Tonight, a popular summertime tradition once again comes to an end with the last of the barbecue and music festivals at Atascadero Lake Park.
With the start of school and the upcoming Labor Day weekend, it all signals that it is time to transition from summer thoughts and prepare for fall.
The exception is the weather. In fact, last week Charlie Buck, director of the Atascadero Community Band, welcomed the crowd to the Kiwanis bandstand with these words, “Welcome to the first day of summer.”
For more than a decade this event has been going on at the lake and has provided a fundraising venue for dozens of community groups and a chance for local residents to hear the band.
This group of musical ambassadors can trace its roots right back to the Colony’s earliest days in Tent City.
There is a marvelous photo in the Atascadero Historical Society’s museum that shows the band seated on the wood platform built around the giant oak in the middle of Stadium Park. That wood floor was removed in 1926 and moved to the edge of Atascadero Lake, where it became the floor of the first pavilion in the 1930s.
The original bandstand was erected in 1916 at the lake, about where the present one stands. It served for many years and then fell into disrepair.
Improvements were made to the original structure, which consisted of what looked like telephone poles on each corner that held up a roof.
The bandstand was rebuilt in the mid-1960s by the Atascadero Kiwanis Club, which has made a number of other improvements.
Just a few years ago, the Kiwanians doubled the concrete floor area with hopes of coming back with the construction of a roof over the entire facility in the not-too-distant future, which would result in a performance venue at what has to be one of the nicest settings in the county.
These summer concerts in the park on Tuesday nights are not the only entertainment offered there. Another series of concerts is also held on Saturday nights featuring a different musical group each week.
I’ve always said Atascaderans seem to argue about just about everything. But music seems to always trump anger as we gather together under the stars at the edge of Atascadero Lake. Our differences disappear.
I’m always a bit sad when our summer music series comes to an end.
Fortunately, the tunes I’ve tapped my foot to over the past almost two dozen weeks remain reverberating in my heart long into the fall.