Chris Bashforth spent 12 years preserving local history and traditions

By Raiza Giorgi

Preserving history and tradition was the main focus for Chris Bashforth during the more than 12 years she spent as the executive director for the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House.

She recently resigned from that post, and she was honored to be chosen as the grand marshal for the 55th annual Old Santa Ynez Day Parade starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 10.

“This event has been so special to me over the years, and we even added to it by hosting the Spaghetti Western dinner and dance, where folks could come in and see the exhibits and get a little bit of extra ‘country-style.’ I am so excited to be in the parade,” Bashforth said.

Her road to the Santa Ynez Valley started in San Diego when she and her husband moved north so they could attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduating, her husband found a job in Santa Barbara and they decided to move to Buellton and start their family.

“We had our son Patrick and I went back to work in business development and I was the one traveling a lot. My husband was ‘Mr. Mom,’ so to say, and he was the one who knew all the people in the grocery stores and such. I was glad when our roles changed and I became the one staying home more often,” Bashforth said.

It was her work with the bicentennial for Mission Santa Ines that caught the attention of Mary Elliott, the outgoing director of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum.

“She invited me to lunch and told me I should be the next director, as she was about to leave. I thought about it and jumped at the chance because I loved this place so much,” she said.

Bashforth was thrown into the role during the museum’s annual Vaquero Show and Sale, and it quickly became one of her favorite events.

“I just loved all the special things that the volunteers did for not just the Vaquero Show but all our events and gatherings. I made a lot of special friends being at the museum, and I cherish all those memories,” Bashforth said.

She left the museum just after the Vaquero Show in November because of needing to help her mother by traveling back and forth to San Diego, and she is excited to embark on a new journey.

“I’m taking the time off to be with my family and explore what options there are in the future,” she said.

She is a board member of the Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce. She also stays busy by exercising daily and attending community functions like Old Santa Ynez Day.

Students from Fossemalle Dance Studio in Santa Ynez did line dancing in Western costumes on Sagunto Street in last year’s Old Santa Ynez Day Parade.

In addition to the parade at 11 a.m., Old Santa Ynez Day is designed for family fun food, antiques, arts and crafts booths, and a beer garden.  The festivities begin at 9 a.m. on Sagunto Street.

Buying a fundraising badge keeps you out of the Old Santa Ynez Day Jail and benefits local schools and students via the Santa Ynez Elks Lodge No. 2640.

Games for kids will be held in the afternoon on the main stage, including the traditional tortilla toss and watermelon-eating contest.

Music on the main stage will be provided by the T-Bone Ramblers and some young local talent as well.

There is no charge to enter the parade and to host a booth the cost is $75 per booth or $65 for non-profit groups. There are no more food vendor spaces available. Log onto for applications, deadlines and other information.