Festivities begin Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m.

ATASCADERO — Mark your calendar to enjoy the City of Atascadero’s holiday events in a COVID-safe manner. On Dec. 4, Atascadero’s Downtown and Atascadero High School will be the place to drive and enjoy a COVID-safe start to the holiday season. The City, along with the Atascadero Downtown Business Improvement District and the Atascadero Unified School District, are getting ready to launch the holidays for everyone to enjoy from their vehicles’ safety and comfort.

The festivities begin on Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sunken Gardens, with the annual countdown to light up Historic City Hall at “Light up the Downtown Drive-In.” This year, “Light up the Downtown” will be drive-in style, all around Sunken Gardens. The gates will open at 5:15 p.m. to allow guests to park and get ready to enjoy wonderful holiday music from a collection of AUSD school choirs and bands that will begin at 5:30 p.m. Then at 6:15 p.m., enjoy the traditional countdown to light up Historic City Hall with the Mayor and Council members, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus making their way around Sunken Gardens on the Model-A Firetruck, wishing everyone “Happy Holidays.” Rumor has it that they will have a couple of their famous reindeer at Sunken Gardens for photo opportunities Dec. 4-6 from 12-6 p.m.

The Atascadero Downtown businesses will be decorated and open for your holiday shopping and dining. This year, businesses can join in the lighting of the Downtown, with participating storefronts competing in their first-ever Holiday Decoration Contest. The winners will be announced on the evening of Dec. 4.

After Historic City Hall’s lighting, Atascadero High School will launch its Glow, Shine, Sparkle Reverse Holiday Parade from 5:30-8 p.m. along High School Hill. Each of the school clubs and organizations will be creating a standing float. These floats will be filled with lights to light up High School Hill for families to drive through and enjoy.

In addition to the festivities this holiday season, the City will be introducing a new holiday lighting trail map, “Trail of Lights.” It will offer an opportunity for residents to showcase their holiday lights from Dec. 4-25. The deadline to enter into the “Trail of Lights” is Nov. 30. Go to www.visitatascadero.com/holidaylights to sign up. It’s free to participate.

Don’t miss the Charles Paddock Zoo’s Holiday Magic event on Saturday, Dec. 19. It will be all virtual this year and details will be available soon.

Holiday Walk Around the Lake at Atascadero Lake and

Winter Wonderland have been canceled for 2020.

For more information about all of the upcoming City and City-sponsored events in Atascadero, go to www.visitatascadero.com/events or call Terrie Banish at 805-470-3490, tbanish@atascadero.org. If you are interested in helping students with their light-filled floats, contact kerrysherer@atasusd.org. If you are a musician and would like to have a video at the “Light Up the Downtown Drive-In” ceremony, contact carriejones@atasusd.org. If you are a Downtown business and wish to participate in the Holiday Decorating Contest, contact Zoe Zappas at 805-674-6817 or zoe@zvillages.com.

Getting through this together, Atascadero