Atascadero’s Woman’s Republic tours were also given during the celebrations

ATASCADERO — Atascadero celebrated International Women’s Day with a bang this year. On Friday, March 8, from 5 to 8 p.m., residents headed out to City Hall and Sunken Gardens to learn more about Atascadero’s Women’s Republic with tours of City Hall given by the Atascadero Historical Society and a beautiful firework display.

“This night came together because of this entire community,” said Michelle Barrera, founder of At Her Table. “We got approval probably less than three weeks ago, and thank you to Visit Atascadero, the Atascadero Historical Society, and this amazing community for coming out and showing up.” 

The event was brought to the community in a partnership between At Her Table, an annual festival celebrating women all over the Central Coast, Visit Atascadero, and the City of Atascadero. 


The Sunken Gardens filled up completely with people as the evening got closer to 7 p.m., which is when the fireworks were scheduled to go off.

“As we all know, fireworks can cause a fire, and without a fire engine around, it gets a little dangerous. So, ladies and gentlemen, we have to wait just a little bit — a couple of minutes. Our fire engines, our local fire engines, are out doing their jobs right at the moment. So let’s give our fire department a great big round of applause for going out and doing their job keeping Atascadero safe,” said emcee Pete Ruiz from A Class Act Entertainment.

About 10 minutes later, Ruiz informed the crowd that fireworks were about to light up the night sky behind City Hall. The firework display, which was one of two in California, was full of feminine colors and kicked off to Katy Perry’s hit single, ‘Firework.’

“So, we did extensive research. We couldn’t find it being done on the Central Coast, we couldn’t find it done in California, and we didn’t find it at a national level, other than Disneyland,” said Barrera of Atascadero’s firework show for International Woman’s Day.

Prior to the fireworks, there was live music by Hot Tina starting at 5 p.m. and Ruiz on the turntables beginning around 6 p.m. There was also a small smattering of booths featuring local resources for women in the area. And the Women’s Republic tours were conducted the whole three hours of the event.

“At Her Table came together amazing. So, every year, we’ve done the street festival, and this was an opportunity where I had asked Michelle [Barrera] can we work a little closer together to do another event during the week-long celebration with all of the women’s businesses,” said Atascadero’s Director of Community Services & Promotions, Terrie Banish. “She [Barrera] was able to bring another event back here, which is great for our downtown. Great for our businesses. Anytime we can promote our city and then have this opportunity to do something that will hit internationally and get that kind of coverage is always kind of fun to do.”

The At Her Table Street Festival returned to Atascadero two days later, on Sunday, March 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year, the street fair had over 40 vendors with booths featuring products and services from women-owned businesses. It also highlighted the women-owned businesses on Entrada Avenue, where the fest took place. 

“It’s great to bring it [At Her Table] back to Atascadero because this is where the Woman’s Republic was born,” said Barrera. “Atascadero’s the first place a woman could own land before the right to vote, and she could be unmarried.”

Keep your eye on the At Her Table website for updates on next year’s schedule at


Photo: A fireworks display punctuated the International Women’s Day celebration March 8 in Atascadero. Photo by Rick Evans.