Quota of Atascadero hosts tea party in honor of Colony Days Royalty

ATASCADERO — On Sunday, Sept. 26, at 2 p.m., the 43rd Annual Colony Days Reception was presented by Quota of Atascadero. This is the first official event of Colony Days, the week-long series of events celebrating the founding of the Colony of Atascadero.

The invitation-only event took place at Atascadero Bible Church (ABC) Fellowship Hall on Atascadero Ave., which is reportedly the second oldest building in Atascadero. The event was attended by men and women age 55 years and older who have lived in Atascadero for at least 40 years or attended Atascadero schools and lived in San Luis Obispo County for 40 years.

Dyann Shepard, the event’s chairperson, welcomed the audience and thanked Judy Bloom for arranging the flowers, Vons Grocery Store for donating over $200 worth of flowers to the event, and ABC Church for setting up all of the tables and chairs and for opening their Fellowship Hall for the event. She also recognized Mayor Heather Moreno, as well as Mayor Pro Tem Heather Newsom, Council Member Charles Bourbeau, and Council Member Susan Funk, who were all in attendance.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Deena Pangborn then recognized and thanked all past members of Royalty and Grand Marshals.

The Dexter Family COVID Consort entertained the crowd by performing a brief and lively set of classical musical pieces, during which attendees enjoyed their tea and snacked on sandwiches and cookies.

After the music came the highlight of the evening—the sharing of memories and stories of growing up in Atascadero.

Dave May shared his tale of moving to Atascadero and experiencing an eventful first 24 hours in town, including hearing a lion roar, his then-girlfriend leaving town out of fear for the lion, searching for the lion, and discovering the Charles Paddock Zoo, a flooded baseball field, and a near fistfight.

Many of the residents shared memories of being baptized and married in the very building. One resident recalled a Christmas presentation he had taken part in as a three-year-old.

Rex Hendrix recalled having built at least a couple hundred of the houses currently standing in Atascadero, while Matt Sprock recalled working on the fountain which had been damaged and presenting it back to the City at Colony Days 25th Anniversary.

Diane Gouff shared memories of riding horses around town with friends, visiting Charles Paddock’s rescued animals which would later evolve into the Charles Paddock Zoo, and was unable to fight back the tears as she shared that her husband had died this year, making it difficult for her to come to the event, though she said that she was very glad she did.

After everyone had a chance to share their fond memories, the new Queen Charlotte Byrne was crowned by outgoing Queen Bonne Scott. Outgoing King Jack Scott pinned the new King Mike Byrne, and outgoing Grand Marshal Flora Adams pinned the new Grand Marshal Joan RexRoth.

Kent Kenny then thanked and recognized the ladies of Quota of Atascadero for hosting the event, and recognized Atascadero’s Citizen of the Year, Brenda May.

Longtime residents visited, sipped on tea, and immersed themselves in nostalgic conversations with old friends.

Many of the attendees remarked on how nice it was to have the event back again after having had to cancel in 2020 in response to COVID-19.

“It was really hard,” said chairperson Dyann Shepard. “I mean, people were so sad because this has been a tradition for 43 years, so I literally got calls the night before the tea asking, ‘are you going to have it?’ and I had to say ‘no, we can’t,’ so for us, just to see the excitement on people’s faces when we get together is wonderful. A lot of people don’t see each other except for this event, so it’s a really big deal to them. In fact, we used to have a man who drove every year from Kentucky. He grew up in Atascadero, moved to Kentucky, and every year he would come. I remember one year, he called me and said, ‘I can’t make the trip,’ and I was so sad.”

Shepard has been working on this event for somewhere between 15-20 years.

“I love doing it,” said Shepard. “It’s my favorite thing to do in Quota.”

Colony Days continues throughout the week with the following schedule of events:

  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Colony Days Mixer, location TBA
  • Saturday, Oct. 2: Colony Days Parade and Festival ​

      ​Schedule of events for Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021

  • 7 to 9 a.m.: Lions Club Pancake breakfast
  • 10 a.m.: Colony Days Parade Sign up to be in the Parade!
  • After parade to 3 p.m.: There will be a variety of vendors, entertainment and food in and around the Sunken Gardens
  • 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.: Sign ups open for Colony Days Dog Races
  • 12 p.m.: Wiener dog and small dog races (registration form) Dog costume contest after Dog Races (any size dog -free)
  • 12:30 p.m.: Colony Days Parade awards
  • 2 p.m.: Musical Performance