The original Santa Maria Style Barbecue cookouts were big affairs, with the Santa Maria Club serving up to 700 patrons during their monthly “stag” barbecues. Today, local restaurants and caterers continue the tradition by accommodating parties, groups and business functions of all sizes.

Now, to help meeting and event planners create the perfect group experience in the heart of the Central Coast wine country, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau has unveiled its new “Event, Meeting & Sport Facilities.” This new booklet provides comprehensive details on group experiences and venues, including wineries, caterers, hotels, restaurants, bakeries, auditoriums, outdoor facilities, sports facilities and more.

Unique local venues for group gatherings include Cottonwood Canyon Winery, which hosts events within its underground wine cave; the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, which features numerous Hollywood movie props; the Severson Theater, home of the award-winning PCPA Theaterfest live theater company; and the Dunes Center, a quaint Craftsman structure that showcases the nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo coastal dunes experience; and, of course, several restaurants specializing in Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

The Santa Maria Valley is also becoming known for its expansive and diverse sports facilities for baseball, softball, cheerleading, golf, basketball, swimming, equestrian activities and more. The recently renovated Hagerman Sports Complex boasts four multi-purpose fields, a meeting room, snack bar, playground and RV parking area amid a beautiful tree-lined setting.

For a copy of the new booklet or for any assistance in planning a group experience in the Santa Maria Valley, please contact Group Services Coordinator Jennifer Mejia at (805) 925-2403 or jennifer(at)