Also, as with any older building, as we were completing this project we found dry rot in the wall, so that was repaired and painted. We also installed new flooring and galvanized counters.

In the Star Patrons patio, we installed overhead LED string lights. Now the patio area is illuminated for evening events. The Green Room needed a major cleanup and repair since we were infested with rodents that had decided to make nests in the ceiling’s insulation and chew on a few wires.

Along with the generous grants we receive from various foundations to help with these repairs and renovations, we have our own fundraisers to support these ongoing projects, such as the upcoming “Riders in the Sky – America’s favorite cowboys” at 7 p.m. on May 5. They bring their own wacky humor and Western wit to the stage along with their incredible artistry as musicians and singers.

During the summer, on four Sunday afternoons, we have Jazz & Beyond concerts in the Star Patrons garden from 3 – 5 p.m.

For event information, please go to or call 686-1789.