It’s Time To Start Having Some Fun Again!!

By: City Manager, Rachelle Rickard

Welcome back! Doesn’t it feel great to get out of the house and be able to appreciate all that our community has to offer again? It seems like we’ve been gradually emerging after a very long hibernation, and I think we’re all ready to have a little sense of normalcy and pleasure back in our lives.  Atascadero is the perfect place to start enjoying the summer of 2021 with lots of fun and exciting activities!

Come out and enjoy the AZA accredited Charles Paddock Zoo, located at Atascadero Lake Park and home to hundreds of small animal species from around the world, including red pandas, monkeys, meerkats, parrots, a Malayan tiger, a variety of reptiles and so much more. Many of the zoo residents are part of globally managed programs to preserve animals and their habitats. What’s new at the Zoo? There’s several adorable baby flamingos and turtles, and you don’t want to miss seeing Wally, the Zoo’s alligator, in his new exhibit!

Ice Cream Zoofari is on Saturday July 17th from 5:30-8:00 pm, with music, activities and a tasty variety of all-you-can-eat sweet treats! Then on August 7th during regular Zoo hours from 10am-5pm, Wild About Art will be a fun-filled day of arts and crafts fun at the Zoo, with animal artists, face painting, workshops, local art for purchase and more!

There are plenty of other events to enjoy at Atascadero Lake Park throughout the summer, including our 2021 Saturday Summer Concert Series, being held most Saturday evenings beginning July 24th through the summer, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Lake Park bandstand. These concerts feature great local bands and a wonderful variety of music styles. All of our summer concerts are free and open to the public.  For even more fun at the Lake for the whole family, Mr. Putter’s Paddleboats is open every day throughout the summer from 10am-6pm, with paddleboats, kayaks and surrey bike rentals, along with cold drinks, candy and ice cream for sale!

Join the Summer Sizzle at Farmer’s Market, Wednesdays from 3-6pm at Sunken Gardens. Summer Sizzle includes live music, a featured Chef providing samples and a complimentary recipe with ingredients available at the market, and cider and wine tastings from Bristol’s and Lone Madrone. During the Mid-State Fair, the regular Farmer’s Market will be held without Summer Sizzle, but on August 4th, Summer Sizzle’s featured Chef will be Hungry Mother Food Truck and live music will be provided by Tennessee Jimmy!

Get ready to start your engines once again, at Cruisin’ Weekend! This very exciting two-day long event will be held August 20th-21st. The weekend kicks off Friday evening with the 28th Annual Hot El Camino Cruise Nite, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and featuring hundreds of beautiful classic cars cruising up and down El Camino Real for everyone to enjoy. The 5th Annual Dancing in the Streets will be back on Saturday evening from 5-9 pm! This summer concert blowout and dance party will be sure to have lots of head-bopping-feet-tapping music and a variety of live bands, located throughout the Downtown.

Enjoy more great family entertainment at Movies in the Gardens, which will be held on Saturday evenings in August-September at Sunken Gardens. Bring the kids, some low back chairs and blankets to sit back, relax and enjoy a warm summer evening with a movie under the stars!  The schedule includes Scoob (PG) on August 7th; Raya the Last Dragon (PG) on August 14th; The Secret Garden (PG) on August 28th; and then Solo: A Star Wars Story (PG-13) on September 4th.  All family-friendly movies begin at about 8:00 p.m.

Patriot’s Day, on Saturday, September 11, 2021, will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We will move that evening’s Summer Concert from the Lake Park over to Sunken Gardens and Historic City Hall, to have a very special evening including patriotic music and an Estrella Warbirds Freedom Flight flyover.  More information about this event will be shared soon.

And last but not least, we’re very excited that the Cornhole Tournament is back! On Friday, September 17th the Central Coast Challenge will be held at the Ravine Water Park in Paso Robles, at their Miniature Golf area. Then on Saturday, September 18th the Showdown Main Tournament will be held in Atascadero at Sunken Gardens!  You can find all of the scheduling information and other important details for these activities and much more at

As always, if you have questions regarding this or other City related activities, please feel free to email me at

City Manager, Rachelle Rickard

Rachelle Rickard is a native of California and a nearly 30 year resident of Atascadero. She graduated with a business degree from California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University in San Luis Obispo. In February 1997, She took a job as the Accountant with the City of Atascadero and was promoted to the position of Director of Administrative Services. At the time of her appointment to the position of Administrative Services Director for the City of Atascadero, she was the youngest person ever appointed to that role; she was also the first female Department Head ever appointed within the City. Rachelle Rickard was appointed to the position of City Manager of the City of Atascadero in June, 2013.