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Pandemic shutters Pinedorado Days for second year

The annual Lions Club event would have been celebrating its 72nd year.
Posted at 1:44 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 22:44:26-04

For decades, Labor Day weekend in Cambria has been marked by festivities hosted by the Lions Club.

But this year, the annual Pinedorado Days celebration has been canceled for the second year in a row.

Event organizer and Lions Club president Greg Aitkens said the current COVID-19 case surge is the reason the three-day event was canceled.

"It became unrealistic to run it," Aitkens said, "because we couldn't figure out how to manage safety for everybody."

In normal years, Pinedorado Days includes a parade, a barbecue, food booths, kid games and rides. It draws Cambria locals, Central Coast residents and visitors from out of town.

Aitkens said a message from the school district was the deciding factor.

"A few days ago, the local school district leadership recommended all students stay away from large events," he told KSBY.

Without the students, Aitkens said, the event wouldn't be the same.

"I couldn't imagine trying to run it without local school kids," he said.

It was not an easy decision. The event would have been in its 72nd year, and Aitkens said that a lot of people are disappointed the Cambria tradition will be canceled.

Aitkens, the parade chairman, had booked 50 groups to participate in this year's parade when the Lion Club chose to cancel the event.

He did say that the group has discussed the possibility of a parade in early December to usher in the holidays. The planning is "very, very preliminary," Aitkens said, and will depend on the COVID situation.

The Lions Club consists of 80 volunteers who join together to serve the community. They are located along Main St. in Cambria.

Past Lions Club events include an annual Christmas program, Camp Reach for the Stars and the weekly Friday farmers market. In the initial wave of the pandemic, the the group used money they had raised to help get food to families in need.

When asked to look ahead to bringing back Pinedorado Days in 2022, Aitkens sounded hopeful.

"If we can do it, we will do it," he said.