Welcome to Tent City — A living 1916 Atascadero community

We are setting up for our biggest year yet, and we are pioneering new ground that will extend our celebration well into the evening on Saturday, Oct. 17.


What is Tent City?                     Get a discount on Tent City After Dark tickets!

Thanks to Brent Keast of Cherent Ranch Studio for interviewing, video recording and video editing.

In a wonderful interview Dianne Greenaway, founder of  Tent City, tells a bit of history and a look to the future. Tent City is a part of Colony Days that recreates Atascadero of 100 years ago with over 100 costumed actors living a day in early Atascadero. Be a part of Colony Days the third Saturday of October every year!

Tent City is full of opportunities to see the living history of Atascadero as it was in 1916.

Here is the latest schedule and what to expect. Like us on Facebook for updates!

Schedule is tentative, and subject to change. Please check back a week before the parade to view the final schedule.

Tent City — 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

  • E.G. and Mabel Lewis on hand to greet visitors following parade
  • Food and drink for purchase.
  • O’Malley’s Ice Cream Parlor
  • The Atascadero Tent City Mercantile/Atascadero News Outlet (Atascadero PEO)
  • Land Use/Apple products Exhibit  (ALPS/ANTA)
  • Fun and Games
  • Pie Eating Contest
  • The Federated Church (Community Church) will sing some favorite hymns of the era at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. at its tent.

Tent City After Dark FAQ

Q: Where did the idea for Tent City After Dark come from?

A: Tent City After Dark really took hold as a goal last year. After the crowds go home, the cast and crew hang out, with some camping in the tents on site. There are lights hanging, and it is always so lovely under the trees, and tent city takes on a romantic tone.  Playing music has become part of the deal, and it is a very special time in Tent City.

Q: What will be some of the highlights of Tent City After Dark?

A: This year, Tent City After Dark will feature a Bluegrass Music jam, professionally led by Last Stage West. We foresee a large main stage, then some little groups in various tents playing and visiting. The public is invited to participate in the music jam.

Q: Will there be food?

A: The Diner will be serving food and beer for sale, and we plan to have desserts and coffee, perhaps wine and hard apple cider also.

Q: What does the entrance fee cover?

A: The entrance fee covers the bluegrass jam band concert and enjoying Tent City After Dark at your leisure.

Q: What does this fundraiser go toward?

A: This is the inaugural fundraiser for Tent City to help defray our operating costs. For instance, we will pay approximately $1,000 for professional security, $500 for entertainment, $300 for fencing, $300 for promotional material, $300 costumes, etc. We currently operate under Colony Days’ 501(c) 3 non-profit license.

Q: What is new with Tent City this year?

A: We have some exciting new additions to Tent City this year. Phoebe Apperson Hearst will come to Tent City, and ride in the parade. E.G. And Mrs. Lewis had been guests of Wm R Hearst at Hearst Castle and the Hearst’s visited the Lewis’ in University City, Mo. E.G. Lewis was a notable proponent of women’s rights and publishing, and would have been contemporary with Phoebe.

A new exhibit will be the Atascadero Seed Company. There was a seed industry here during colony times that was expected to flourish (it didn’t last long due to the need for irrigation).

Q: What will people be able to see and experience at Tent City After Dark that they won’t get during the day?

A: For the evening piece, folks will be able to visit exhibits at their leisure, will have various seating areas for eating and visiting, and will enjoy a Bluegrass Music Jam. Food and beverages will be available for sale.

Q: Is there an age limit?

A: This is a family friendly event. All ages are welcome, but under 18 must be accompanied by adult.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: Tickets may be purchased in advance for $10 adult, $5 for youth. Tickets may be purchased online at colonydays.org. Cost at the gate will be $12 adult, $6 youth and $5 senior.

Q: Is there anything else worth noting?

A: In addition to Saturday’s events, we will host 400 school children on Friday for the educational piece, where they will receive a special educational docent-led tour of Tent City. Tour guides in Tent City include our young student players who do their job very capably. Visiting students, parents, and teachers get to visit exhibitors in small groups, getting a very small-group, hands-on experience which can include dance and games. A period-appropriate singalong is part of the deal, plus meeting historical people like E.G. and Mabel Lewis. The large visiting group gets divided into smaller groups, touring the Administration Building and the Colony History House as well as Tent City.  It is a little taste of what’s in store for those who come out the next day, Colony Days. We let them know what kinds of activities will be happening that day in Tent City and at the parade and in the park as well.