It will be bigger than last year, smaller than proposed for this year and in a new location, but the Cambria Christmas Market will again light up the grounds at Cambria Pines Lodge.
The inaugural edition in 2012 was expected to attract about 200 people per night, but about 1,000 per night turned out, delighting vendors in the 18 booths strung along a pathway from the lodge to the Cambria Nursery, but distressing neighbors due to traffic and parking and lighting impacts.
This year Pacific Cambria Inc., owners of the lodge, proposed expanding the number of booths to as many as 50. Now there will be 26 temporary booths erected within the main grounds of the lodge, according to a ruling by the California Coastal Commission on Nov. 13.
Last year’s event took place on lodge property, but in a forested area designated as environmentally sensitive.
Under the single-season permit, the Christmas Market will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, and then Wednesday through Sunday nights through Sunday, Dec. 22.
According to “the one-year amendment to the development plan,” lodge owner Dirk Winter can erect booths for the event, all “on the lawn, between the new pool and the old pool building,” George Marschall, market manager, said.
A $4 admission fee will be charged for those 12 and older, which Marschall said will be refunded in “Santa tokens” that can be used at participating vendor booths for a similar amount in discounts. There’s also a $10 season pass.
Some of the commission’s restrictions include restoring the area to its existing state immediately after the event concludes and trucking in water for hand washing and sanitation.
The decision concerns community members who have opposed continuing the annual market, including some members of the North Coast Advisory Council and its Land Use Committee, which have several times chosen to oppose county approval of the market’s permit.
Concerns ranged from public-safety impacts of increased traffic, the bright holiday lighting, having so many more people looking for places to park within four hours each market night, proximity to single-family homes, and potential environmental and drainage impacts to the Monterey pine forest area in which last year’s market was held.
Earlier this year, the commission took control of the market’s permit application because the proposal relates to restrictions imposed by the commission in 2003, when the agency authorized Dirk Winter’s expansion plans for the lodge at 2905 Burton Drive. That expansion included 35 new guest rooms in nine buildings, a tennis court and more; part of the agreement was that there would be no more expansion on the property, especially outside of already developed areas.
Marschall said the market will include 25 vendors and will be open from 5 to 9 p.m., with Santa Claus in residence, entertainment most nights and “a great light display, even better than last year,” he said. For instance, a Cal Poly grad project, “The 12 days of Christmas” will be on display.
Shuttle vans intended to help allay parking issues are supposed to run from the lodge to locations including the nursery, the Veterans Memorial Building, the Cambria Medical Building, the former Bank of America and the Community Health Center.
WATER TANK REMOVAL
Due to the Christmas Market, the free public access to a non-potable water tank at the Cambria Nursery will stop on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the Cambria Community Services District has announced. Free water will continue to be available at the Cambria Skate Park, across from the Veterans Memorial Building at 1000 Main St.
Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.