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Thousands turn out for annual ‘Winter Wonderland’ event 


Atascadero Winter Wonderland

Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with children at Winter Wonderland in Atascadero on Friday. Photo by Heather Young

Event had another successful year

–Despite rain falling until early Friday morning, Atascadero’s annual Winter Wonderland went off successfully. Last year’s event was cancelled due to a storm that blew through town.

The Sunken Gardens in downtown Atascadero was transformed in a “winter paradise” Friday afternoon, the rain only delaying shortly. Atascadero Kiwanis Club members continued setting up the snow slides after the last rain fell at noon. The base of the snow slide was made up of hay bales with manmade snow laid over top. Three slides were carved into the slope.

“The event this year was very well attended! We had many vendors and merchants comment that it seemed like this year felt like the largest Winter Wonderland on record,” city of Atascadero Deputy City Manager Terrie Bannish said. She estimated that, like in years prior, the event attracted thousands.

The event also included two snow piles, one for children 8 and younger on Entrada Avenue and one for the older children on East Mall; the Elks Little Train on Entrada Avenue, a rock climbing wall on West Mall, bounce houses in Sunken Gardens, demonstrations by the 805 Boardshop Skate team on East Mall, entertainment by groups of all ages on Palma Avenue and Santa and Mrs. Claus in front of the City Administration Building.

“Kids loved the snow, they said it was fast sledding,” said Atascadero resident Stephanie Drexler, whose children are 6 and 7.

Atascadero Winter Wonderland

Atascadero Elks’ little train gave rides to chlldren shorter than four feet on Entrada Avenue. Photo by Heather Young

Throughout the Sunken Gardens and on Palma Avenue there were 55 vendors, which included local nonprofits, businesses and food, as well as crafts and other retail items. This was the first year that the event has been under the direction of the city. Previous organizers, Atascadero Main Street, requested the the city continue the event, Banish said.

The downtown area was filled with families – from newborns to great-grandparents. Lines for the snow slides grew as the night went on and snaked through the parking lots on east side of Palma Avenue near Traffic Way. People waited nearly an hour for a turn on the slide. The other attractions also had long waits, but not as long as the slides.

Next year’s Winter Wonderland event will take place on Friday, Dec. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. The city will also host Holiday Magic at Charles Paddock Zoo on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free with regular zoo admission. Attendees will get the opportunity to watch zoo animals unwrap special presents.

Atascadero Winter Wonderland

A snow slide with three runs allowed children, and adults, rides from 5 to 9 p.m. at Atascadero’s Winter Wonderland on Friday. Photo by Heather Young

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