Photo courtesy of the paso robles downtown main street association
A Christmas Tale as Old as Time
If you grew up in the small town of Paso Robles, California, you were automatically thrown into a community rich with heritage pride. From attending the Pioneer Day Parade every October, to the local California Mid-State Fair every summer, there is nothing Paso Robles community members love more than their traditions. This is why I found myself curious about the origin of Paso’s most famous tradition yet; the Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase.
To better understand the history of this widely known and incredibly anticipated event, I went to the main gal herself, Norma Moye, executive director of the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association office. Unbeknownst to me, Moye was actually the creator behind this event. “This year will be our 33rd Vine Steet Victorian Showcase”, Moye starts off. I am happy to tell her that I grew up going to this showcase and look forward to it every year. Her tone is delighted, which encourages me to ask more.
I ask Moye how the Vine Street Victorian Christmas showcase came to be to which she surprisingly replies, “Well, I own a home on 18th and Vine–a two story Victorian–and I decided, it would be kind of neat to have an old-fashioned Christmas and since there are other old homes on Vine, it just made sense.” This was complete news to me as I have lived in this town and known of Moye for years and never knew she was the one who both created this fantastic event as well as lived right in the heart of our beloved Paso Robles.
Eager to learn more and slightly curious as to how she [Moye] would answer this question I promptly asked her how she would describe the Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase to someone who had never been. Her answer was nothing short of magical. “It’s always the second Saturday in December, this year it will be held December 14th, and the streets are closed down from eighth to 21st street. All the homes are lit up beautifully and there is entertainment that takes place on the homes lawn.” This entertainment Moye is referring to ranges from local bands to dance performers to carolers and sometimes even live nativity scenes. Admittedly, I have performed more dance routines and carols than I can count on both hands throughout my life at the Vine Street Christmas walk. Moye also mentions there are usually lots of hot coco and apple cider vendors on the streets that make the cold evenings warm and bright.
Moye excitedly includes the very special guests the Vine Street Victorian Christmas Showcase hosts, “This year is just a drive through but you’ll still have to watch for Scrooge and Santa and Mrs. Santa, the King and Queen that ride up and down the street in their sleigh.” Mr. Scrooge is arguably the most favored attraction at the Vine Street Christmas walk. Kate Smith, owner of Amstrdm Coffee Shop downtown Paso Robles recalls her favorite memory at all Vine Street walks saying, “My favorite was always passing by the Ebenezer Scrooge house where he is screaming at all the kids and as a child, myself and all the other kids try to yell as much Christmas spirit at this crotchety old man and you start to see a glimmer of a smile but he never really lets up." Smith also revealed that the original house he had started in sold and the new owners, aware of the famous Vine Street Walk, decided to keep the Scrooge spirit alive so they invite him back every year to play the part.
As someone who has attended this event 24 out of my 25 years of life, I look forward to it every year. Although certain covid-19 modifications have been made for this year's event after last year's event was cancelled, the community is excited to join the festivities surrounding the Christmas season as tradition is of course, the staple of Paso Robles.