It’s somehow appropriate that the marshal of the 2019 Pinedorado parade — which is often packed with motorized entries — should be Nate Fearonce, the 85-year-old founder and leader of the festival’s popular Sunday car show.
Fearonce, a self-described “car guy,” also has spent 55 years creating his own unique show vehicle, a Chevrolet Corvair pickup powered by a supercharged Chevy small block mounted in the bed.
After years in technical and artistic endeavors, Fearonce retired to Cambria in 1999 to join his significant other, Linda George. He has been with the Cambria Lions Club since 2003.
Soon thereafter, then president Elliot Kontoff asked him to lead the Pinedorado kids’ games. The following year, Fearonce introduced slot-car racing to the festival. While the mini cars were a big success with the kids (and some adults!), managing and maintaining the track, vehicles and operation proved to be too time and energy intensive for a Labor-Day-weekend festival that’s already jam-packed with responsibilities, especially after his two assistants were no longer available to help.
Then, 13 years ago, Jim Bevan, a Lions Club president with a recently restored VW and working knowledge of Fearonce’s passion for vehicles, asked him, “Do you want to do a car show?”
The car guy never looked back. The show has blossomed into one of the most popular elements in the multi-faceted Pinedorado festival.
“I enjoy giving people the satisfaction of showing their works of vehicular art,” the car show chairman said in an email interview.
Aaron Linn, the recently installed Lions Club president, lauded the octogenarian’s remarkable energy level and Fearonce’s dedication to the club and the car show, which “raises a lot of money” that then helps support community and other causes.
Fearonce was born in Los Angeles in 1934, attended USC in 1954, and then joined the U.S. Air Force in 1955. His military career included being a radar technician on the F89 Scorpion Air Defense Command fighter plane, and an F104 radar-system specialist.
Fearonce said that, after leaving the military in 1959, he worked on commercial airliners and special, secret microwave projects for Douglas Aircraft Company. Shifting to Electronic Specialties Company four years later, he worked on microwave projects and the antenna system for one of the first Orbiting Solar Observatory satellites.
He attended Hollywood Art Institute for a year. Then he and a partner created Artana, which manufactured custom lamps and shades, and then his own business, Accents and Finishes and La Difearonce, which specialized in old-world furniture refinishing and gold/silver leafing.
After a health scare (and having no health benefits), Fearonce then became a technical representative for Simplex Time Recorder Company.
He reminisced that, in his 27 years with the firm, he specialized in clock systems, time clocks, fire alarms and suppression systems and nurse call/communication systems for such projects as major hotels and resorts, the Platform Grace oil platform in the Channel Islands and Space Launch Complex 3 and 6, where the space shuttle was to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Fearonce has two children, son Andre and daughter Pier.
For details on this year’s car show on Sept. 1, go to www.pinedorado.com/carshow.htm or contact Fearonce at 805-927-3531 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parade will meander down Main Street starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31. This year’s parade theme is “Pinedorado: Our Light Shines.”