2023 Royalty and Grand Marshal Honored

ATASCADERO — Colony Days festivities are officially underway. For the last 45 years, the Colony Days Tea, put on by Quota of Atascadero, has been the official start to all the Colony Days fun. The tea took place on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m., at Atascadero Bible Church. The invite-only crowd, comprised of 55 and older residents who have lived in Atascadero for over 40 years, celebrated the last 50 years of Colony Days in Atascadero and honored this year’s incoming Royalty and Grand Marshal. Donn and Christine Clickard have taken on the roles of King and Queen, while Robert “Grigger” Jones is Grand Marshal.

At the event’s start, Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno, Mayor Pro Tem Susan Funk, and Councilmember Charles Bourbeau honored Colony Days founder Maggie Rice Vandergon with a beautiful certificate. Colony Days Chair Karen McNamara received the certificate in lieu of Maggie.

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2023 Grand Marshal Grigger Jones (left) gets pinned by 2022 Grand Marshal Ann Little at Quota of Atascadero Colony Days Tea. Photo by Rick Evans.

“We proudly salute Maggie Rice Vanergon as dedicated member of our community on the momentous occasion of Atascadero Colony Day’s 50th Anniversary. A planned community steeped in history, Atascadero has been enriched by Maggie’s visionary spirit. Half a century ago, she recognized that an annual civic celebration had the potential to bring our community together,” stated Funk. “Maggie’s unwavering involvement with the Atascadero Colony Day’s Committee since its inception has been instrumental. Her pivotal role in establishing the beloved parade, a cherished tradition celebrated in our community, remains a testament to her enduring commitment. As Atascadero Colony Days marks its 50th Anniversary, the Atascadero City Council members recognize Maggie Rice Vandergon for her lasting dedication and honor her on this Oct. 1, 2023, as a true monument of our shared heritage.”


The crowd was entertained by local musician Lance Robison, who played classic cover songs, including jams by the likes of Neil Diamond. The gorgeous flowers that filled the room were provided courtesy of Vons and Jodie Bloom. Atascadero Bible Church also donated its Fellowship Hall for the Quota Club to host the event in like in years past.

During a light meal, residents participated in one of the highlights of the tea and told stories about the Clickards and Jones, as well as other tales about what it’s been like to live in Atascadero for so long. 

Many people had stories about Donn Clickard and his decades working at Atascadero High School. From colleges to former students, people had a lot to say. Jerry Tanimoto told a story about one time when he took a group of kids to Europe while teaching at AHS.

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(From left) Mayor Pro Tem Susan Funk, Mayor Heather Moreno, Colony Days Co-Chair Karen McNamara, and Councilmember Charles Bourbeau pose with a certificate honoring Colony Days Founder Maggie Rice Vandergon. Photo by Rick Evans.

“I didn’t know that same year that Donn was taking a trip to Europe also,” Tanimoto said. “We were in Rome, and we were in the Catacombs, and it was pitch black. We were watching a video of the Catacombs, and this guy walks in, and he’s speaking English. 

“In walks Donn Clickard. And they didn’t know I was in there because it was black, and they’d come in from outside, they couldn’t see. Right next to me was Dave McNamara. He was sitting next to me, and I said, ‘Dave, watch this.’ I put my hands up like this and said, ‘Donn Clickard.’ He couldn’t see and probably thought I was God talking to him.” 

Tanimoto said after that, they were all asked to leave the Catacombs.

One resident told a story about Grigger Jones when he still had his law practice before retiring. 

“One day, my neighbor came down, and her husband had died,” the resident said. “Her husband had a daughter that she didn’t really know very well, but she wanted some advice, so she wanted to know if I knew anybody. I said I know Grigger Jones. I said, he’ll tell you the right thing. 

“So, we went down there, and as we got in there, she started going on her whole life story. I kept thinking, you better get going. This is costing you money every time you keep talking longer and longer. The issue was she wanted to know if she could have part of her husband’s ashes. Grigger said, just take some ashes out of the fireplace and give them to her.”

The festivities continued when this year’s Colony Days Royalty and Grand Marshal were crowned and pinned by last year’s recipients. 2022 King Dan Phillips pinned Donn Clickard as 2023 King, followed by Phillips’ wife Ramona passing her crown off to Christine Clickard. And 2022 Grand Marshal Ann Little pinned Jones as Colony Day’s newest Grand Marshal.

Colony Days festivities continued with the Colony Days Royalty Mixer on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the BridgeWorks building at the Atascadero Chamber. At the event, which was open to the public, the Clickards and Jones were given plaques. On Saturday, Oct. 7, they will lead the parade. 

Schedule of events for Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023

  • 9 a.m.: Pancake breakfast in the Huckleberry’s Parking Lot
  • 10 a.m.: Colony Days Parade
  • 10:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Signups open for Colony Days Dog Races
  • 11:30 a.m. : Sign ups open for Colony Days Dog Costume Contest
  • 12:00 p.m.: Dog costume contest (any size dog -free)
  • 12:30 p.m.: Wiener dog and small dog races (registration form)
  • 1:00 p.m.: Colony Days Parade awards
  • 1:30 p.m.: Musical Performance by the Atascadero Community Band

Feature Image: Queen Christine Clickard (second from right) gets crowned by 2022 Queen Ramona Phillips as 2022 King Dan Phillips (left) and 2023 King Donn Clickard (second from left) look on during the Quota of Atascadero Colony Days Tea. Photo by Rick Evans.