Two festivals celebrate the county’s rich cultural heritage this weekend.
The 37th annual Colony Days celebration will once again bring Atascadero’s past to life Saturday in downtown Atascadero.
The daylong event, which kicks off at 10 a.m. with an old-fashioned parade through the center of the city, will also have food, vendors, music and youth activities in tents at the Sunken Gardens. The day’s festivities end at 3 p.m.
Colony Days was created in 1973 by Maggie Rice to commemorate the founding of the Colony of Atascadero — a master-planned community started by E.G. Lewis in 1913.
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The focal point of the festival is the tent city, described by Atascadero marketing consultant Steve Martin as “an authentic re-enactment of the way early settlers lived.”
It’s fashioned after the colony’s first residents, whom Lewis invited in 1915 to scope out the area while their homes were being built, according to the festival committee.
They lived in giant tents complete with wood floors, electricity, dwellings, laundry, a market and entertainment, committee members said.
The roughly 1,000 people who lived and socialized there frequently gathered in the area where the Bank of America now stands off Capistrano Avenue.
On Saturday, re-enactors will highlight life as it was back then.
There is no admission charge, but patrons can trade their dollars for wooden nickels at the “Tent City Bank” to purchase goods at the ice cream parlor and other tents, Martin said.
The 1.7-mile parade route begins at Lewis and Olmeda avenues, turns south on Lewis Avenue to Morro Road and loops back to its starting point after traveling north up El Camino Real to Traffic Way. Those streets close to the public starting at 9:30 a.m. and reopen at noon.
For more information, visit www.colonydays.org.
This year’s Pismo Beach Clam Festival has been re-mastered with new events and a new theme: Surfin’ Safari.
Held Friday through Sunday in downtown Pismo Beach, the 64th annual festival features several new events, including champagne and caviar tasting, a kissing contest and a spelling bee.
There are also traditional events such as a surf contest and clam chowder cook-off.
A movie, “Surf’s Up,” will be shown on the beach from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday.
A parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Miss Clam essay contest will be held at 12:30 p.m., and a pie eating contest takes place at 4:30 p.m. Six contestants will compete to eat an entire pie with no hands.
The Pismo Beach Clam Festival concludes Sunday with a clam dig, a swim dance contest and the spelling bee.
To learn more about the festival, contact the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce at 773-4382 or visit www.pismobeachclamfestival.com.