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The Tribune

What will Memorial Day look like in SLO County this year? Here’s a roundup of events
Memorial Day events in store include a pancake breakfast, a tribute to military heroes and drive-through ceremonies.

Are you ready for Memorial Day weekend?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of San Luis Obispo County events traditionally held on the holiday weekend won’t happen this year. Those include the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival, Art in the Park in Morro Bay and Memorial Day commemoration ceremonies in Paso Robles, Cambria and other communities.

Some tried-and-true Memorial Day weekend events will happen, however, albeit with some modifications. Ceremonies honoring the military dead are planned in Atascadero, Los Osos and San Luis Obispo.

Military aircraft with the Estrella Warbirds Museum’s Freedom Flight group will conduct flyovers at six San Luis Obispo County locations between 11 a.m. and about noon Monday.

To help you plan, here are some of the holiday highlights.

Arroyo Grande

Organizers are seeking help in decorating military graves with flags starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Arroyo Grande District Cemetery on Halcyon Road.

The historic Village of Arroyo Grande will hold a Paint the Village Purple shopping fundraiser during Memorial Day weekend, with a portion of sales going to the Kristin Smart Scholarship Fund. Look for purple balloons to identify participating businesses.

Named after Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, who vanished Memorial Day weekend in 1996, the Justice For Kristin-funded scholarship gives young women financial help to realize their dreams.


A ceremony will start at noon Monday at the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial, 9029 Morro Road in Atascadero.

In addition to an Estrella Warbirds flyover, the event features a Welcome Home Military Heroes flag line, color guard and “Taps” performed by San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong and his sons Derek and Darin.

“They’ve been playing ‘Taps’ for us for years, and we’re honored to have them here for us again,” organizer Cheryl Hertan said.

The guest speaker will be retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ray Johnson, one of two recipients of Distinguished Veteran of the Year awards in 2020. Johnson “served 22 years in the Navy and did two deployments in Vietnam,” Hertan said.


American Legion Post No. 432 won’t be hosting its annual Memorial Day ceremony, but Cambria’s East Village will be bustling on Saturday when two Heritage Day events happen on Center Street between Burton Drive and Bridge Street.

The Cambria Historical Society’s Heritage Day celebration run from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Cambria Historical Museum, 2251 Center St. Highlights include art and plant sales as well as a woodcarving demonstration, live music by Marcus DiMaggio and docent- or self-guided tours of the museum, located in the circa-1870 Guthrie-Bianchini House.

The Greenspace Creekside Reserve Treasure Bazaar runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 2264 Center St.

Artist Holly Ludwigson will give a demonstration of slab building, and there will be clay projects for children. The restored 19th Century Chinese Temple will be open for tours.

Los Osos

Los Osos Valley Memorial Park will host a drive-through Memorial Day event between 10 a.m. and noon Monday.

Estrella Warbirds planes will fly over the memorial park, located at 2260 Los Osos Valley Road in Los Osos, at about 11:30 a.m. There’s also a free hot dog lunch, served by Bay Osos Kiwanis members.

Attendees are encouraged to decorate their cars.

Paso Robles

The Paso Robles District Cemetery, 45 Nacimiento Lake Drive, won’t hold its annual Memorial Day event for the second year in a row.

However, there will be a drive-through avenue of the flags available Saturday through Monday. The Estrella Warbirds will do a flyover at about 11 a.m. Monday.

Pismo Beach

The city of Pismo Beach is celebrating its 75th anniversary diamond jubilee year.

The Pismo Beach Lions Club will hold a pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Pismo Beach Lions Clubhouse at 190 Cypress. Tickets are $7 or $4 for children; veterans eat for free.

A Memorial Day ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Monday on the Pismo Beach Pier, 101 Pomeroy Ave.

San Luis Obispo

Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum, 801 Grand Avenue at Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo, is reopening on Memorial Day. The museum will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, according to museum marketing director Dan Pittaway.

Museum tours will feature displays about local veterans; the facility will be open for tours Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The museum partnered with American Legion Post No. 66 for a Memorial Day program starting at 11 a.m., complete with an Estrella Warbirds flyover scheduled for 11:22 a.m.

Also in store are historic military vehicles and a bounce house for the kids. After the service, the Legion will provide hot dogs and burgers.

Santa Margarita

No formal events are planned Monday at Santa Margarita Cemetery, 606 E Pozo Road, but the Estrella Warbirds are to fly over at about 11:12 a.m.


The Estrella Warbirds will fly over the Templeton District Cemetery at about 11:04 a.m. Monday. No formal Memorial Day events are planned.

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