The 2017 NEXTies event will include people from Santa Cruz’s food, coffee, art and music communities. The NEXTies, which celebrate “the area’s brightest doers,” are in their eighth year. For the annual awards ceremony, held this Friday, March 24, event organizer Matthew Swinnerton invites the public to “pull out the pearls and cufflinks and join us for an evening in honor of those in Santa Cruz County who inspire us to reach further and higher and inspire the community.” Danielle Crook and DNA are hosting the program.
New award categories this year include “Best Writer.” The inaugural recipient is Good Times food writer Lily Stoicheff, who is honored to receive this accolade.
“As a journalist who writes about food culture in Santa Cruz County, I’m drawn to the stories of people who are fearlessly passionate about enriching our community through what we eat, be it a chef, farmer, small business owner or brewer,” says Stoicheff. “I gravitate towards writing about food because it’s something we all share, and as such it holds the possibility of creating a path to understanding and connection with each other and our environment. Plus, eating is an opportunity to bring joy into our lives daily.” Being acknowledged by the NEXTies, she says, shows that the Santa Cruz community values this type of storytelling.
Cat & Cloud Coffee is receiving the 2017 NEXTie for “New Business of the Year.” Owners Chris Baca, Jared Truby, and Charles Jack were thrilled to hear the news.
“We opened this business because we love community, and we wanted Cat & Cloud to be a hub for the community. We live in the neighborhood, and its awesome to see the community recognize us and really participate in the vision we have for Cat & Cloud.”
Vendors from the Santa Cruz Food Lounge’s monthly “Night Market” (held the second Friday of each month) will be selling food at the NEXTies. Vendors include My Mom’s Mole (mole nachos in chicken, veggie, and combination options), Tanglewood, Artisan Hand Food (with hand pies including meat and veggie options), Hanloh, and La Sofrita (empanadas and mango-cucumber salad). I personally recommend every single one of these fabulous food businesses! Andrea Mollenauer, Cat Hernandez and Sally Kane operate the Santa Cruz Food Lounge, located at 1001 Center St. in downtown Santa Cruz. Mollenauer actually won a NEXTie in 2015.
At the event, there will be music from 2017 NEXTie award winners The Coffis Brothers and Taylor Rae. McCoy Tyler will also perform. Beer from New Bohemia Brewing Co will be available for purchase.
The full 2017 NEXTies winners list:
Entrepreneur of the year: Sindy Hernandez de Cornejo
Musician of the year: Taylor Rae
Band of the year: The Coffis Brothers
Artist of the year: Irene O’Connell
Writer of the year: Lily Stoicheff
Give Back person of the year: Mariah Tanner & Natalie Anne Oliver
Foodie of the year: Elizabeth Birnbaum
New Business of the year: Cat & Cloud Coffee
Athlete of the year: Ryan Navaroli
Under 18 person of the year: Ashley Solis-Pavon: Community Agroecology Network
Non-Profit of the year: Warming Project
Mentor of the year: Keisha Frost
Innovative Business of the Year: Inboard
Innovator of the year: Nick Halmos from Cityblooms
TECHie of the year: Gabriel Jesse Medina (From Digital NEST)
Green Business of the year: Khordz Handmade Mugs
Wildcard: Happily Ever Laughter
Buy tickets for $30 online.
The NEXTies were first awarded in 2010. Four years later, Santa Cruz Next asked Matthew Swinnerton of Event Santa Cruz to take over the NEXTies. Swinnerton launched the organization Event Santa Cruz in 2013 to help tell the stories of local businesses and the people that make these businesses run. The organization presents monthly happenings around town.
In an effort to reduce waste, Event Santa Cruz has partnered with ReCRUZ for the NEXTies. Guests are encouraged to bring their own mug or “rent” one from ReCRUZ for free during the event.
Friday March 24, 2017, 6:30-9 p.m.
Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz
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