Hometown Celebration Features Virtual Concert, Reverse Parade, Window Displays, and Local Food and Boutique Shopping

ATASCADERO — The 47th Annual Atascadero Colony Days, a hometown celebration, is still happening Thursday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 4. The multiple-day event showcases Atascadero’s community and is hosted each year by a committee of local volunteers. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers had to come up with creative ways to celebrate safely together. After many months of uncertainty for all, the committee wanted to hold an upbeat event, something enjoyable for the community. 

In doing so, the committee is hoping to create a more cohesive environment, strengthen local businesses, and be a stronger, positive and unified community. For the first time, they are promoting a sub-theme, “We are Atascadero,” in addition to the original theme, “Look how Far We Have Come, 100 years of Women’s Rights, Arts and Literacy,” celebrating 100 years of the right to vote for women, 100 years of the Atascadero Library and 100 years of art in Atascadero.

“Those who started Colony Days designed the annual event to bring everyone together to celebrate being a community,” said Karen McNamara, Committee Chair. “My focus is to continue that purpose, hosting a celebration of who we are, together. We are not perfect, nor were those who came before us. Setting aside this time, we have a chance to see our strengths and open discussion and craft plans to make a better community for the future”.  

The event will feature Atascadero’s businesses, families, and non-profit organizations, showcasing each in different ways. Anyone who desires to enter the “reverse parade” on Saturday, Oct. 3, will have a space to set a “float” or display along East Mall or Palma Avenues. To see the parade, viewers will walk or drive slowly by, in designated lanes of the closed streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entries for the reverse parade have started already, and the deadline is Monday, Sept. 14. Non-profits who enter will have a chance to have a flyer distributed during the barbecue fundraiser, also set to happen on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The barbecue fundraiser, put on by the Colony Days Committee, will be headquartered in a historic-style tent and delivered by members of the Tent City Re-Creation dressed in period clothing. They will also be wearing masks while distributing a barbecue meal for a family of four. The tent will be in front of the Atascadero Printery, located at 6351 Olmeda Ave. Tickets are $50 for tri-tip and $40 for chicken. Meals include beans, salad, bread, and dessert.

The committee has provided ways for the community to get involved. One is a virtual parade, where members of the community can submit a 7- to 10-second clip of themselves participating in the parade. Clips are due by Sept. 28, and can be submitted to parade@colonydays.org. These clips will be compiled into the virtual parade that will be streamed on Saturday, Oct. 3. The second way involves people creating a sign to display at their home or business in the “We Are Atascadero” theme. Use the hashtag #WeAreAtascadero on Facebook and Instagram to enter the contest. 

Tent City After Dark concert is going virtual on Friday, Oct. 2, and the package will include drink tickets from a local business to enjoy at home with the concert. Stay tuned on Colony Days’ Facebook and Instagram for the announcement of the band. Tickets are $20 presale and $30 with a drink package. Tickets are available for purchase on ColonyDays.org.  

The committee has brought back the Business Window Painting Contest. Local businesses can partner up with Atascadero High School seniors or recent grads to paint a positive message for the community using the hashtag #WeAreAtascadero. Window paintings will be judged on Tuesday, Sept. 29 and the winner will receive a certificate with “Best Window Display,” and the young artist will receive a cash prize. 

Businesses will also have a chance to partner with the Colony Days Committee and offer specials for customers during Colony Days to help members of the community get a deal while strengthening the local economy. Businesses are encouraged to develop a Colony Days theme promotion from Thursday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 4. A small percentage of sales will be donated to Atascadero Colony Days to keep the annual community event going for years to come.

“Just like the women of 100 years ago, our community is overcoming an adverse situation. We hope everyone will join in many of the easy to participate options to celebrate safely,” McNamara said. “I can’t wait to see lots of video clips, signs, and painted windows everywhere, people safely viewing the parade, enjoying the concert, and get to see many in person who drive up to get their barbecue meal. 2020 will be memorable for something great in our community!”

For more information on the event and how to participate or to become a sponsor, contact McNamara at info@ColonyDays.org. For information on the virtual and reverse parade, contact parade@ColonyDays.org

Forms will be available online at ColonyDays.org and at the Hope Chest Emporium and the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce by Tuesday, Sept. 1.  

Getting through this together, Paso Robles