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

Wow! It is so exciting to receive your press releases again now that things seem to be getting back to normal. Nonprofits are planning events, folks are “gathering” and sharing their lives, and I’ve even received some hugs from family members and friends!

Special congratulations to Paso Robles resident, and a good friend of mine, Bill Pluma, for being named Senior of the Year by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens. I had the pleasure of working with Bill for years when he was the chairman of Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles. As chairman of Coats for Kids, I sat on the committee to help plan the distributions of toys and coats and jackets each December in Paso Robles.

Toy Bank is not Bill’s only activity; he’s a member of the Optimist Club of Paso Robles and has been involved with the Salvation Army for years. The honor and recognition is deserved. Way to go, Bill!

Have you missed our Atascadero Community Band Concerts? Well, guess what, you can join the Band for a “Fall Concert Sneak Preview” on Jun. 15, followed by an exciting “Night at the Movies” concert on Jun. 22 at the Atascadero United Methodist Church, 11605 El Camino Real, Atascadero.

These are outdoor concerts, so bring your own chairs and snacks (no alcohol, please) and socially distance in the designated parking area at the church.

The Band is also announcing that their weekly Atascadero Lake Park Concerts are returning and are scheduled for every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. from Jun. 29 through Aug. 31 at the Lake Park Bandstand.

Again, bring your chairs and jackets since it tends to cool down in the evening.

For more Band or concert information, visit atascaderoband.org or contact them at atascaderoband@hotmail.com.

This year, the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Committee and the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce are launching a passport program that will kick off on Saturday, Jun. 26. The passport will allow the holder to experience complimentary tastings by visiting 12+ wineries, six breweries, and one distillery anytime between Jun. 26 and Dec. 31. 

Passport holders will also receive complimentary corkage fees at participating restaurants and discounts on local hotel stays. As is the tradition of the festival, a portion of the proceeds will help support Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo.

Here’s how it works. Purchase your passport from the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce by visiting WinePassport.givesmart.com. Pick up the passport at the Atascadero Chamber office or have it mailed to you. 

Make a tasting reservation at one or more participating wineries. (Not required at breweries or distilleries.) Visit the winery/brewery/distillery and show your passport. Collect a unique stamp, hole punch, or notation at each location you visit. Enjoy a complimentary tasting experience. Submit your completed passport to the Atascadero Chamber for a 25 percent discount coupon good for 2022’s “in-person” Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival!

A kick-off event will take place at the Atascadero Lake Park with a band, games, wine pull, raffle, and Passport sales. I will have more details soon. For more updates, visit atascaderochamber.org.

Enjoy the weekend and the warm weather. Recipe in next week’s column!

Cheers!