Atascadero’s big birthday party is just a year away

May 28, 2012 

For more than a year, a small group of Atascaderans have been meeting regularly to plan a big party for 2013: the centennial celebration of this community carved out of a Mexican land grant by Eastern publisher Edward Gardner Lewis in 1913.

The Centennial Committee is led by Linda Hendy, the intrepid president and CEO of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce. Meeting monthly, membership consists of representatives from local civic organizations, city government, the chamber, the Historical Society and walk-in volunteers such as Lee Swam with his daffodil project.

There has been virtually no publicity to date on what is being planned for the city’s 100th birthday.

In addition to planning for a celebration, the small group has a marketing outreach committee that will seek sponsors to pay for the big party so no taxpayer funds are expended.

Other subcommittees are looking into producing a historical drama/musical based on the earliest days of the “Colony.” You will be hearing a lot about a different kind of “tea party” that will serve as a fundraiser not only for the centennial bash, but also other civic projects.

Plans are already being made for the dedication and reopening of the City Administration Building, the return of the marble statue to the Sunken Gardens, the opening of the new city-county library and dedication of the new lakeside bandstand, which is a gift to the city from the Atascadero Kiwanis Club.

Atascadero Mutual Water Co. also celebrates its 100th birthday in 2013 and is Atascadero’s longest running private business. There will be a lot to celebrate.

There is already an official “logo” for the celebration.

I know that the Colony Days Committee is already thinking ahead to the 2013 parade, even though it has its 2012 event still to be held this year.

Although there will be other celebrations throughout 2013 that happen every year — from the Mid-State Cruizers’ car show to Hot El Camino Nights and Tuesday Night at the Park — it appears that after much thought, the centennial celebration is coming down to a series of significant events in the month of October 2013 that includes the Colony Days Parade, Tent City, the Quota Club’s annual pioneer luncheon and more.

There will be a series of events on the Sunday after Colony Days, too.

The committee consists of about a dozen citizens who have been meeting for more than a year to carry out this goal: “To facilitate a community and tourism celebration for Atascadero’s 100th anniversary.”

Specific information about the celebration is available by contacting the chamber office.

It’s a party I sure don’t want to miss.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. He can be reached at 466-8529 or

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