City to unveil plans for year-round park lighting in the coming months

PASO ROBLES — The new year was welcomed with a roaring fire on Sunday night, Dec. 31, for the second annual New Year’s Eve Bonfire in Paso Robles. 

“The nice part of it is everyone gets together, enjoys the community, has a great time, and we are all here in this together for New Year’s Eve. It’s wonderful,” said Paso Robles City Councilmember Steve Gregory at the bonfire event.

At the event held in City Park, the holiday lights still adorned trees throughout the park, and thousands found warmth next to the bonfire. Last year was the first time the city introduced the event. However, the rainy weather got in the way and dampened the mood.


Public Works Director Freda Berman said of this year’s event, “The biggest difference for the bonfire was dry pallets. Last year the rain and wind soaked everything, so it was really difficult to get the pallets going. Stacking the pallets was also a little different this year so we could get more air flow, but the real difference was the weather.”

High stacks of pallets made for a fire that could be seen from North River Road. Public Works collected untreated pallets from local businesses who were willing to part with them. They were then stored in the maintenance yard until it was time to build the bonfire structure, according to Berman.

The event began at 7 p.m. and ended at 11 p.m. with a ball drop and countdown to midnight at 9 p.m. to coincide with the East Coast countdowns. Beverages were available for purchase from the Paso Robles Distillery Trail, California Coast Beer Co., and Sculpterra Winery. Food was available from SLO Meltdown, La Patrona, and the Central Coast Kitchen.

Adam Montiel returned to emcee the event with the Lucky Devils Band on stage with live music that everyone could dance to. For the kids, face painting and glitter tattoos were also added to the festivities.

Gregory told Paso Robles Press that there is a “rumor” the park lights will remain on for the entire year. After receiving an outpouring of positive feedback from the community for the holiday lights, Gregory said the city wants to find a way to keep the good times going.

“It’s [the lights] created a totally new environment downtown,” said Gregory. “It [the lights] will make a huge difference for the economy for the hoteliers, for the restaurants, and for the people.”

Berman told Paso Robles Press, that for now, the lights will likely be turned off next week and a formal announcement will be released later this week.

“Given the overwhelmingly positive response from the community, City Council has asked city staff to research options,” she said. “We anticipate unveiling plans for the year-round lighting in the coming months, as the project progresses. The magic of the holiday lights would again be unveiled on the Friday after Thanksgiving during the traditional Downtown Lighting Ceremony.”

Gregory said the city wants to continue to give back to the community with events like the bonfire. 

“These are the kind of events we live for,” he said. 

Feature Image: The New Year’s Eve Bonfire burns surrounded by spectators and the holiday lights at Paso Robles City Park on Sunday, Dec. 31. Photos by Camille DeVaul