SLO County Holiday Events: Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting



Are you ready for the magic of the holidays?

From festive parades to Christmas lights and shopping windows, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season in San Luis Obispo County.

Many events take place outside, making them safer options for residents looking to limit their risk of contracting COVID-19. The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department’s indoor mask mandate remains in effect, so bring a face mask for any indoor event.

Here are some of the upcoming holiday events in San Luis Obispo County this year.

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Ebenezer Scrooge (Billy Breed), center, lifts Tiny Tim (Corbin Brown) in a scene from “A Christmas Carol” during a previous production of “The Holiday Extravaganza” at the Great American Vaudeville & Melodrama in Oceano. The popular show returns for the 2021 holiday season. Courtesy of TGAM

“Holiday extravagance”, Oceano

What: Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville’s beloved holiday show features a one-act version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, as well as a fractured fairy tale opera and the Holiday Vaudeville magazine. This is a “family tradition designed to bring a year of smiles to you and your loved ones,” according to the website.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday; until December 31.

Or: Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville, 1827 Pacific Blvd., Oceano

Cost: $ 32 to $ 36

Info: 805-489-2499 or

The San Luis Obispo County JCC Federation celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with a candle-lighting ceremony at Mission Plaza. The first night candle was lit in memory of the late Third District Supervisor Adam Hill. David Middlecamp [email protected]

Hanukkah Town Center, San Luis Obispo

What: The Jewish community of San Luis Obispo will meet on Sunday at the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, according to the JCC-Federation of SLO. Join in the celebration as community members help light the public menorah each Hanukkah night. Live streaming of the events is available on the JCC-Federation of SLO Facebook page.

When: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday to December 5

Or: Mission San Luis Obispo, 989 Chorro Street, San Luis Obispo

Cost: To free

Info: 805-426-5465 or

Paul and Beth Wagner of Truck-N-Tunes sing holiday songs as they walk through downtown San Luis Obispo during the 43rd Annual SLO Downtown Holiday Parade 2018. Joe Johnston [email protected]

Holiday Parade, San Luis Obispo

What: Kick off the holiday season with this classic holiday parade, now in its 45th year. The theme for the 2021 parade is California Dreamin ‘- colorful floats, music and more.

When: 7 to 9 p.m., December 3

Or: The parade route begins on Chorro and Palm streets and winds through downtown San Luis Obispo, ending at the intersection of Nipomo and Monterey streets.

Cost: To free

Info: 805-541-0286 or

Light up the city center and visit Art, Wine and Brew, Atascadero

What: Join the countdown to illuminate historic Atascadero Town Hall. The Academy of Fine Arts Honorary Choir and Atascadero Community Orchestra will perform holiday music in the Sunken Gardens, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there to greet the children. Free hay, hot chocolate and fire truck rides are also in store.

While family-friendly activities take place in Sunken Gardens, adults can sip and shop at businesses in downtown Atascadero during the Art, Wine and Brew Tour.

When: 5:30 p.m., December 3

Or: Town Hall, 6500 Palma Ave., Atascadero

Cost: To free; $ 20 to $ 25 for the art, wine and beer tour

Info: 805-470-3490 or

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The Morro Bay Illuminated Boat Parade took place in Morro Bay Harbor on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Laura Dickinson The gallery

Morro Bay illuminated boat parade

What: Fishing boats, yachts and other boats adorned with thousands of twinkling lights return to the waters of Morro Bay to spread holiday cheer, according to the Rotary Club of Morro Bay. The boats will leave from the Embarcadero.

When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4

Or: L’Embarcadero, Morro Bay

Cost: To free


Christmas in Cayucos

What: Celebrate Christmas throughout the month of December in Cayucos. The season kicks off with a lighted tree, singers from the Cayucos Community Church, and a visit from Santa and Mother Christmas on December 5th. hours. Additionally, downtown businesses will participate in a Holiday Decorating Contest sponsored by the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce.

