Written by: Executive Director Dominic Tartaglia
As a kid I remember October as one of the most exciting months of the year. The weather was changing from warm summer days to brisk mornings with winds blowing down the streets like a gentle reminder that Thanksgiving was just around the corner and Hallowe’en was here. There was always that last minute scramble to figure out a costume for the costume contest and carnival at the school that I was now settled in at and busy with studies. As I have grown older not much has changed. I still scramble for a last minute costume and look forward to the brisk jogs in the morning and cool evenings with a warm cocoa or an Oktoberfest beer.
For many people this tradition holds true, October brings out their jeans and sweaters and they trade in their flip flops at Port San Luis for a pair of boots and a trip to Avila Valley Barn. Year after year, that tradition continues and it’s no different for Downtown San Luis Obispo. As you will see this month, the change of seasons also brings a change of styles in the store windows and on the menu boards of local coffee shops as pumpkin spices and ciders make their way back into the hands of Downtown shoppers. Our office will also stay true to our roots and continue our annual October events and Downtown promotions in conjunction with other community groups.
Starting out on October 9 the Downtown Association will host our annual Fire Prevention Night at Thursday Night Farmers’ Market where local fire agencies will be on the street helping to promote fire safety and education. For all of the kids that are dreaming of becoming a firefighter someday, they have a chance to meet the local men and women that put their life on the line each time a fire or emergency breaks out. Kids are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the firefighters and equipment to help them learn the dangers associated with fire and how to stay safe in the case of an emergency.
Firefighters won’t be the only attraction at the Market this October, pumpkins are back by popular demand as well. In particular the SLO County Great Pumpkin Contest is back in Mission Plaza on October 16 where the biggest and most unusual pumpkins from across the Central Coast are weighed and critiqued. Last year several tons of pumpkins were delivered to Mission Plaza to be weighed and put on display for the public to admire. Since 2006 this mid-October event has complimented the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market and set the tone for even more pumpkin exposure with Pumpkins on Parade. Pumpkins on Parade is a special event occurring over the period of two Thursday Night Farmers’ Markets where the public can see a variety of different pumpkins and pose for a photo among the seasonally themed backdrop of straw and pumpkins.
In addition to Pumpkins on Parade on October 23, Cal Poly will be out with their exciting and interactive display of clubs from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. With programs and clubs ranging from Agricultural Science to Tractor Pull you can expect to find something of interest for everybody including information on local crops, like pumpkins. If you come down to the Market on that night you can’t miss the festivities, simply look for the large Tractor Pull Club tractor and all of the green and gold.
To finish off the month the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association will again host our Hallowe’en Festivities for local children at the Market. Children are given an extra night to don their best Hallowe’en costumes and participate in two exciting events. The Downtown Hallowe’en Trick-or-Treat is back this year with new businesses participating and the same great fun for kids as they go from business to business in search of the best candy and goodies so they can preload on that sugar for the much needed energy they will use on stage at the costume contest. Various categories exist for kids to show off their costumes in an effort to compete for prizes and the honor of being crowned best dressed.
This year as the winds of October blow in I am looking forward to brisk morning walks to work, the additional dusting of nutmeg on every drink available, piles of pumpkins and gourds at the Market, festive window designs and of course the smile on the faces of kids as they fill their bags with candy and tour the Market in costume. Come and enjoy all that October has to offer in Downtown San Luis Obispo.