A couple of weeks ago, I relayed a bit of the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival history. This weekend will mark our 25th year of presenting that popular event. However, due to COVID-19 issues beyond our control, we found it necessary to reschedule the event for Saturday, June 26, 2021, so be ready for an even bigger celebration a year from now!

Barbie Butz e1577383874121
Barbie Butz

We have had dedicated committee members, hard-working volunteers, and dedicated wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries, during all of those 25 years. We are grateful that they helped us build one of the most popular wine and “spirits” events in this county — the only festival with a lake and a zoo!

From the beginning, we have supported Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo with generous donations. We’ve supported the meerkat exhibit, the red panda exhibit, the flamingo exhibit, and the tiger sculpture’s cleaning and makeover for its 25th birthday. We purchased a bench in the Sunken Gardens. We made donations for the Parents for Joy Playground at Colony Park, the Disaster Response Trailer with our Atascadero Fire Station, the new Lake Park Bandstand, and the Atascadero Library. Along with other community projects, we provided the clock in the Sunken Gardens in memory of Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanne Main, who was on the Wine Festival committee at the time of her passing.

The popularity of the event has allowed the committee to return more than $150,000 to the community,


To make up for not having an event this year, the committee is working on creating a special way to bring in some dollars for the Zoo, just as we have done for 25 years. When we have the event organized, I will let you know so you can participate if you’d like to.

Speaking of bringing in dollars to support a cause, Atascadero Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry reported recently that the organization had received $7,500 from The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County’s Disaster Support Fund to help increase purchases of meat and other proteins. It was also the recipient of a grant request for “Keeping the Community Fed Post-Pandemic” from CFSLOC.

Farm Credit West donated $4.000 to ALF as part of a program to support food pantries in our region. The local office in Templeton recommended the donation.

Many of our service clubs have been busy in creative ways to continue to support nonprofits in our communities. Atascadero Loaves and Fishes partnered with the Rotary Club of Atascadero in May for its first-ever drive-by-dinner night. The Rotary Club typically meets for a lunch meeting at the Lake Pavilion, but during the shelter-at-home orders, the club has been meeting via Zoom, which means it couldn’t have the meals usually catered for them by the Prancing Chef. How could they support their caterer and the community during this time?

Rotary contacted ALF, who handed out the meal vouchers to some lucky clients during regular pantry pick up. Prancing Chef prepared the meals, and Rotarians met outside the Wild Fields Brewhouse, where the ALF clients drove by at the allotted time to pick up their dinners. There were a few leftover meals donated to the Atascadero Fire Department.

Other organizations have also done some drive-by meal fundraisers. The Printery Foundation did a delicious lasagne meal for Mother’s Day and a taco meal for Father’s Day. The group is planning another meal for the 4th of July.

With changes occurring daily, we know we must be creative in order to keep our organizations moving forward. Please offer your support where you can. Our nonprofits need you.

Take care and stay well.