Of course, topics du jour during and after the three-day Pinedorado celebration over Labor Day weekend included the parade, the car show, the Follies concert and so much more about the festivities.
But what people seemed to mention most often was the Heinz-57-style weather that was so uncommon for Cambria: Tropical, monsoonal and just plain hot, hot, hot.
Parade goers and entrants baked in temperatures that reached nearly 98 degrees late Saturday morning by the fire station and even hotter in other North Coast areas where customary temperatures lurk in the high 60s. The cooling fog had vanished, leaving hot, humid air behind for the event.
Just imagine being one of the poor souls inside the head-to-toe, furry Smokey Bear, T-Rex and Lions Club lion costumes, or in the strawberry, peas, radish or corn costumes on the Farmers Market float!
Early Sunday morning, drizzle sent car show entrants scurrying with their microfiber polishing cloths and compounds to restore the shine on the vehicles on display. By afternoon, the clouds didn’t keep the heat away, though.
Amazingly, according to holiday weekend logs for the Fire Department and ambulance crews, there were no medical callouts for heat-related ailments, accidents or falls. However, about 15 people came to the Cambria Community Healthcare District (CCHD) booth at Pinedorado with complaints of health issues caused by the heat. There were lots of other medical calls during the three-day weekend, according to CCHD sources.
Pinedorado is sponsored annually by the Lions Club of Cambria, which uses funds from the event to support a wide range of nonprofits, charities, scholarships and youth-oriented events. As former Lions president Andy Zinn said Tuesday, Sept. 5, this year’s festivities were required “incredible effort by Lions members, volunteers and the community under record heat conditions to provide another great Pinedorado.”
Among those stalwarts were Nate Fearonce and his crew for the always-successful car show, games mistress Nancy Taylor, Sharkey Warrick and his barbecue team, kiddie-ride conductor Glen Baker, and décor designers Joe Sassaman and Monica Raethke and their helpers who transformed the Vets Hall for the Follies concerts. They made the hall look like “an awesome jazz club venue,” Zinn said. “It made the ‘night out with Kiki Ebsen’ great fun.”
The monsoonal weather put a damper on the number of attendees at the parade and at Pinedorado itself, according to email and phone interviews with Michael Broadhurst, Lions Club president and Pinedorado chairperson.
“The weather definitely reduced crowds Saturday, both at the parade and grounds,” he said, and there were fewer food sales than usual, perhaps because it’s hard to be hungry when the temperature’s flirting with the century mark.
“In the end though,” Broadhurst said, “I think we were in the ballpark of previous years.”
One measure of the event’s eventual success was the number of resupply runs the Lions president had to make to Cookie Crock Market for ice, water, tomatoes and more, he said. “I basically cleaned the Crock out of water.”
Throughout the weekend, there were unconfirmed reports from shoppers that Cambria stores had run out of ice for sale.
Crowds were larger than usual at some Pinedorado attractions, including at bingo in the Joslyn Recreation Center, Broadhurst said, in part because “the building is air conditioned,” an uncommon offering on the North Coast.
“It was a great place to cool off,” Zinn said.
Broadhurst and Zinn agreed that Julie Beaver and her Bad Dogs band were a big hit on “Hometown Monday,” and “helped to keep Pinedorado open an extra hour,” Zinn said. She continued entertaining the mostly local customers, who also enjoyed the Bud Goff Food Court and John Tays Pub, along with various other booths.
While attendance was less than sellout at the two nights of Follies shows, Broadhurst said “Kiki and her band were wonderful.” However, “Saturday night was brutally hot.” He said the Lions may consider “going back to a more traditional, old-fashioned Follies theme” with a four-day run next year, but that decision is up for discussion.
John and Donna Argonti manage the Pinedorado raffle-ticket booth. She reports that the $1,500 grand prize was won by part-time Cambria resident Joyce Colegrove.
Argonti said Colegrove was “so excited, she shook for at least a half hour afterwards.” Dave Gerber won six prizes, “but I think he had bought at least 100 tickets,” Argonti said, as did Andy Loveless, who won a couple of prizes.
From the award-winning American Legion Color Guard at the beginning to the formation flyover of three vintage airplanes from the Estrella War Birds Museum to the award-winning Wine Divas, Cambria Grammar School and North Coast Ocean Rescue Team entries at the end, the parade was a hit, despite the blazing heat.
Under the direction of chairman Jeff Nielsen and his assistant Jerry Wood (with his Rose Bowl Parade experience), everything seemed to go off as planned.
As usual, the parade entrants marched, high-stepped, danced, drove, walked, pranced, rode, played and sang.
Parade major award winners were:
▪ Sweepstakes: Dog Walkers
▪ Parade Theme: Newcomers Club
▪ Best Youth Entry: Art Beat
▪ Judges Special Recognition: Garden Club
▪ Spirit Award (a new category): Slabtown Rollers
These were the first-place winners in the other categories:
▪ Decorated Commercial Float: Cambria Farmers Market
▪ Decorated Non-Commercial Float, Adult: Friends of the Elephant Seal
▪ Decorated Non-Commercial Float, Junior: Scarecrow Festival
▪ Equestrian Group: Covell Clydesdales
▪ Equestrian Civic: Sheriff’s Posse
▪ Military or Color Guard: American Legion
▪ Non-Musical Drill Team: Templeton Talon Drum & Brass Corps
▪ Marching Musical Unit (other than band): Motion Dance Academy
▪ Marching Band Musical: Atascadero High School Band
▪ Truck Band: Rough House Band
▪ Antique Auto, Single: 1961 Metropolitan
▪ Antique Auto Group: Cambria Historical Society
▪ Antique Conveyance (other than car): Cambria FireSafe Focus Group
▪ Decorated Vehicle (not only antique): Cal Fire
▪ Special Novelty (anything goes), adult: Wine Divas
Special Novelty (anything goes), junior: Cambria Grammar School
Volunteer Rescue Group (new category this year): North Coast Ocean Rescue.