Annual celebration moves to the first Saturday in October
Every October the residents of Atascadero past and present come together to celebrate the city’s roots with the annual Colony Days event. This year’s event — the 45th annual — will take place two weeks earlier than it has in the past, happening on the first Saturday in October rather than the third. This year’s theme is “Mudhole Follies.”
“We want to have fun,” Colony Days Committee Vice President Nic Mattson said. “Follies is about being silly, being foolish and we want to do that on as large-scale as possible, but also being responsible. The purpose of Colony Days is to bring the community together and celebrate each other and Atascadero. This year we want to do this with the spirit of silliness and fun.”
Entry into the parade is free and the deadline for entry applications is Monday, Sept. 17. The parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. Parade numbers and participant ribbons will be available for pickup on Friday, Oct. 5 during Tent City After Dark in Sunken Gardens or Saturday, Oct. 6 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the start of the parade route.
The Colony Days event on Saturday, Oct. 6 has something for everyone in the family starting with the Lions Club pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at the corner of El Camino Real and West Mall, the parade, vendors and activities in Sunken Gardens, Dogtoberfest, food and beverages and a historic re-enactment of Atascadero in the year 1916. The Atascadero Historical Society will also have its museum open during the day and docents will be giving tours of City Hall.
Colony Days event is organized by community volunteers who work year-round to put the event together. While new committee members are always needed, there are a variety of one-off volunteer opportunities available, from keeping the grounds of the event clean, to setting up and taking down chairs and more. Check out ColonyDays.org for more information on how to help.
T-shirts for the 45th annual Colony Days celebration are now available for pre-order on the website and will also be available the day of the event.
A bit of history
Atascadero was founded in 1913 by E.G. Lewis, who purchased the land that makes up Atascadero for $1 million from the United States Army. The Army used Atascadero, especially the area around the lake, for maneuvers. Lewis, who had also started University City in Missouri, was looking for another venture and found Atascadero to be the perfect place to start a planned community. He intentionally started the city inland from the ocean, but had Highway 41 built so residents could easily travel to the beach in Morro Bay.
Lewis was a businessman and developed the city with streets, sidewalks, gutters, water and power before the house were built. The first buildings constructed in Atascadero were the Printery building, where he produced his magazine Women’s Illustrated and the Atascadero News, and the City Administration Building.
The history city hall is a prominent feature of Colony Days, being right behind Sunken Gardens were the majority of the festivities take place.