Cambria Christmas market open at the hotel, to guests


Here is bad news for fans of the Cambria Christmas Market.

The only people able to attend the popular holiday event in 2021 will be those staying at the Cambria Pines Lodge, guests attending a special German-style dinner at the hotel, or guests in two other accommodations owned by Moonstone Hotel Properties.

It’s similar to how the market operated in 2020 during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when guidelines from the Can Luis Obispo County Public Health Department made it difficult for the event to open to the public.

This year, however, there was another cause: the market did not have a permit that would allow members of the public to attend.

“We are not required to obtain a permit to decorate for Christmas,” Cambria Pines Lodge owner Dirk Winter confirmed by email early Sunday morning.

However, he added, “We will not be selling tickets for Clear Vision only.”

The Christmas market was originally scheduled to start on November 26 at Cambria Pines Lodge, 2905 Burton Drive in Cambria, and end on December 23.

Based on traditional German Christmas markets, the Cambria Christmas Market traditionally features more than two million lights, elaborate holiday-themed exhibits and traditional German food and drink, as well as live music, a market in outdoors with vendors and a chance for children to meet Santa Claus.

The market applied for a permit from San Luis Obispo County to operate this year, requesting an extension of a previous permit that expired at the end of 2020. This request was approved by the county planning commission in a hearing postponed October 22.

Then, in the first week of November, three appeals were filed against the commission’s decision, according to Russell Read, an attorney for Cambria.

The appeal process apparently did not allow sufficient time to put the hearing on the county supervisors ‘agenda and then provide for the required 10-day period during which the supervisors’ decision could be appealed to the county. the California Coastal Commission.

Read was one of the people who filed an appeal.

He said by telephone on Saturday that his 10-page appeal “lists in very strict order the reasons why the Christmas market does not comply with the regulations on the coastal land use zone.”

For example, he said, “the market lighting is not compliant, the signage is not compliant, the fact that the market with 1,000 feet of residences is not compliant …” .

In the appeal, Read listed issues with the county not meeting deadlines for temporary events as well as noise levels, water use, inadequate fencing and screens, and traffic control at Burton Drive and Patterson Place.

He also claimed that the market is a “COVID super-spreader event.” “

By midday Sunday, more than 230 people had signed a petition titled “Stop the Cambria Lodge Christmas Market 2021”. Read’s appeal is on this site; he wrote in a Sunday email that “the momentum is increasing ..”

Market Coordinator Mike Arnold emailed Cambria Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mel McColloch on Friday to let him know that “the permit has been appealed, we will therefore not operate the Christmas market for the public this year “.

McColloch said on Saturday that Arnold told him the 2021 event will not include vendor booths.

From Sunday, the Christmas Market site in had not been updated with information about opening the event only to hotel and dinner guests.

The website notes that tickets are “sold out” and “tickets at the door are not available”.

“Don’t worry, you can still attend the event by reserving for dinner” for one of four seats per night at the lodge or by booking a special overnight package, “the site says.

According to a receptionist at Cambria Pines Lodge on Saturday, it’s not uncommon for tickets to already sell out in early November.

Asked what happens to people who have already purchased Christmas Market tickets online, Winter referred The Tribune to Arnold, who had failed to respond to multiple inquiries on Sunday morning.

This story was originally published November 7, 2021 9:35 a.m.

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Kathe Tanner has written about the people and places of SLO County’s North Coast since 1981, first as a columnist and then also as a journalist. Her career has included stints as a bakery owner, public relations manager, radio host, trail guide, and jewelry designer. She has lived in Cambria for over four decades, and if it happens in town, Kathe knows it.

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