Norma Moye surprised with heartwarming party, reflects on a lifetime of dedication to Paso Robles
PASO ROBLES — The matriarch of Paso Robles and Main Street Association executive director, Norma Moye, turned 90 years old earlier this month, and on Monday, July 10, she was surprised with a birthday party from close family and friends.
“I don’t even know how to talk about it. I was blown away. It made the journey worth it,” Moye says of her big surprise birthday party.
Moye, born and raised in Paso Robles, has been a pillar in the community practically since the day she was born. She is a founding member of the Paso Robles Main Street Association, the Paso Robles Area Historical Society, and the creator of the downtown Paso Robles we know today. She has won accolades for her work downtown and even had her share of stardom in a motion picture — the 1976 film “Jackson County Jail” starring Tommy Lee Jones.
In April 2022, Moye was honored with a custom archway made by local artist Dale Evers. The archway welcomes visitors into the “alleyway” the Main Street office calls home. Now, the alley is formally recognized as “Norma’s Way.” Since 1992, she has manned the Main Street Association and at 90 years old, she has yet to slow down.
“I don’t know if I could have planned it any better as far as having it a surprise. It was great,” said Jeff Wiesinger, president of the board of the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association and the owner of Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ.
Wiesenger hosted the surprise party at his restaurant a few doors down from the Main Street Office. Main Street Ambassador Sharon Foster reached out to him two weeks before Moye’s birthday on July 2. The two got to work planning the big day. Fellow Main Street board members, city officials, and close friends were invited to the gathering on Monday — a day that was meant to be a regularly scheduled board meeting.
While Moye sat in her office, rather upset that no one was showing up to her meeting, friends were getting settled in at Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis, and all equipped with their own photo of Moye’s face on a stick.
When Moye was finally coaxed to leave her office and head to Jeffry’s for dinner and a guest speaker, she was pleasantly surprised.
“I have such a wonderful board,” she said. “Main Street’s the best. It makes the journey to 90 [years old] worth it.”
Wiesinger met Moye in 2007 when he moved to the area. He marveled at her and the association’s support of the downtown businesses and their development of turning downtown into the thriving heart of Paso Robles we know it as today.
“She’s won some national awards for her efforts in revitalizing the downtown business district and being involved in the preservation of downtown … walking that fine line of how do we progress forward while still maintaining our historic character,” Wiesinger told Paso Robles Press.
In his new position as board president, Wiesinger is learning how Moye and Executive Assistant Susanne Anshen manage to put together all the events we know and love in downtown Paso Robles. He reiterates that the two are humble in what they have created and is looking forward to learning more from them. More importantly, he wants their legacy to remain intact.
Being located in Norma’s Way, a sometimes overlooked alley, one of Wiesinger’s employees came up with a rather appropriate saying for their nook, “We are hard to find, but once you find us, we’re hard to forget.”
But thanks to Moye and her grand archway, more people have been able to find this “secret garden” alley in downtown. Just one of many things to thank Moye for.
Whenever being asked about events and her attributions to downtown, Moye is always quick to thank her volunteers.
“I have the world’s most precious, valuable volunteers in the whole world, and thats what accomplished all this stuff,” she told Paso Robles Press.
Moye is the founder and creator of some of our most valued memories that have affected generations of Paso Roblans. From the Vine Street Victorian Showcase, to the Olive and Lavender Festivals, and everything in between, every single Paso Roblan has been touched by the work of Moye.
Looking back on her nine decades on this earth, she tells us, “I’m blessed to have my whole life. I’ve been blessed my whole life. Believe me. I’ve had fun.”
Moye has lived in Paso Robles her entire life, and she has no regrets for it. To her, it is the best town in the world and she would never leave. She has seen all its changes and embraced most of them, learning to move with the flow of time. But if she can give you any advice, it’s to never stop moving.
“As I age, family becomes more valuable, and friends. I would not be worth anything if it wasn’t for my family and my friends. You have to cultivate them on your way through life,” says Moye.
As for what is next for her, she says, “I got to get over this dream [first]. Then I’ll go onto the next project.”
You can find Norma at the Main Street office, located at 835 12th St., Suite D, in the alley known as “Norma’s Way” and you can experience the magic she helps create at pasoroblesdowntown.org.
Feature Image: Friends and family of Norma Moye gathered at Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ for Moye’s surprise 90th birthday party. Photo by Hayley Mattson/PRP