The Cambrian

Editor's Notes: Fabled Pinedorado

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared Sept. 1, 2011. It has been updated.

There’s lots to love about Pinedorado. Start

with the name “Pinedorado,” evocative of — what? Perhaps it’s the mystery of El Dorado — that fabled lost city of gold sought by Spanish conquistadores a half-thousand years ago — added to the magic of the pine forest we’re lucky to dwell within. There you have it: Pinedorado.

Then there’s the timing. You pass Memorial Day, the start line of the summer recreational season, with high hopes, sailing into a golden dream of redolent days in which you do nothing but achieve a lot: have a good time.

By the time the summer days dwindle to a precious few, Labor Day, the post at the end of summer’s path, is upon us. We reach out, seeking one last excuse to have that good time that seems summer’s entitlement.

And what do we find? Pinedorado.

Not that anyone needs an excuse for a good time, but Pinedorado is one.

It has no pretensions of serving some higher purpose — yet in the end it has several.

The good people at the Lions Club of Cambria and their many collaborators slave away much of the year so we don’t have to over Labor Day weekend.

We can delight in the parade, its combination of talent, creativity, quirkiness — and clowns! It’s got clowns!

What it was lacking for a few years were honest-to-goodness, “Music Man”-style, 76-trombone, Sousa-playing, wish-I-was-a-drum-major marching bands.

Thanks to the good offices of the Lions and a successful campaign by the Cambria American Legion Post No. 432, in 2010 we were treated to the 1st Marine Division Band. In 2011, and again this year, we have the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band, which traces its history from World War II, the Korean War era and on to the first Gulf War to the Iraq War theater, when they became the first American military band to perform in Iraq. Band members have served in security deployments to Afghanistan.

The parade also features high school bands from San Luis Obispo, Templeton and Atascadero, plus the Santa Monica drum corps (for the 33rd consecutive year). This

year’s parade theme is “The Good Ol’ Days.”

If you don’t get enough of the Marine Band as they pass by in the parade (and who does?), they’ll play a free concert in the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

We don’t have the Follies this year, but we do have the sixth annual car show on Sunday .

Of course, the Pinedorado Grounds offers a veritable caravanserai of games of chance and skill,

strength and guile, often to live musical accompaniment. Oh, and beer, too.

And, as we invest a dollar here or there in the

pursuit of happiness — maybe even buying a raffle ticket or two on a chance for an original Sally Seago painting, a collection of local wines or a $500 gift certificate — something else happens: The Lions Foundation coffers swell.

And what do they spend it on? Conventions? Funny hats? No.

Every dollar cleared goes to nonprofit good works. Some the Lions give directly to students for scholarships, or to support the Teen Center, or to pay for free eye care, or for a Pinedoradostyle party for kids with cancer, or a Christmas party for all community

kids. And that’s not all — they also give to more than two dozen other local nonprofit organizations, each with their own projects that enrich the community.

After all that, now we know what Pinedorado is — it’s living proof these are “The Good Ol’ Days.” Let the games begin!

Email Bert Etling, managing editor of The Cambrian, at betling@thetribune, or call him at 927-8896.