Top 10 Things That Happened in Paso Robles in 2012
There is always something going on in this town and 2012 offered some more-amazing-than-usual experiences and a couple of "firsts". Based on an unofficial poll, here are the Top Ten coolest things that happened in the world of Paso Robles tourism in 2012:
10. First Saturdays: Wine & The Arts is launched. This is perhaps the best pre-party activity in Paso Robles. The first Saturday evening of each month from 5-8pm, art galleries serve wine and wine tasting rooms showcase new artists, all in a 3-block strolling radius of the city park. The vibe is relaxed, the artists are friendly and the wine is fantastic. Get a current map here. (Monthly)
9. First Ever "Paso Robles Hotel Month" is introduced, exceeding all expectations and causing a scramble to find enough wine to fulfill guest demand. The Travel Paso Robles Alliance introduced the promotion that offers guests their third night in a Paso Robles hotel free along with a bottle of Paso Robles wine, to great response. February is once again Hotel Month and much wine has been set aside by Hope Family Wines to meet demand. (February)
8. Earth Day Food and Wine Festival continued its reign as the largest and most environmentally-friendly backyard barbeque on the planet. Over 1,000 wine-swilling and food-munching attendees generated less than 2 POUNDS of trash and saw an impromptu runaway-sheep roping demonstration. Impressive, delicious AND educational. (April).
7. Festival of the Arts brought in The Travel Channel’s “Sand Masters” for a day of epic sand sculpting, the group was able to spend a whole day sharing their sandbox and interacting with the public to offer their sand sculpting tips. Their experience in Paso Robles prompted them to incorporate crowd participation into their live appearances. (May, Memorial Day weekend)
6. Paso Robles Wine Festival celebrated its 30th Anniversary (and launches a hilarious new video that brings clown pathos back to modern cinema). The largest outdoor wine tasting of its kind celebrated the milestone with an outstanding food and wine experience, complete with farm-to-table bites, food trucks, killer music and many winemakers themselves pouring wine for guests. (May)
Bonus Awesomeness: Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest debuted in June, selling 350 tickets in 20 minutes flat and eventually selling out completely. Over 40 breweries and 20 restaurants served their best to an excited crowd of fans. Proceeds from the event went to benefit Paso Robles Pioneer Day, which made this event a win-win-win. (June)
5. Vina Robles Winery broke ground on a 3,300-seat amphitheatre with plans to host its first concert in 2013, thereby ushering in a new era of live music for Paso Robles, so that we have something to tide us over between the world-class line-ups at the California Mid-State Fair. (Opening in 2013)
4. Crush and Roll West extended its run as the only Cigar Festival on the west coast; brought in 18 cigar producers from all over the world (some even hand-roll their wares to order); 18 beer and wine producers, plus 3 distilled spirits producers, featured its annual poker tournament whose proceeds go to Project Manana and has become known as a modern-day couples retreat, complete with cigar and wine pairings. (September)
3. Artisan Restaurant announced plans to move to 12th and Pine and add patio seating, right on Paso’s famed downtown city park. Does it get any better than that for food and Paso lovers? (Announced in November, anticipated to move in spring of 2013).
2. Garagiste Festival brought in Chef Ludo Lefebvre as their guest chef, pretty much turning up the awesome factor to 11 in Paso Robles. The dinner sold out in no time, just like his pop-up restaurants all over LA do. Luckily, this one didn't crash any websites. (November)
1. First Ever “Paso Robles” iPhone App Launched – Filled with useful maps, photos, events info, links and more, the new Paso Robles app is a great tool for visitors to the area looking to explore and discover all that the central coast wine country has to offer! The app invites visitors to upload their own photos and comments directly from their smartphone or tablet, and share their discoveries with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.
So, what did we miss? What do you think was the coolest thing that happened to Paso Robles tourism in 2012?