Students participate in Spelling Bee

What do honey, pumpkins, mini-golf and spelling have in common? If you answered the Golden Oak Honey and Pumpkin Festival you would be correct. 

The eclectic Fall festival organized by the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association for the past six years drew hundreds of people to the Paso Robles Downtown City Park Saturday, Oct. 26.

Nearly 75 booths, some taking up more than a couple of spots, were spread across the City Park, making it easy for festival-goers to stop and spend some time at any spot of their choosing.

HoneyPumpkinFest Finley Tjong
Bauer-Speck third-grader Finley Tjong spells “wonderful” to win the afternoon session of the Optimist Club Spelling Bee on Saturday at the Golden Oak Honey and Pumpkin Festival in the Paso Robles Downtown City Park. 
Photos by Brian Williams

While the focus of the event was honey and pumpkins, a majority of the booths featured hand-made arts and crafts and by all appearances, sales were brisk as people looked to possibly get a head start on their holiday shopping.

The Central Coast Beekeepers Alliance and several of its members were selling honey and other bee-related wares but also providing information about bees.

A couple of the booths had the inside of a bee-hive on display with live bees that had people stopping to get a look at or snap a photo.

The Paso Robles Kiwanis Club set up a mini-golf course in the Park. This was a new addition to the festival. Local clubs and organizations used canned and other non-perishable food to design 15 mini-golf holes on fake grass. People donated money to play the course. All of the food used in the course was part of the club’s food drive.

A small pumpkin display was set up on picnic tables for most of the day and cleared off to make way for the Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest at the end of the festival.

HoneyPumpkinFest Ariana Zatarian Zavala
Georgia Brown third-grader Ariana Zatarian-Zavala poses with the bicycle she received for winning the morning session of the Optimist Club Spelling Bee on Saturday in the Paso Robles Downtown City Park.

The Optimist Club of Paso Robles put on two spelling bees for local third-graders in the Park’s Gazebo. The morning session had 19 students from Georgia Brown Elementary, a dual-immersion magnet campus in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

The afternoon session had 46 students from Pat Butler, Virginia Peterson, Bauer-Speck and Winifred Pifer — all PRJUSD elementary schools.

Arts Academy at Bauer-Speck hird-grader Finley Tjong carefully, but confidently spelled “wonderful,” a fifth-grade spelling word, to win the second session. Fellow Bauer-Speck classmate Karol Ortiz was second.

“They have been practicing during their lunch breaks for this,” said Bauer-Speck Principal Shanna Ray, who was snapping photos of her students.

Georgia Brown third-grader Ariana Zatarian-Zavala had no trouble spelling “banana,” a fourth-grade word, to win the first session. Sophia Perez finished second.

Each of the finalists received a bicycle donated by Walmart and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

Following the afternoon spelling session, the Optimist Club also organized a Monster Mash dancing competition for third-graders.

“We are so proud of these students,” said Optimist Club member Bill Pluma. “Thank you to all of the parents and schools for bringing these kids.”