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Oprah Film Festival Event Becomes a Surprise for Minnesota mother

By John Palminteri, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Senior Reporter,
Published On: Feb 08 2014 11:30:54 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 08 2014 02:35:55 PM CST

A daughter surprised her mother with tickets to see Oprah at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Montecito Award. They flew across the U.S. For this special event.


When the Oprah Winfrey television show ended, the dream Sandy Harrison had to see the famous entertainment icon in person ended, until this week.  The Minnesota mom was treated to a flight to Santa Barbara, and upfront seats to see a special tribute to Winfrey as part of the International Film Festival, Wednesday night.

He daughter, Elizabeth, began making the event happen last November as part of a special surprise.

"Exactly,  we just Googled Oprah Winfrey tickets and Santa Barbara, this show came up. It was really unexpected," said Elizabeth Harrison.  

The tickets were a Christmas present.  They came with airfare and two nights at the landmark Upham Hotel two blocks from the famous Arlington Theatre where the Montecito Award was presented.

"When she came out on stage, dancing I think I wanted to dance with her. She sat down and the gentleman who was interviewing her,  she puts everyone at ease. She made fun of everything.  Like.. 'oh my life'. But we all know what her life is like, and what she does for so many," said Sandy Harrison.

The two were also given special treatment from the theatre staff when they heard, the mother and daughter team traveled all the way from St. Cloud, MInnesota to see the show.   The Harrisons were allowed to get two seats in the front section and as luck would have it, they were sitting next to Mayor Helene Schneider.

After the show they were also able to get two of the final tickets for the sold out show to honor actor Leonardo DiCaprio and  director Martin Scorsese Thursday night.

While in the festival event, the Harrison's met several local residents who welcomed them with tips on where to go and what to see while they were on their first ever visit to Santa Barbara. One new friend gave them a city tour the next day.

With such special treatment, they said, they would "definitely be coming back."

Temperatures during the trip to Santa Barbara were in the mid 60's with a passing shower.  At the same time in Minnesota, it was hovering around -5 degrees.


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