North Coast is decking its halls

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Bundle up Saturday evening to watch Morro Bay’s Lighted Boat Parade, where holiday lights adorn musical boats, canoes and kayaks.

Then on Dec. 9, take a free old-fashioned horse-drawn buggy ride along Ocean Avenue during the fourth annual Cayucos by the Beach Open House.

“This event has really exploded,” said co-coordinator Gina Spencer of Lady Spencer fine arts and gift shop. “When I moved Lady Spencer’s to Cayucos in 2008, I wondered what merchants did for the holidays and found there was room to create an event.

“In 2011, we have 35 participants open until 8:30 p.m. offering refreshments, discounts, coupons and gift basket raffles.”

The event is sponsored by the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce, co-coordinator Laila Kollmann explained.

“We’re doing more to encourage visitors to come for the weekend,” she said. “The chamber is sponsoring two horse-drawn buggies — one for each side of the street — and specific sign-up times to avoid standing in lines like last year. We want everyone to shop and enjoy the refreshments.”

The event begins at 5 p.m. with the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Strolling carolers will complement the atmosphere.

For the children, Schooner’s Wharf and the Cass House have gingerbread cookie and house decorating. Tour the Cass House and see the gingerbread house decorating results. Cayucos Beautiful will judge and award commercial and residential decorating honors.

Candice Lusk of the Cayucos Land Conservancy’s Board of Directors said the organization has also joined the effort this year: “We have many who come from out of town, so we’re offering a Saturday Estero Bay bluff walk from 10 a.m. to noon. We know we will see lots of seals and birds. We hope to see the egret rookery babies and maybe whales.”

Cayucos has welcomed several new businesses to town recently, including Charvel Martial Arts, Backstage Pass Wine Bar, Estero Accounting, Top Dog Coffee and Unleashed Cayucos, to name a few.

Kollmann said, “Cayucos is a dog-friendly community. We welcome visitors with pets, but they can’t leave them in the room alone, so Unleashed offers dog sitting, grooming and are working on a Yuppy Puppy Supper Club.”

Kollmann has been involved with the Shoreline Inn for 30 years, officially taking over ownership in 2002 and remodeling in 2005.

“Our goal is to have visitors leave Cayucos feeling better than when they arrived,” she said.

Spencer said, “It is a welcoming community. We enjoy working together. I love how this event is growing.”

For information visit www.cayucoschamber.com, www.cayucoslandconservancy.org, or call 995-1200.

Reach Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.