Catalina Island News

Mt. Ada Shines During Holiday Open House

Rotary Club of Avalon

Mt. Ada was at its historic best last weekend as it played host to the island’s second annual Holiday Open House. Built in the early 1920s, this summer home of William Wrigley Jr. enchanted hundreds of guests who reveled in glorious late-fall weather.  The event, co-sponsored by the Santa Catalina Island Company, the Catalina Island Foundation (CIF) and the Avalon Rotary Club Foundation, proved a smashing success for all involved and weighed heavily in favor of more such collaborations in the future.

With open arms, Mt. Ada welcomed its visitors with cozy fireplaces, decorated rooms, and a holiday scent of wassail prepared by master wassail-maker, Denny Honsey. Holiday cookies courtesy of Ben’s Bakery and local cookie bakers were plentiful, along with coffee and other beverages provided by Mt. Ada. Christmas music by local talent Porschia Denning and assorted volunteers filled the air with song to create a perfect holiday mood.  As always, Santa and Mrs. Claus entertained the crowd with their ever-merry Christmas mood.

Adding to the uniqueness of the evening, all six of Mt. Ada’s rooms were open for viewing, with a docent in each one to share its history and happenings. Raffles of island merchandise and services on the half-hour were also eagerly anticipated.  As dusk fell, brief words of welcome from Santa Catalina Island Company vice president of administration Gina Long, Rotary chapter president Christy Lins, and CIF board member Mike Rivkin were warmly delivered and received. More than 500 visitors and volunteers passed through the property throughout the afternoon as people from everywhere came together to admire the views, reconnect with friends, and spread holiday cheer throughout the community.

Event organizers would like to express a special thanks to the Santa Catalina Island Company, the incredible staff at Mt. Ada and all the dedicated volunteers and cookie bakers who worked so hard to make this complicated event the success that it was.  All proceeds received from admissions and raffle tickets will go to local community groups working to improve the quality of life for island residents. Even Santa Claus would be impressed with that!

The Catalina Island Foundation was founded in 2014 in Avalon to raise funds for programs that support quality of life for the residents of Catalina Island. To find out more, please visit our website at