PASO ROBLES — As part of the overarching story created by the Paso Robles Downtown Mainstreet Association, the Victorian Teddy Bear is the last chance for local children to see Santa and Mrs. Claus before they head back up to the North Pole to get ready for the big day.
“This is the last one,” said Norma Moye, president of the DMA, with a huge sigh of relief in regards to the schedule of events. “Did you know there were over 30,000 people at Vine Street?” And we’re pretty sure there were at least 3,000 people at the lighting ceremony! It’s been fantastic!”
This “Paso Robles Christmas Story,” an annual promotional effort and community outreach by the downtown area businesses and residents, is entirely organized by the DMA. For decades, the program has included “Elegant Evening” in November then the Christmas lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving, followed by the Christmas Light Parade the following week and then then Vine Street Victorian Showcase, which happened last weekend.
Unlike all of the other events, which are free and open to the public, the Teddy Bear Tea is the only ticketed event during the program and is a long-standing and cherished tradition hosted just for the little ones. Besides Santa, Mrs. Claus and a few of his elves there was the Snow King, the Snow Queen and even Else and Anna from “Frozen.”
Barbara Ortiz, who graduated from Paso Robles High School in 1954 and now resides in San Jose, was there with her daughter and granddaughter and clearly remembers bringing her daughter to the event when she was little.
“We come every year and drive for hours to get here,” she said. “We’re looking forward to bringing her (granddaughter’s) 2-year-old sister next year.”
When one young girl who boasted her 8th year in a row was asked if she thought this would be her last she reluctantly shrugged and said, “I don’t know, maybe,” and then she hugged her teddy bear just a little bit tighter as she took another sip from her teacup.