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Golden Goose lands at airport

Agua Dulce Airport hosts gala affair

Posted: October 8, 2008 9:01 p.m.
Updated: December 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Michelle and Jason Crawford learn about the wine they are drinking from one of the vendors pouring at the reception for the Golden Goose Gala.

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It was an elegantly clad flock of “geese” that took flight Friday at the Agua Dulce Airport to celebrate the fourth annual Golden Goose Gala. Nearly 250 black-tie and formal-gown-attired guests paid $300 per person to enjoy an evening that included fine wine tasting, a gourmet dinner and dancing.

As a giant searchlight lit up the night sky, guests from throughout the Santa Clarita Valley made their way to the “secret” gala destination. As attendees drew near, men in suits armed with airplane-guiding red-tipped flashlights waved guests onto the proper road to reach the parking where Valet of the Dolls awaited.

It was a short walk from the valet station to the hanger where the gala reception was held. A small plane, illuminated by a large, floating light balloon, greeted guests before they entered the reception hanger.

Within the hanger, Goose staffers Carol Maglione, Dora Zavala and Loose Goose founder Peter Goossens (sporting an airplane pilot’s cap) greeted each attendee and handed out the wine tasting glasses.

“We thought it was important that you arrive and relax and have a nice glass of wine,” said  Maglione.
Wine service surrounded a small airplane with the “Air Goose” logo. Guests were able to make a circle around the hangar and taste the fine wines offered by Wild Heart Winery, Silkwood Wines, Opolo Vineyards, Anglim, Army of Geese, Casa Torelli, Core Winery, Evergreen Vineyards, Grape Crusader, Hunt Cellars, Leona Valley Winery, Lucas and Lewellen Vineyards, Quady Winery, TGIC, Tru-wines, Ventana Vineyards, Varozza Vineyards, Wente Family Estates and other vendors pouring at the reception.

Belgian beer sommelier Marc Stroobandt served up one of three Belgian beers, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe, to many of the attendees.

Jim Burens of Wild Heart Winery in Los Olivos, served up a trio of red wine.

“We’ve brought our library wines this year,” he said.

Passed appetizers included salmon mousse with caviar on a toastette, gazpacho with skewered shrimp, ravioli with truffle oil and Asian beef on a wonton cone, paired well with the fine wine and impressed attendees.

As per Golden Goose Gala tradition, guests were notified the day of the event on where the gala would be held. The first Golden Goose Gala in 2005 was held at Santa Clarita Studios, with the next two galas held at the weekend wine festival location at Bridgeport Park in Valencia.

As the reception glided to a safe landing, guests made their way to the dinner location several hangers away. Riding shuttle buses, guests were treated to beautifully lighted displays of antique airplanes and cars — in addition to a helicopter, or two (or four) —  at each hanger along the route.

“There are a lot of people who have collector planes down here and they love to show them off so we asked them pull them out and light them up and they said of course,” said Goossens.

As each shuttle bus arrived at the dinner destination, guests were photographed as they disembarked by Yoti Telio of Santa Clarita Photographic Studio. The photos were later laminated, then scattered at the foot of the nearby small airplane for guests to collect as they left.

As attendees entered the hanger for dinner each was presented with a small bag of airplane peanuts, a glass of sweet sparkling red wine and a cigar, to be enjoyed later.

The menu for the gourmet dinner, crafted by executive chef of RSVP catering Cindy Smith, was included in “Migration — the in-flight magazine of Air Goose” that graced each place setting. Guests were seated on plush, light-blue cushioned chairs with silver frames at tables decked out with pale blue tablecloths and a centerpiece of white and pale blue flowers. They feasted on kale and squash with pickled peppers and shaved Manchego cheese, slow-cooked pork shoulder with spice rub and oven roasted teardrop tomatoes with fresh shell bean stew and roasted salmon espeltte with bouillabaisse sauce and fingerling potatoes roasted in cream and garlic.

Dessert was either a plum cake with honey Mascarpone and pistachio brittle or peach melba with cardamom ice cream.

The fruits and vegetables used in the meal were “from farm to table,” said Smith.

“We always say that wine is a journey of discovery, so one time we started from Union Station (at a November launch party for the Loose Goose Wine Society) and this time we’re taking people to an airport,” Goossens said. “It is like we’re taking people on a trip.”

The unique location and elegant trappings brought favorable comments from the crowd.

“No matter the venue, Peter always creates such a beautiful ambiance,” said Margo Miller of Valencia. “Peter is absolutely the most creative, personable and knowledgeable man.”

Guests also enjoyed a humourous (and totally fabricated) video presentation of the history of “Air Goose.” The motto of “Air Goose” was also revealed: “If you can do it, we can do it weirder.”
Goossens then took the stage to thank his sponsors and supporters.

“Welcome to our fourth Golden Goose Gala. We are very proud to be here tonight,” Goossens said. “For those who know me, I have a medical condition, I don’t have a shut off valve, so when somebody suggests... let’s do something at an airport I don’t say no — that would involve too much logistics — instead I say, ‘Great idea, let’s do it, and throw in some peanuts.’”

Among the guests at the event were legendary percussionist and artist Pete Escovedo, his wife, Juanita and daughter Zena.

After dinner the band appropriately named “Crush,” got guests to their feet and onto the dance floor.

“Here we are at the fourth annual Loose Goose Gala and every year they outdo the previous year,” said Mayor Bob Kellar. “What a great venue at the Agua Dulce airport, of all places. This is an unbelievable venue and everybody is having a blast. What a great kickoff to the weekend wine festival.”

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