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Celebrate Community at Atascadero Colony Days
 Parade, vendors, music, food, and more at the 50th annual event on October 7
Featuring a parade, vendors, dog races, music, and more, the 2023 Atascadero Colony Days celebration on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. With a theme of “Celebrating Community Always” the 50th an- niversary of the festival is a special time for committee members and the community of Atascadero as a whole.
“We are all neighbors – businesses, patrons, services, schools
– and this is
a day to sit back and watch the kids, the sports teams,
and take
in all that
makes us a
said Karen McNa-
mara, chairperson of
the Atascadero Colony Days Committee, a 501(c)3 non-profit.
The Atascadero Colony Days Committee is dedicated to ensuring a safe and fun celebration of the community of Atascadero for the entire family. Dianne Greenaway serves as vice-chair, and secretary, and coordinates Tent City, while Liz Enrique-Phillips is chair of the parade and oversees social media and marketing.
50 years and counting
The annual event was first introduced to the Atascadero com- munity back in 1973 by Maggie Vandergon. Since then, the celebra- tion has grown to include a parade featuring bands from local high
schools, classic cars and farm
equip- ment, Tent
City, wiener dog races,
robotics, toy train rides, ven- dors from across the county, and the Atascadero
Community Band.
“Maggie has always said she
started this as a way to bring our community together,” McNamara said. “That’s still our focus now, and that’s how we came up with our 50th-anniversary theme. It’s
all about bringing people together and celebrating all of the wonder- ful things about our community... always! We have to support one an- other, and this is a way to remem- ber what ties us all together.”
Honoring the past
The Colony Days royalty will be announced at the Quota Club Tea on Sunday, Oct. 1 and then the king, queen, and grand marshal
will be introduced to the public
at the Colony Days Mixer, taking place at BridgeWorks. The time of both events is to be announced; see for up-to-date information.
Tent City, an elaborate re- creation and re-enactment of Atascadero back in 1916, pays tributes to residents that lived in tents while waiting for their homes to be built. Volunteer crews will spend Thursday setting it up, and local third-graders are invited to tour the space on Friday. Hands-on activities include pressing apples for juice, washing clothes on a washboard, and visiting The Print- ery to learn about setting type at a printing press.
“It’s an important part of our history, when people came here, lived in tents, and worked to build this community,” McNamara said. “Most of the very earliest houses were not built until 1915 through around 1920. In the meantime, people were living in these amazing tents with electricity, a dining facil- ity, and unique features. We set up the tents now to show what it was
like back then, and it’s really fasci- nating, especially for the children.”
Fun for all ages
Bring the entire family to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Atascadero Colony Days. With activities for all ages, this annual event is not to be missed.
“It’s the best way to learn about the entire community of Atas- cadero,” McNamara said. “You will see all of the community services options, non-profit organizations, schools, businesses, and ways to connect and become involved. There’s so much history here, and we want everyone to not only remember that history but also be part of the future of this wonderful city. Plus, you are always sure to see someone you know during the pa- rade and festival, and it’s just really a lot of fun for the entire family.”
For up-to-date information on Atascadero Colony Days, including schedule and vendors, visit colony- Follow on Facebook and Instagram at Colony Days.
—By Meagan Friberg
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