The Atascadero Fall Festival was back for its third year

ATASCADERO — As the saying goes, a little rain never hurt anybody, and attendees of Atascadero’s Third Annual Fall Festival agreed. The rain or shine festival rolled into the Sunken Gardens on Friday, Nov. 17; Saturday, Nov. 18; and Sunday, Nov. 19, giving festivalgoers a beautiful view of City Hall while enjoying live music, food, vendors, and fair rides.

“After a rainy start yesterday, today seems to have a great crowd. Everyone’s in a festive spirit. People are buying, they’re eating food, and they’re listening to great music. It’s a great day in Atascadero,” said Atascadero Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Josh Cross on the last day of the fest.

Just like years prior, the free-to-the-public festival was put on by En Fuego Events while being presented by Visit Atascadero and the City of Atascadero. The fest not only brought out people from Atascadero and the North County, but people traveled from all over the area to experience the fun.

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With even more carnival rides and games, the third annual Fall Festival was back. Photo by Rick Evans.

“People [came] from all over, Fresno, Bakersfield, Pismo, Santa Maria. They called En Fuego Events saying, ‘Do you have this Ferris wheel? Do you have Dippin’ Dots? Are you doing this?’ It’s very well known now, and people come from all over to come to our little Atascadero Fall Fest,” said Julie Matthews, director of membership at the Chamber. “The Ferris wheel, the merry-go-round, there always a hit. A lot of great rides; it’s very family-friendly.”

Not only did this year’s fest give us a different layout, it also gave us more of everything. From rides to food. The festival fun leaked out onto the streets surrounding Sunken Gardens and had something for everyone to enjoy.

Kyla Skinner, owner of Specs by Kyla, said that she and her family have been to the Fall Festival every year and that she always looks forward to riding the swings. Her daughter Tessa also mentioned that her favorite thing is the Ferris wheel.

“I think it’s so cool to bring this energy to our downtown and the City Hall in the background with the Ferris wheel. It’s just so picturesque and fun,” added Skinner.

For music lovers, the festival also packed a punch with two stages full of over 30 bands from all over. Headliners this year were Brash Mash, Molly Ringwald Project, and Josue Hernandez y Grupo Despegue.

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Fall Festival attendees enjoy a ride on the swings. Photo by Rick Evans.

Saturday, Nov. 18, also saw the return of Suds at Sunken Gardens from noon to 3 p.m. It’s a 21-and-over event where attendees pay $35 to taste adult beverages from craft breweries and wineries, and even though the rain didn’t let up until about 2 p.m., it didn’t get in the way either. 

“We were actually amazed because there were people that showed up at twelve,” said En Fuego Events Event Organizer and Owner Andres Nuno. “What we did was we actually decided to extend the hours because we just wanted guests who purchased tickets, who were going to come a little later; we actually went from 1 to 4:30 [p.m.].” 

He also commented on how many people wanted to start their tastings at noon, even with the rain.

“This being the third year that it’s [Fall Fest] happened, I think it’s really brought out the families in town,” Cross stated. “Which is just wonderful to see that happening, because we feel like we’re a family town in Atascadero. So, it’s great to have events that are catered just to families.” 

The Fourth Annual Fall Festival will make its return to the Sunken Gardens on Nov. 15, 16, and 17, 2024. To keep yourself updated, go to:

Feature Image: Fall Festival attendees enjoy live music on one of two stages in Sunken Gardens. Photo by Rick Evans.