When more than 70 floats and entries in the 67th annual Pinedorado parade wend their way up Main Street from Bridge Street to Kent Street on Saturday, Sept. 5, the procession technically will be another of the many yearly accomplishments of stalwart Lions Club members.
But in reality, according to this year’s parade chairwoman, Lani Zaragoza, “it’s Cambria’s parade,” and the Lions Club provides it every year, along with the community’s Labor Day weekend festivity.
There’s a new website listing of information about each parade entry, so observers (especially those who aren’t near the judges’ stand or announcement booth) can follow along, or even find out details ahead of time. The website is at www.pinedoradoparade.com/viewer.
This year, Pinedorado’s theme is “Cambria’s my kind of town.” The three-day festival includes live music; kids’ games, bounce house and classical rides; beef and chicken barbecue and food booths (including Gibson “sweetie” corn-on-the-cob and about 900 hand-formed burgers); 11 a.m. opening each day at the John Tays Pub; three days of bingo at the Joslyn Recreation Center; the big $1-a-ticket raffle (with two $500 cash grand prizes, a cruise for two to the Bahamas and more); a Zoo to You performance Saturday; the big ninth annual car show Sunday, with more than 150 vehicles on display; Motions Academy of Dance performance at 11 a.m. Monday; and Music Monday with Cocktail Shorty from 2 p.m. to closing.
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A few related events are also scheduled, including the 24th annual American Field Service 5K fun run for early birds (registration starts at 7 a.m. at Coast Union High School, 2950 Santa Rosa Creek Road; the race starts at 7:45 a.m. and proceeds down Main Street). Entry fee is $15, or $20 with an event T-shirt. Proceeds benefit the high school’s AFS program. For details, call Marcia Hilger, 927-4965, Sharon Bisso at 995-1432 or the school, 927-3889.
The annual preparade waffle breakfast will be held from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Joslyn Center. The menu includes regular and gluten-free waffles, pork or vegetarian sausage, organic strawberries and melon, and beverages. Tickets, $10 at the Joslyn Center, 950 Main St., or Cambria Chamber of Commerce, 767 Main St.
There won’t be a Follies show this year, but Pinedorado organizers say they hope it will return next year.
Some Lions Club members have worked for decades on each and every Pinedorado, including Parade Marshal Bud Goff, a 20-year club member to whom the festival’s food court is dedicated.
But you don’t have to be a Lion to help make Pinedorado happen or to help the club raise money for its scholarships and other community programs.
For instance, Zaragoza isn’t a Lion. But the volunteer leader is a woman determined to make this year’s parade as good or better than previous processions.
According to veteran Lions Club members, she’s doing it. “I think it will be one of the best ones in years,” said Pinedorado Chairman Greg Wilson.
Like most Pinedorado assignments, it’s an intensive, year-round task, one that ramps up to frenzied level during the last week of August and, in years such as this when Labor Day is later, into early September.
Zaragoza said in a recent interview, “I’ve found this parade is really loved in this town. People really want it to succeed” and they’re more than willing to work hard to help. “We just need to tell them what they can do.”
Ask Zaragoza what’s happening in this year’s procession, and she’ll rattle off the entries.
“The Cayucos Mermaids are coming. A man restored a truck in his father’s honor. There’ll be dancing to ’50s music. High school bands. And a lot of people are coming back to the parade. Four Model A Fords from Paso Robles. Dogs in costume. Driving Miss Daisy.”
She bubbled over with enthusiasm about parade entries from American Legion Post No 432. Among them, Zaragoza said, is “a wonderful float” with something special they’ll borrow from the Estrella War Museum in Paso Robles, something that ties in with whimsical giveaways that elementary school children are to hand out to some parade watchers.
Sons of American Legion are handing out red-white-and-blue popsicles, she said.
Even man’s best friend gets a treat this year, she said. “Maddie Mae’s Pet Pantry (815 Main St., near the end of the parade route) is donating a treat to every dog in the parade,” and there’ll be bowls of water for them, too.
