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City of Atascadero takes over Winter Wonderland 

Winter Wonderland

The annual Winter Wonderland event include snow sledding and snow piles for the thousands of attendees that come out to the Sunken Gardens the second Friday of December. Photo by Heather Young

–Atascadero’s annual Winter Wonderland was started and run by Atascadero Main Street, until this year. This upcoming event, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 11 from 5 to 9 p.m., is now under the direction of the city of Atascadero.

“Winter Wonderland is a signature event that attracts 10,000 to 15,000 people during the holidays,” city of Atascadero Deputy City manager for outreach promotions and events Terrie Banish said. “Main Street created and implemented this fabulous event under Steve Martin’s vision, and under Larry Wysong the team has continued to build and grow it each year. Recently, Gail Kudlac, who was Main Street’s main coordinator of Winter Wonderland,  has taken on a new position at the Templeton Chamber of Commerce. With the demands of her new position and Main Street having their plates full with six main events to promote during the year in addition to Winter Wonderland, they had to make a decision to not take on this event moving forward.”

That prompted the Main Street board to ask the city to take the over to keep it going. “Based on its popularity in the community, we agreed to keep this event and continue to build on its popularity,” Banish said.

The event has between 40 and 50 vendors each year throughout the downtown along with snow sledding and snow piles, the Elks’ little train, bounce houses, entertainment by A-Town Skate Park, school musical performances, bands, food and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“Visitors to the event can expect all the same things and even more things that make this event a success,” Banish said.

The 2014 event was canceled due to a storm, all vendors were given the choice for a refund or to apply it to this year’s event. For those that have not yet registered to be a vendor for the coming Winter Wonderland, get the vendor application here.

Main Street continues to organize and put on four Atascadero Art & Wine Tours each year, along with the Sweetheart Stroll and Trick or Treat on Entrada.

The city of Atascadero is looking to add more events to its calendar in 2016, Banish said. The new events are Brew at the Zoo on Saturday, April 30, 2016 and Dancing in the Streets evening event on Saturday, Aug. 20 that will add to the Hot El Camino Cruise Nite event that takes place on Friday, Aug. 19.

 Existing city events that will continue for the foreseeable future:

  • Holiday Boutique at the Pavilion on the Lake, held the Saturday before Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Atascadero’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony, which is held the Friday after Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. in Sunken Gardens
  • Charles Paddock Zoo Holiday Magic, held the Saturday before Christmas from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance, held the Friday and Saturday before or on Valentine’s Day at the Pavilion on the Lake.
  • Charles Paddock Zoo’s Bunny Town and Chick City, which is held several weeks prior to Easter during the zoo’s business hours.
  • Charles Paddock Zoo’s Cookie Adventure held in early May from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Children’s Day in the Park, held the third Saturday of May from 11 am. to 3  p.m. in Atascadero Lake Park.
  • Saturday in the Park Summer Concert Series held on Saturdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in July and August in Atascadero Lake Park.
  • Charles Paddock Zoo Ice Cream Zoofari, held in July from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Movies in the Gardens held on Friday nights in August from 8 to 10 p.m. in Sunken Gardens.
  • Hot El Camino Cruise Night, held the third Friday in August from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. along El Camino Real.
  • Charles Paddock Zoo Boo, held the Saturday before Halloween from 5 to 8:30 p.m.



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