Strawberries and wine | Around About North County

You know summer officially begins this month on June 21, but it will have to warm up to make me believe it. Actually we have had some warm days and nights, but this last week was a little cooler. Well, so much for the weather. I know we will soon complain about the heat. Until then we should enjoy the outdoors and carry along a jacket!
The yearly Tuesdays in the Park Community Barbeque’s, sponsored by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, will begin on June 19 and run through August 21, from 5-7 p.m., at Atascadero Lake Park, 9305 Pismo Avenue, Atascadero.
The Atascadero Community Band will play from 7-8 p.m. in the Bandstand by the lake. Remember to bring a low-back chair and a jacket---it usually cools down later in the evening.
The Atascadero Elks Lodge 2733 BBQ Crew will prepare the delicious barbecue for each Tuesday event. Dinner includes choice of chicken or beef, salad, beans, garlic bread, and a drink. Desserts, provided by the hosting nonprofits, are available to purchase.
This year the event is celebrating its 23rd year and has earned recognition throughout the years as a popular summertime activity that also gives back to the local community in a multitude of ways. Each week the event benefits various local non-profits, service clubs, and community organizations in Atascadero, with 13 well deserving participants this year. Members of the nonprofits sell tickets, serve the food and act as hosts for the evening.
Tickets prices are $14 for Adults 11 and older, $12 for seniors 60 and over, $9 for children 10 and under. Take-out is available. Tickets are available at the Chamber office, 6904 El Camino Real, during business hours or from participating nonprofits. At the event, tickets will be $1 more per ticket. For a complete list of the nonprofits participating, visit For more information call 805-466-2044.
When I covered the beautiful Memorial Day ceremony at the Faces of Freedom Memorial here in Atascadero, I failed to give credit to a great group of young people and their leaders. They are members of Trail Life USA Troop CA1613 with leaders Carl Gutierrez and Mike Shick. Also serving that day were members of American Heritage Girls Troop CA0411 with their leader Monica Nicholson.
The youth organizations are connected with the Faith Baptist Church located at 9925 Morro Road, Atascadero.
It was nice to see the kids in their uniforms helping with the set-up and take-down of chairs and tables, etc. They were all very polite and considerate of the people attending the ceremony.
I am making them my “Community Heroes” for this week.
The Templeton Performing Arts Center Foundation is presenting “an Evening with Cole Porter” to benefit North County Theatre Works and their production of “Anything Goes.”
The benefit is scheduled for June 13, 7 p.m., at Studios On The Park, 1130 Pine St., Paso Robles.
Tickets are $10 per person and include entertainment, dessert and wine. Tickets are available at:   
On July 4th the Paderewski Festival event, Paso Pops, will take place at the Paso Robles Event Center. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the concert at 8 p.m. There are many exciting activities planned to celebrate Independence Day. For more general information contact Gracie Rey at 805-235-5409.
Don’t forget to get your tickets for the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival now—you won’t want to miss this fun event on June 23, at the Atascadero Lake Park, from 4-8 p.m. Visit for more information.
This popular event started 23 years ago with a small group that represented the Chamber, the City, and local businesses. Tony faro owned Village Café; Jan Bewley was a partner in Peabody Plum Real Estate; Sid Brown worked for PG&E and really knew his wine (unrelated to his work for PG&E); Hal Carden was Mayor of Atascadero; Micki Readie was Executive Director of the Chamber; and Brady Cherry worked for the City.
This small group wanted to put together some kind of an event to bring people into Atascadero to stay awhile and not just stop for gas at the Shell station on the frontage road off Hwy 101.
What do we have in Atascadero? Other communities have strawberries, fish, and vineyards. What about our Lake, the beautiful “Norman Rockwell” park, the Zoo? We are surrounded by award winning wineries. Jan Bewley brought the idea of a wine event to the Zoo Society Board to see if we’d put up some seed money for a festival in the park. The board finally voted to put up $5,000 only if proceeds went to the Zoo and other community projects that would benefit the residents of Atascadero.
This is the time I got involved with the first committee. That first year we put on a winemaker dinner on Friday night, got to the park at dawn on Saturday to set-up for our 11:00 a.m. festival opening. We were all thrilled that we netted $3,000, paid all our expenses and never had to touch the Zoo Society start-up money. As soon as we started selling tickets for the Winemaker Dinner, the money started rolling in.
The first festival hours were 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. right in the heat of the day! Fourteen years later, we got smart and changed our hours from 4-8 p.m.—a beautiful time in the park.
We also passed on the Winemaker Dinner to the Atascadero Kiwanis Club and the former Mayors group, after several years of late Friday nights and early Saturday mornings.
We had added a Golf Tournament at Chalk Mountain to the Festival and we passed that on to Jerry Tanimoto who took the chairmanship of that event for his Optimist Club.
Then a few years ago our Festival turned a corner and our little “grassroots” committee became more professional with the addition of the leadership and staffing of our Atascadero Chamber of Commerce. We always had the representation from the Chamber but now we also have the staff and their talent.
Nest week I will follow up with some of the community projects the proceeds of the Festival have helped support, and how we have helped our Zoo.
Have a great weekend.


More In Columns