Annual festival includes wine, beer,  cider and spirits

After 23 years, the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival has expanded its reach to officially include cider, beer and spirits in addition to wine.

“We just decided it’s time to expand our festival — we have cideries, distilleries, wineries and breweries in Atascadero,” Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Chair Barbie Butz said. “When our wine festival was conceived 24 years ago, we said, ‘we have wineries all around us, let’s bring the wineries to the Lake Park.’ The idea was to bring people to Atascadero.”

The wine festival got its seed money — though it never needed it — from the zoo society and has been funding specific projects at the zoo ever since. The most recent zoo project funded by the wine festival committee is the red panda exhibit, which opened recently.

While the festival has had beer, cider and spirits for a number of years, this will be the first year that they have been encompassed in the event’s publicity.

“The word ‘reserve’ doesn’t mean [the vendors] will be pouring their reserve wines or beer, but more that it means a special experience,” Butz said. “It’s still the same Lakeside Wine Festival conceived 24 years ago.”

The wine festival committee has been collaborating with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce for a number of years and continue to bring more variety to the long-standing, popular event.

“The wine festival wouldn’t happen without the core group that started it and have continued to be involved,” Atascadero Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Emily Reneau said.

The three-day festival weekend begins Friday, June 21 at 5 p.m. with the Atascadero Kiwanis Club hosting the annual Mayor’s Winemaker Dinner at the Pavilion on the Lake. Saturday begins with the annual golf tournament hosted by the Atascadero Optimist Club at 8 a.m. and Wine’d Up, yoga and mimosas, with Kennedy Club Fitness. The main event at the Lake Park begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 and goes until 8 p.m. and will include food, art, wine, cider, beer, spirits and more. Sunday is “fun day” with events at participating businesses around the area.