by Barbie Butz

Experience the year’s biggest event in Templeton on Monday, July 4! Start your day at the Templeton Fire Department’s Pancake Breakfast. Purchase tickets that day at the Fire Department. Breakfast is served from 7 to 10 a.m.

Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com.

After consuming great pancakes, find seats on the curb along Crocker or Main Street from 1st to 8th streets for a hometown parade presented by the Rotary Club of Templeton.

Following the parade, join friends and family in the Templeton Park for live music by the Joy Bonner Band, along with great food purveyors, including Templeton Rotary’s famous hot dogs. There will be nonprofit organizations and others providing activities for the family, including a bounce house, the Lions Club Live Auction, cold beer, and much more until 3 p.m. Folding chairs, shade awnings, and picnic blankets are recommended. Please leave dogs safe at home, and please, no fireworks. Remember to wear your red, white, and blue attire to be in the spirit of the day.

I hope many of you were able to attend the celebration of our 25th Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival last Saturday. The weather cooperated, the trees in our beautiful park offered their shade, and those businesses offering tastings of their local products such as wine, beer, cider, and distilled spirits, along with artists and other vendors, all added to the ambiance of the event.

As a member of the original committee that planned the festival 27 years ago (I’m including the two years of not being able to put on the event due to COVID restrictions), I was thrilled to be part of Saturday’s celebration.

The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce and the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Committee joined forces in order to expand the event. It was a good move, and I personally thank Josh Cross, President and CEO of the Chamber, and his staff for taking on the task. This year the committee members included Dawn Smith, Gail Kudlac, Rosey Parks, Gina Lutz, Carol Porter, Josh Cross, Julie Mathews, Terrie Banish, Mark Dariz, and Fintan. I can’t thank them enough for the hours they put in to make the event successful. Of course, we had a fantastic team of volunteers who put in the time before, during, and after the event, and we could not have done it without their help.

The goal of the first committee 27 years ago was to put Atascadero on the map with a wine festival that would bring people to our community to see that we are more than a “bedroom community.” I feel that we reached our goal by having over 1,000 attendees enjoying a beautiful evening in Atascadero in our “Norman Rockwell” park, by our sparkling lake, strolling through our Zoo, and tasting some of the best wines, brews, and spirits in the country.

This week’s recipes are in the “spirit” of the festival. Fellow festival volunteer Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno and I took a break and visited Willow Creek Distillery for a tasting of some of their hand-crafted spirits. As an extension of the popular Opolo Vineyards (I love Opolo’s “Sparkling”), Willow Creek offers award-winning Brandy, Whiskey, and Liqueurs. Heather tried their thick Mint Chocolate Liqueur while I tasted the Apricot Brandy. We came away with these two recipes.

Willow Creek Haystack

Ingredients:

1 oz. Apricot Brandy

1oz. Malt ‘n Oats Straight Whiskey

3⁄4 oz. Amaro

1⁄2 oz. fresh Lemon Juice

Directions:

Shake with ice and strain. Garnish with dried apricot.

Willow Creek Chocolate Martini

Ingredients:

2 oz. thick Mint Chocolate Liqueur

1 oz. Irish Cream liqueur

1.5 oz. vanilla vodka

Directions:

Drizzle chocolate syrup into glass. Shake with ice and strain. Garnish with mint leaf and chocolate shavings.

Cheers!