A COMMUNITY COMING TOGETHER... to recover after a crisis, and communities beyond that community joining in to lend more strength, and communities adjacent to those other communities adding further fortitude and forward-looking hope? That can aptly describe much of what is happening in and around the areas devastated by the Thomas Fire, which swept through a sizable swath of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties beginning in early December 2017, with full containment reached on Jan. 12, 2018. How to help those who are hurting, how to reach out to those who are seeking that next step, and how to assist in rebuilding are questions on many people's minds, both around places directly impacted by the fire and far beyond. To aid in the recovery, to bolster fire relief efforts, and to speak directly to those in the region looking for solace, hope, and the nearness of their neighbors, there is the upcoming Thomas Fire Benefit Festival presented by Bank of the Sierra, which will take place at Plaza Park in downtown Ventura on Saturday, Feb. 3.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW, and "100% of the Proceeds Will Benefit Victims of the Thomas Fires," states the event site; beneficiaries include The Ventura County Community Foundation, World Central Kitchen, and the Wildfire Victim Fund from the Downtown Ventura Organization. Kevin Costner and Modern West, his band, will headline, along with Grammy-winning icon Olivia Newton-John, lauded singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, hip-hop artist Super Duper KYLE, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, while Chef José Andrés "...will be creating an assortment of specialty dishes for sampling by VIP festival-goers." In fact, a number of area eateries, wineries, and breweries will play a role at "The Chef's Experience," from The Cave in Ventura to Firestone Brewing Co. from Paso Robles. Do keep in mind that VIP tickets are going quite quickly, so look into that option soon, and far ahead of the festival, if that's something you're interested in. The VIP Sampling is $200, and a general entrance is fifty dollars. For all of the ticket information, and times you need to know, visit the benefit's site.