Atascadero News file photo • Two Elks Lodge members carry a pot of beans to the serving table at Tuesdays in the Park. The barbecue is followed by an Atascadero Community Band Concert. · More than 400 drive up and down El Camino Real between Curbaril Avenue and Traffic Way during the annual Hot El Camino Cruise Nite.
ATASCADERO — Atascadero will be busy through the month of August. Between happenings at Atascadero Lake Park, Sunken Gardens, Charles Paddock Zoo and most of El Camino Real, there’s something for everyone.
Concerts in the Park has taken place every Saturday since July 7 at Atascadero Lake Park bandstand and will continue through Aug. 11. The free rock and blues concerts take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and folks are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
City of Atascadero Recreation Supervisor Paula Anton said that events such as Concerts in the Park remain free because of event sponsors. Concerts in the Park’s largest sponsor this year was H&R Block.
“For us, we love going to the concerts,” H&R Block’s Billy Gallant said. “We actually go to most of them throughout the county.”
The H&R Block in Atascadero, Gallant said, is owned by his mother, Deborah, and has been family owned and operated for many years.
“H&R Block corporate does all the big TV stuff,” Gallant said. “But because of where we live, here on the Central Coast we’re always trying to be local. We always have these great downhome events.”
If that’s not enough music at Atascadero Lake Park, Tuesday Evenings in the Park will go through Aug. 28. The weekly event takes place on — you guessed it — Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. It started because the Atascadero Community Band practiced there and somebody had the bright idea to turn it into an event.
The Atascadero Elks barbecue crew prepares the meals that are hosted by various community organizations.
Barbecued chicken and sirloin with beans, bread, salad and beverage is served from 5 to 7 p.m. Each meal is hosted by a different community service group, with monies earned from the meals benefiting that group and its efforts around town.
Another family-friendly event coming this way is Movies in the Gardens. Every Saturday from Aug. 4 through Aug. 25 beginning at about 8:15 p.m., a family-friendly movie will show on a big screen at the Sunken Gardens. Folks are again encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets — Atascadero cools off pretty quickly, after all. A snack bar, hosted by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Teens at Work, will sell baked goods, drinks and other treats.
The first movie shown will be “Winnie the Pooh,” on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Atascadero Mutual Water Company will also have two educational gatherings. On Monday, Aug. 13 at the water company, 5005 El Camino Real, General Manager John Neil will give a talk on the history of the water company. The presentation is called “A Century of Service.”
Neil said it’s a simple idea: he went through 100 years of water board minutes and pulled the important or funny stuff.
“It gives kind of a perspective on what was going on in Atascadero at the time,” he said. “For example, in the ‘40s, there was a worry the water company would lose employees to Camp Roberts.”
Wages were raised in an effort to keep people, he said, and it makes a great example of the types of things he’ll go over.
Then, later on Friday, Aug. 17 beginning at 8:45 a.m., Neil will give a tour of the water production and treatment facilities. He said it’s a field trip.
“The intent there is to show people the production, treatment facilities and how we’re taking Nacimento water and how we supply them with drinking water,” Neil said. “I’m really proud of what we have down there, and I’d like to share that.”
Not to be left out of the fun, Charles Paddock Zoo will have its second annual Brew at the Zoo beer event. On Saturday, Aug. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m., microbrew beer from TapIt and Central Coast Brewing will be on tap. The cost is $30 per person or $5 for designated drivers.
And then there’s arguably the largest event in Atascadero. The 20th annual Hot El Camino Cruise Nite will take place on Friday, Aug. 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. up and down El Camino Real. It’s followed up with the Midstate Cruisers car show at the Lake Park on Saturday, Aug. 18 from about 10 a.m. until it dies down.
Anton said that Cruise Nite, which occurs from Traffic Way to Curbaril Avenue, often sees about 400 cars on the main drag. She also said there are so many spectators, the city doesn’t bother with a headcount on them.
Molly Pitcher co-owner Kendall Bryson said the brewpub, located across El Camino Real from Sunken Gardens, is located perfectly for the event and will stay open for it. Other business owners said similar things, especially since Atascadero Main Street will host dancing on Entrada Avenue after the cruising is through. A D.J. will supply the music.
The car show on Saturday is free for spectators, but Mid-state Cruisers President Duane Powell said that after covering the club’s costs, any money earned is donated to local charity organizations such as Loaves & Fishes, ECHO and Atascadero High School’s automotive program.
“We gave away $5,500 last year,” Powell said. “We had 10 community projects, voted on by members, and [each one] got $550.”
Powell said that the car show itself usually sees about 200 cars and that just about any show car is welcomed.
“When I was a kid admiring cars, we didn’t call them rat-rods, they were just hot rods,” Powell said. “Normally young people would own those because you have to have agility to get in and out. I have to admit, I like their creativeness, their resourcefulness. … You just never know who’s going to arrive at the park.”
For more information about Concerts in the Park, go to www.atascadero.org. For more information about Tuesday Evenings in the Park, go to www.elks2733.org and www.atascaderochamber.com. For more information about Atascadero Mutual Water Company’s events, go to www.amwc.us. For more information about Hot El Camino Cruise Night, go to www.atascadero.org. For more information on the Midstate Cruisers car show, go to www.midstatecruizers.org.
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