The winter fun was back for its 20th year

ATASCADERO — Winter Wonderland was back for its 20th year on Friday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 9 p.m. The snowy, fun-filled night took place in Sunken Gardens with City Hall lit up in the background, which made everything feel extra festive. There was something fun for everyone who snowed up, with 70 vendors, bounce houses, obstacle courses, bungee jumping, Joe’s Little Train, and more entertainment. In fact, Winter Wonderland had its strongest turnout since the pandemic, and you could feel the excitement in the air.

“The entire community seemed to be in attendance this year,” said Atascadero Director of Community Services and Promotions Terrie Banish.

Photos by Rick Evans


This year, like years prior, Atascadero hauled in 70 tons of snow, creating a ginormous slide as well as two snow piles for different age groups to play in.

“The snow slide takes up most of the snow – about 50 tons and 20 tons are used for the snow piles,” Banish added. “Atascadero Kiwanis, Atascadero Hay & Feed, and Cuesta Springs Ice Company start putting the slide together at 10 a.m. It takes about 5-6 hours to build the slide, which includes delivery and set up of the hay bales, to blowing of the snow, to creating slide runs. All of which have to be maintained throughout the evening. The snow piles are created once the snow slide is done, and all is ready by 5 p.m. Santa is always the true test to the snow slide run.”

Santa, Mrs. Claus, and his elves arrived in style, escorted by the Atascadero Police Department in their ’55 Chevy. Children from all over the county were able to tell Santa what was on their Christmas lists after his slide down the snow hill. 

“I really enjoyed the snow activities! I’ve been a California kid all of my life, and I know that we miss out on snow each winter, but to be able to get real snow in our own backyard was such an incredible thing our community got to enjoy,” said 2023 California Mid-State Fair Princess Natalie Boyd. “I didn’t see one frown the whole night. Everyone was having an amazing time there, and you could both see and feel it. Winter Wonderland was such a great thing to experience with the whole town.”

In addition to all the holiday fun, ATown Park hosted a scooter demonstration as part of the festivities. They showed off some of their scooter champs and had the crowd cheering them on. 

Photos by Rick Evans

“The whole atmosphere was so joyful with kids having a snowball fight and the choir singing Christmas carols in front of the Rotunda,” said Kerrigan Jensen, 2023’s Miss California Mid-State Fair. “My favorite part of the night was seeing all the excited boys and girls playing in the snow, waiting to see Santa, and families having a fun time.”

Colony Cinemas also got in on the holiday fun and gave out one free movie ticket per family. The whole community was in on bringing joy to Atascadero and the surrounding area.

“It was our first year attending Winter Wonderland, and it was amazing seeing our community come together to celebrate the season,” said Megan Meisenheimer of Atascadero. “Our kids loved the snow piles, and my 3-year-old got a kick out of seeing Santa sledding down the hill. We loved being able to celebrate the holiday season.” 

Winter Wonderland will be back for its 21st year on Friday, Dec. 13, 2024, from 5 to 9 p.m. See you on the slopes then.

Feature Image courtesy of City of Atascadero