The annual Colony Days celebration for Atascadero is less than a month away.
The kickoff for that weeklong series of events is the Atascadero Quota Club’s Colony Tea Reception. That’s the time the new royalty is crowned and the badge pinned on the parade marshal. I’ve attended almost every “tea” over the past 33 years as a reporter and most recently as the master of ceremonies. My wife and I didn’t qualify otherwise.
All the past Colony Days kings and queens and parade marshals have attended, along with their adult children. But each year the group grows smaller as the senior pioneers pass away.
To attend, you have to be at least 55 years of age and have lived in the community for 40 years.
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As those earliest pioneers of the community have passed on, their children have not been picking up the torch.It isn’t that they don’t care. It might just not have occurred to them that they are now the “senior population” of the town in which they grew up, attended the local schools and operated their various independent businesses and are now retired.
The Quota Club is making an appeal to pull in this second generation of past royalty to share not only in welcoming the newest couple to serve as king and queen or parade marshal, but to have an afternoon together sharing stories from the early days and getting ready for this year’s parade on Oct. 15.
I remember past Colony Queen Katherine Lickers telling about meeting E.G. Lewis when she was a young girl and Past Parade Marshal Jerry DeCou III, while a young boy, encountering the Colony’s founder when Lewis spoke to him from the back porch of the Headquarters’ House in the late 1940s.
Others at the Quota reception have told of Tent City days, Fourth of July at Atascadero Lake when cowboy star Hoot Gibson judged a beauty pageant. Others made the two-hour trek to the Cloisters on the beach at Morro Bay over the E. G. Lewis Highway in a Model T.
But now it is time for the second generation to pump both memories and energy into this long-standing opening event of the city’s weeklong observance of its birthday, just two years short of a century.
If you want to attend and have not received an invitation, call Diana Cooper at 466-6030. The Colony Tea is held in the Fellowship Hall of the Community Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9.
You’ll meet a lot of friends you haven’t seen for a very long time.
Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears here every week. He can be reached at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.