When: Tree lighting, 5 p.m., December 5; Christmas open day in Cayucos, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., December 11.

Or: At the corner of Ocean Avenue and D Street, Cayucos; various places in the city center.

Cost: To free


Olde Towne Nipomo Christmas with family

What: Now in its fifth year, the Olde Towne Nipomo family Christmas will feature a hometown parade, tree lighting ceremony, photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and more. Hot food, drinks and holiday gifts will be sold at the Christmas market starting at 2 p.m., and a 24-foot-tall Christmas tree will light up at 6:15 p.m.

When: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 5

Or: Various places, old town district of Nipomo. Christmas market at the corner of Tefft Street and Thompson Road and a parade down Tefft Street.

Cost: To free

Info: 805-896-8972

Hospitality Day, Cambria

What: Enter the shops decorated for the holidays as you stroll Main Street and other places in downtown Cambria. The Sons of American Legion Post No. 432 will be distributing free hot dogs outside the Cambria Chamber of Commerce office, 767 Main Street, starting at 3 p.m. and Santa will be in front of the room from 4 p.m. A procession featuring classic cars and a calliope will leave the parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Building at 1000 Main Street in Cambria at approximately 4 p.m.

When: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 6

Or: Various locations, Main Street, Cambria

Cost: To free

Info: 805-927-3624 or

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Homes decorated for the holidays in San Luis Obispo in 2020 included Marty Henderson’s house on Pereira Drive. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

“It’s a wonderful life”, San Luis Obispo

What: The classic holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is reimagined as a 1940s radio show in this play, adapted from the book “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern. The San Luis Obispo Repertory Theater production features live sound effects and a handful of actors playing dozens of roles. The theater requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday; December 10-18

Or: SLO Repertory Theater, 888 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo

Cost: $ 20 to $ 25

Info: 805-786-2440 or

Reindeer race, San Luis Obispo

What: Run, run Rudolph! San Luis Obispo County’s Friday Night Live Partnership is sponsoring a 5-kilometer run that begins at Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo. The route follows the railroad to Orcutt Road, returns to Mitchell Park via Broad Street and Santa Barbara Street, and runs mostly on footpaths and sidewalks. Runners are encouraged to dress in their favorite holiday outfit to help get the community in the spirit.

When: 9 to 11:30 a.m., December 11

Or: Mitchell Park, 1400 Osos St., San Luis Obispo

Cost: $ 25, additional $ 5


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A house in Paso Robles is decorated for the holidays at the Victorian Vine Street Showcase in 2020. The showcase returns as a drive-through event in 2021. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

Victorian storefront in Vine Street, Paso Robles

What: Vine Street’s 35th Annual Victorian Storefront will be a little different this year. Rather than walking down Vine Street to see the historic homes lit up in their Christmas best, visitors can get into their vehicles for a drive-only event, said Norma Moye, president of the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association. Father Christmas and Mrs Claus, along with Ebenezer Scrooge and the Snow King and Queen, will be driving up and down the streets to spread Christmas cheer.

When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., December 11

Or: Vine Street between 8th and 21st streets, Paso Robles

Cost: To free

Info: 805-238-4103 or

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Mrs. Santa Claus, also known as Delma Meyer, hands candy canes to Evan Echard while his mother, Mary Echard, and brother Ian from Atascadero watch Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero in 2017. The zoo is hosting its annual Holiday Magic. event on December 18, 2021. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

Holiday Magic at Charles Paddock Zoo, Atascadero

What: Zookeepers replace Santa’s elves to prepare gifts for some of the animals on Santa’s Beautiful List at Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero.

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., December 18

Or: Charles Paddock Zoo, 9100 Morro Road, Atascadero

Cost: $ 10, $ 9 for seniors, $ 8 for children aged 5 to 13; $ 5 children 3 to 4 years old; children 2 and under are free.

Info: 805-461-5080 or

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