One of the hits of last year’s parade was the giant balloon arch at the judges’ stand in front of the Veterans Memorial Building (donated by Among Friends, which is doing it again this year, Zaragoza said).
“This year, we’re taking it to the next level,” she said, with $1,800 worth of balloons in five more arches, three in East Village and two in West Village.
How did Zaragoza do it? Gentle arm-twisting. “I went to the real estate community, and everyone I asked was so supportive.”
New sponsors this year, she said, are Becky Adams, Lance and Tigg Morales, Joe and Annette Prian, the Re/Max agency, Richard and Kara Breen, Sotheby’s, the Real Estate Connection, Coldwell Banker/Kellie Williams and Placer Title.
This year’s two-day Pinedorado setup work party is another example of town-wide participation in the Lions’ event. A cadre of seven members of the Coast Union High School Broncos football team lifted, toted and assembled Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29. When they and the rest of the setup crew were done, booths, tables, benches and more were out of storage, put together and in place.
Setup, which happened over six weeks, was accomplished by “five generations, ages 92 down to 11,” according to Andy Zinn, past president of the club.
Those who can’t attend the parade can hear all about it, thanks to John FitzRandolph’s live float-by-float commentary on KTEA FM 103.5, starting at 9 a.m. The Cambrian columnist also is doing the parade’s public-address announcing in front of The Blue Bird Motel.
Members of the California Conservation Corps are to clean up Main Street after the parade, Zinn said.
The cooperative, communitywide nature of putting on an event with the size and scope of Pinedorado in such a small town is a prize all by itself, Zinn said, but there can be some bonus benefits, too.
Of the 10 new members who joined the club recently, nine of them originally had connected with the Lions by volunteering to help at Pinedorado, he said.
“They told us, ‘We’ve been working with you on Pinedorado, and we decided we should join to own more of the good deeds the Lions Club does.’ ”
All the new Lions (and their family members) also helped the football players and others set up the grounds, Zinn said. And everybody will be busy this weekend. For instance, new Lions Kevin Castle and Gary Stephenson will be “taking on the tough job of cooking all those burgers,” along with other members of the Cambria Youth Athletic Association.
If you go
The Pinedorado parade starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at Main and Bridge streets and ends about 90 minutes or so later in West Village. The Pinedorado carnival, celebration and annual social gathering runs Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Main Street will close from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday; Cambria Drive will close from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
People can park in the East Village parking area on Rodeo Grounds Road (off Burton Drive at the Santa Rosa Creek bridge), then walk across the pedestrian bridge by the Bluebird Inn to Main Street.
According to the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, the Cambria Trolley will provide transportation after the parade until 4 p.m. Saturday along Main Street and Moonstone Beach Drive.
One-block Cambria Drive will be closed Sunday for the car show.
- Farmers Market — Veterans Memorial Building Parking Lot, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
- AFS-Pinedorado 24th 5k Fun Run — Coast Union High School, 7 a.m.
- Waffle Breakfast — Joslyn Recreation Center, 7 to 10 a.m.
- Pinedorado Parade — Begins at Bridge and Main Streets in East Village, then proceeds along Main Street to the West Village, 9:30 a.m.
- Trophy Presentation — for Pinedorado Parade winners, Pinedorado Grounds, 1:30 p.m.
- Zoo to You Wild Animal Show — Pinedorado Grounds, 2 to 4 p.m.
- Pinedorado Car Show — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Raffle Grand Prizes — Pinedorado Grounds, 2 p.m.
- Raffle Prizes — Drawn hourly, Pinedorado Grounds (Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday).
- Concessions — Pinedorado Grounds, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday (all games, General Store and food booths).
- Barbecue, Beer and Wine —Pinedorado Grounds, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday (top sirloin, chicken, local wine and beer available).
- Bingo — Joslyn Center, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Monday.