Each year when October arrives I get the feeling that it just snuck up on me. Suddenly, the evenings are a bit darker, the surrounding hills turn a deeper gold and the Downtown business windows are filled with scarecrows, hay bales and gourds. It seems that at some point in time, my internal calendar would have recalibrated to prepare me for the winding down of summer in preparation for the holiday season but that is definitely not the case. Somehow, I get the feeling I’m not alone in this yearly surprise.
Reflecting on this phenomenon, it appears that the element of surprise lies in the general lifestyle we enjoy as SLO residents. All of the gorgeous Central Coast days on trail and Downtown coffee meetings with friends during late summer distract from the passing Dog Days of Summer. While our change in seasons is not as dramatic as it is on the East Coast, we do have a gradual change in the weather and length of daylight hours. Those changes slowly curb that inclination to get up early and hit the trails; I’m speaking from personal experience of course.
Many artists have referred to this time of year as the gentle melancholy of autumn because of the juxtaposition of warm colors and cool evenings. At the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association, we are here to make sure that we do our part to ward off the gloom of fall with the continuation of some of our favorite events. Each October we host three great events for people of all ages including Fire Prevention Night, Farm City Night and the Halloween Festivities. All three events take place at the weekly Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market with Fire Prevention Night kicking off our October 8th market.
Fire Prevention Night is an event that we have hosted for many years with local fire agencies and a strong emphasis on teaching children about being fire safe. Local firefighters and the various tools that they use on a daily basis are on site and available for children and adults to talk with and learn about. Every year this event is well attended and regarded as one of the best market events for kids. Not too far off from Fire Prevention night is the annual Farm City Night on October 22nd. In the long history of San Luis Obispo there has been a strong relationship between the urban lifestyle of the town center and the pastoral life of surrounding farms and ranches. This relationship is evidenced at every Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market but when Farm City Night comes to town, there is no denying that we still have some strong agricultural ties in our community. On that night market guests can see displays and demonstrations from Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences student clubs. Displays consist of the Tractor Pull Club tractor to roping dummies and have students on hand to share about how those projects relate to those folks in the community that are removed from the agriculture industry.
On October 29th, the week after Farm City Night, our beloved Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market will host our annual Halloween Festivities. As a part of those festivities, the Downtown Association coordinates with local businesses to create a safe and exciting trick or treating experience for children from 5-8 PM . Of course, we encourage the children to be in costume so that they can join us for the costume contest after they make a lap around Downtown. Children have an opportunity to let their creative personality shine through on stage in front of a fun panel of judges that put their heads together to award special honors for various categories and age groups. Getting to see those big personalities from little people on stage is certainly enough to combat that gentle melancholy of autumn.
Needless to say, Downtown in October is far from gloomy aside from a few scary costumes and decorated window displays. Please take the time to enjoy the slower pace of the changing season but be sure to get ready for the upcoming months because while most bears are hibernating our mascot, Downtown Brown, is just getting ready for the holidays and his big role at the 40th Annual Holiday Parade.
By: Dominic Tartaglia, Executive Director