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Mother Nature cancels 14th annual Winter Wonderland 

Santa talks to two children at the 2013 Winter Wonderland event. Photo by Heather Young

Santa talks to two children at the 2013 Winter Wonderland event. Photo by Heather Young

Event organizers make tough call to cancel due to storm

UPDATE: Winter Wonderland coordinator Gail Kudlac said after a long night of thought, she decided it was too risky to put Winter Wonderland on as planned because of how rough the coming storms are expected to be. She said it was a tough decision to make and due to the busy holiday season, the event will not be rescheduled this year.

“There’s no way you can run electrical cords in the gutter with the [heavy] rain,” Kudlac said. “At the same time, we don’t want any one injured.”

Next year’s event is planned for Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, from 5 to 9 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY: Atascadero Main Street’s 14th annual Winter Wonderland event will take place this Friday, Dec. 12 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the historic Colony District with the events centered around Sunken Gardens. Event coordinator Gail Kudlac said that the weather reports show rain Friday morning, but a clear afternoon. At this point, she said the event will happen as planned, even if it’s raining lightly. What will cause the event to be canceled is if it’s raining hard and steady, she said, but she will make the decision if the event won’t happen Friday morning.

Atascadero Winter Wonderland

Katie Coombs and Amalia Young go down one of the snow slides together at Winter Wonderland in 2013. Photo by Heather Young

“If it’s just light showers, it will go on,” Kudlac said. Past events indeed have had it rain lightly throughout the night, but it did not dampen the turnout, though the crowd got a bit damp.

The large event will have a snow slide that can accommodate three sleds at once, two snow piles, and 35 vendors, which include nonprofits and organizations, food and crafters.

“Entrada is kind of set up for the little kids,” Kudlac said, adding that Entrada Avenue will have a snow pile geared toward the younger children and the Elks Little Train with Santa set up around the corner in front of Arlyne’s Flowers on the corner of West Mall and Palma Avenue. The other snow pile will be set up on East Mall and the snow slide on Palma Avenue at Traffic Way.

“Providing it’s not raining, we’ll have the fire department’s antique fire engineer [giving rides],” Kudlac said.

Everything except for what the vendors are selling, the bounce houses and the pony rides will be free, which is, Kudlac said, “thanks to our sponsors.” The event will take place on East Mall, West Mall and Entrada Avenues from El Camino Real to Palma Avenue and up Palma Avenue from East Mall to Traffic Way. Kudlac said Palma will be closed starting at 11:30 a.m. to allow for the setup of the snow slide. Hay bales are stacked up to make the base for the slide and then covered with manmade snow. West Mall and East Mall will be closed at 1:30 p.m. and Entrada Avenue at 3 p.m.

What’s different from past years is that the antique carousel will not be on-site due to health issues of the person who usually donates the use and operation of it. Kudlac has a large pool of volunteers who will make the event a reality, in addition to the generous donations of the sponsors.

“It lets kids — big and small — be kids for a night,” Kudlac said.

For more information, go to www.atascaderochamber.org or email Kudlac at gailkudlac@gmail.com.

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