Slice of Life

Memories of Pinedorado

ktanner@thetribunenews.comAugust 28, 2013 

Cambria's Pinedorado parade in 2006.


Cambria’s Labor Day holiday weekend is about making memories … enjoying time with family and friends, running into people from our past and going to Pinedorado, often all at the same time.

Remember being the proud youngster who finally rings the bell or tosses the token into the “Pinedorado glass” instead of onto the floor? Lucia Novoa recalled online that, “at one time, our entire glass collection consisted of glasses won at Pinedorado!”

Through the years, Pinedorado had a real fishing pond (with real fish), a pony ride, a hay ride and Pinedorado dances with live bands (anybody remember Billy Watson?). Martha Stephens Goodwin recalls a Pinedorado-weekend night spent with friends at Las Cambritas when a local on a horse came right through the front door.

Through the decades, the Saturday parade down Main Street has included floats, clowns and bands, cars, dogs, cheerleaders, athletes, singers, lots of marchers (including from Grizzly Youth Academy), people playing kelp instruments, a dog wearing a bonnet in a bonnet, a pastor riding a horse, an honorary mayor riding a toilet, a male bicyclist in a tutu, a Tinkerpaw wearing a barrel, Dianne Brooke (Cambrian columnist and a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees) as a butterfly, Rudy de la Mor and his feather boa, and an unreliable hillbilly car ... when it stalled, the hillbilly driver would get out to crank it and his pants would fall down.

Many young ladies vied to be crowned Pinedorado royalty. Jeanette Maland wrote about her daughter’s queenship, saying the young honoree was “thinking she was queen of the world till some munchkins sprayed her with Silly String on the parade route, bringing her back down to planet Earth!”

Iain MacAdam posted about the “little Pinedorado train … I think I only went on it once, but it’s a memorably unique experience with a wonderfully quaint feel. The train sits there all year, hiding in its tunnel, waiting for the one weekend of the year when it becomes a centerpiece in Cambria’s biggest event. (That) makes it feel very special.”

And so many friendships have been rekindled over a Pinedorado plateful of legendary barbecue or an ear of local corn.

Jack and Jane Gibson’s Sweetie corn always gets rave reviews, including on Facebook from April Yost Tucker, Linda Tinker and Sharon Jantz Panzarella, who dubbed it simply “the best corn EVER!”

But how many people go to Pinedorado for romance?

Shirley Bianchi said she and Bill Bianchi met at the second annual Pinedorado. She’d come to Cambria with her roommate, Marie Bianchi Alexander, and met “this tall guy I could actually wear high heels with.

“I went back to San Jose, quit my job as a social worker that I was really lousy at anyway, and moved to San Luis Obispo.

“After I dated Bill for a while, my father asked, ‘Are you chasing that young man?’ I responded with, ‘Not really, but no one says that when he runs by, I can’t trip him.’

“We just celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary.”

Pinedorado also changed the timing of another romance, according to Karen Soto Snow, who became engaged to Curt Snow in June 1966.

She was in summer school at San Diego State at the same time her mom was taking extended-education classes at Stanford University. The two converged in Cambria to plan a wedding for 300 people.

First, they searched for a likely Saturday, Karen said, because “the Catholic Church wasn’t performing weddings on Sundays then. I said, ‘Sept. 3 might be good.’ My mother answered, ‘Well, I guess you could get married then, but your father won’t be able to come and nobody else will be there, either. That’s Pinedorado.’”


Karen and Curt’s 47th anniversary will be Sept. 10.

They had dodged the Pinedorado date clash, but “I actually had to register for classes on the following Monday,” Karen said. “I’ve yet to have a honeymoon.”

So, happy Pinedorado, folks: May you make new friendships and memories and have a chance to cherish old ones at the Lions Club’s Labor Day festival.

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