Gala raises funds to support the Pioneer Day nonprofit’s associated costs for parade and events
by Becca Sligh
Paso Robles Press Contributor
PASO ROBLES — The Pioneer Day Kick Off Party was held on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Estrella Warbirds Museum. In attendance were the Pioneer Day Royalty: Grand Marshal Don Campbell, Queen Margaret Avila and Belle Kayla Degnan.
About 300 people showed up to show their support for the Paso Robles Pioneer Day nonprofit. In addition to attendees, there were over 30 people from Pioneer Day — board members, bartenders, and caterers — who helped make the whole evening possible. Dinner was catered by Brush Family BBQ, and volunteers helped tend the No-Host wine, beer, and cocktail bar.
The Pioneer Day Kick Off Party has been a long-standing tradition to not only get people excited about the Pioneer Day Parade held every October, but to raise funds that go towards the Paso Robles Pioneer Day nonprofit.
“This is one of our main fundraisers to help put the parade on and also to help with the maintenance and upkeep of the tractors the the Pioneer Day Organization owns,” said Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee member Tara Tedeschi.
Tedeschi said there’s a lot of back end costs to put on the parade from the security staffing to administrative costs associated with a parade of this caliber. Some community members in attendance commented on the upcoming Pioneer Day Parade.
“I’ve been going to Pioneer Day for my whole life,” said Erin Wicks-Sligh of Paso Robles. “My mom was a Pioneer Day Belle, as was I my senior year of high school, so it’s just always something I’ve been involved in.”
Wicks-Sligh also mentions her husband is on the Tractor Committee, which is made up of volunteers who work to maintain and restore anything to do with the old tractors shown in the parade. Some tractors shown in the parade are over 100 years old, which includes a tractor from the Patterson Family that’s never missed a Pioneer Day Parade.
As well as admission into the event, which is open to the public, guests of the Pioneer Day Kick Off Party can expect a live auction and a dessert silent auction, which is one of the main staples of the fundraiser.
“It’s only been a couple years that we’ve switched it up,” Tedeschi says regarding the dessert auction. “It’s always been a silent auction until one of our board members saw a dessert auction at another event and it’s been a really fun addition to the evening.”
Tedeschi also mentions that people will mainly make their own desserts to donate to the silent auction. The dessert auction closes after dinner, so the desserts are passed out to the winner and enjoyed at the event. One dessert that was incredibly popular was Queen Margaret Avila’s famous sponge cake.
Other auction items donated to the live auction included trips such as a week at a vacation home in McCall, Idaho, donated by Paso Robles Mayor John Hamon, and services such as eight hours of tree trimming provided by 4th Generation Tree. The evening concluded with a live DJ and dancing.
The Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Downtown Paso Robles.
Feature Image: Paso Robles Pioneer Day Queen Margaret Avila (center) is shown with granddaughters Alicia (left) and Crystal Avila at the Pioneer Day Kick Off Party. Photo by Becca Sligh