The whole community pitched in, and the hometown holiday spirit was contagious

SANTA MARGARITA — Locals headed out to Santa Margarita to experience some holiday cheer over the weekend. The fun started off on Saturday, Dec. 4, with the 18th Annual Holiday Craft Faire. The faire was held at the Santa Margarita Community Hall and was put on by the Friends of the Santa Margarita Library. A portion of the proceeds went to the organization.

“We raise money to hold programs for children and adults in the community, and we have a [book] collection. We support the collection and hold programs, and also [use the money for] some facility improvements,” said Sheila Wynne, president of Friends of the Santa Margarita Library. “We work alongside the library.”

The faire was busy, with plenty of crafters selling items ranging from handmade cards and jewelry to body products made with sea kelp. There was something for everyone, even books, as the library’s bookshop was open for browsing too.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

“This year, I would say that half of the crafters are new crafters. People that we haven’t had before,” said Pam McPherson, who is currently on the Friends’ board.

The holiday fun didn’t stop there. Santa Margarita Community Park was filled to the brim on Sunday, Dec. 5, with locals for the 11th annual Santa Margarita Tree Lighting. The Santa Margarita Community Church puts on the tree lighting every year, but the whole community pitched in, and the hometown holiday spirit was contagious.

“This is the 11th year, 10th year for this tree. The first year we brought in a tree, and it rained 10 inches, and the tree fell over. It was the best way to start,” joked the Pastor of Santa Margarita Community Church, Robert Campbell. “You can’t beat this [tree]. Once it’s lit, you can see it from one end of town to the other.”

Cookies and hot chocolate were available for all the attendees. And The Lion’s Club provided warm soup, while The Porch Café brought the coffee. Mini flashlights and songbooks were also handed out so that the entire audience could sing along with the small band performing Christmas Carols under the tree leading up to, and following, the tree lighting.

“Whit’s-Turn Tree Care donates decorating that tree. It’s a California Redwood. It is spectacular. [At] the lighting, everybody ‘oos and awws’ over it, because the [decorations] follow the contours of the tree. And we, of course, have a Christmas star at the top,” said Sue Andros, a church volunteer.

The Santa Margarita Fire Department joined in the fun and took Santa around town while people waited for it to get dark. But the standout of the night was the Tree Lighting itself. There was an electricity in the air as everyone in the park counted down from 10, and the tree was illuminated.

The evening concluded with a group of carollers heading out to sing to Santa Margarita’s oldest members in the community and World War II veterans, Harold Lowe (102) and Henry Barba (108)!