Tag Archives: Americana

Paso Robles Pioneer Day Is Pure Americana

Every year since the Depression, the town of Paso Robles relives its heritage.

The northern half of San Luis Obispo County (North County), California, is represented in this example of what I like to call real or pure Americana. Paso Robles itself is about 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean with the Coastal Range between the city and beach. It’s roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Mentioned this briefly last year, but “Pioneer Day” started at the beginning of the Depression when obviously most were struggling. The community geared up the day to celebrate what people did have back then and that was friendship. So they tied in the commemoration of the cities heritage with a community day and incorporating the theme “Leave Your Pocketbook at Home”. The town got together organizations, churches, businesses along with individuals and gave a little something back to the citizenry.

So this big “thank you” to the town folk has occurred every year since.

About mid-morning, a parade starts going around our city park, which is centered in the middle of town. This parade is a story unto itself. When I first saw this, it was almost surreal – giant steam-powered tractors which are the biggest stars of the show, come puffing down the street. I mean giant; like a couple stories tall. I can’t really describe it because it feels like you stepped back in time.

Coming from not just North County but far beyond, these are museum pieces and you have to realize that these behemoths, a few with one-cylinder, yes one cylinder, are actually still running over 100 years after they first were built. It’s hard to believe these vehicles can run and some of them are absolutely beautiful.

Every tractor you can imagine drives by along with lots of bands and of course the town’s officials and business people. Classic cars, steamrollers, harvesters and fire engines of different sorts also parade around and there are some cool horse-drawn vehicles and they too might have dignitaries on them.

There’s more

After the parade, the lines form for the bean feed – it’s free so you can imagine what it looks like when all of a sudden several thousands people stand in line in our city’s park. Then you can mill around downtown or go to the Museum (Pioneer Park) and look at some of the vehicles up close. There’s also a horseshoe throwing contest. Don’t forget, there are tasting rooms in every direction.

There are all kinds of things to do like watch wood carvers, shelling and grinding corn, make butter, watch a smith shoe a horse and basket-making. There’s probably more but you get the picture.

If you’re into antiques and friendly socializing the way it used to be, this event is perfect. It truly is everything that a small town or community can offer. The atmosphere is fun and special … pure Americana.

Additional source – Check out some great pics here

See ya ’round pardner,

Daryle W. Hier





Route 66, Burma Shave And Wine

I have a certain amount of knowledge and information about Route 66 and Burma Shave because of our background in cars and motorsports.  Heck, some years back we were able to acquire special permission from the owner of the trademark to use the legendary Burma Shave jingles – which in fact we still possess.

I’ve lived in wine country for several years now – however, to tell you the God’s honest truth, I did not know there was any connection between the famous highway called Route 66, Burma Shave and wine.  Still, indirectly or otherwise there are links between the renowned road, shaving products company and the always delectable nectar-of-the-gods called wine.

The highway – often called ‘The Mother Road’ – runs from Chicago down through and across Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma before traversing up the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico and then Arizona before coming down into the desert and ending up on the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California.  See related article below for more info on Route 66 and Burma Shave.

Route 66 wine

Admittedly, it’s hard to contrive the idea that the lonesome, dusty and sometimes desolate Route 66 Highway would ever have wine associated with it.  The fact that there are some from the Midwest that left places like Oklahoma for better farming in California, makes the idea of vintners working the land in the Southern and Central Plains to create wine seems unusual.

When I did little extra snooping around to see if in fact there was a connection, not only did I Route 66 Wine Trailfind a blend of interest between the road and wine but also a winery trail guide.  Yes, you heard that right – if you want to travel the Mother Road and you’re a lover of wine, or maybe just need an excuse to travel Route 66 while imbibing along the way, here’s a Route 66 Directory of wineries along the famed highway.  I don’t know how up to date it is but you should be able to get your kicks on Route 66.

Keep an eye out for an event called Stroud’s Historic Route 66 Wine & Food Festival held in June every year.  Stroud likes to call themselves Oklahoma’s winery and grape capital.  Also, in September, Kingman, Arizona, has a Route 66 Cocktail and Corks Spirit Tour.

Here’s your sign

Burma Shave was famous from the Depression until the mid-60s for hundreds and hundreds of slogans with a marketing program that used them along highways all across the country including Route 66.  Each red sign was a few hundred feet apart – note that cars weren’t whizzing by at 75 mph back then – and would say for instance: ‘It’s best for’, then a few hundred feet later ‘One who hits’, then ‘The bottle’, followed by ‘To let another’ and finally ‘Use the throttle’.  Each set of signs would end with ‘Burma Shave’.  There’s even a Route 66 wine and glass rack that looks like an old-fashioned gas station pump (click here).

Burma Shave was a long ago tradition that faded but never disappeared in the American fabric and lexicon.  Every once in Burma Shave Stickerawhile, a company will use small billboards or signs to effectively do the same and if you look around the countryside in wine regions, some wineries are trying the same gimmickry.

Nostalgia is fun and there’s certain good-feeling that Route 66 and Burma Shave bring to the Americana culture.  In that vein, we’ve decided to offer a select amount of shirts and caps with our store in the coming days and weeks.  It will be for a limited time and we’ll have some giveaways you can be involved with.  Be on the lookout very soon for a Burma Shave sticker giveaway.

Stay tuned to our website, blog and Facebook page (like us for additional specials) for a multitude of offers coming up.  Oh, and one of the last jingles Burma Shave ended with in the ’60s was:

“If our road signs – Catch your eye – Smile – But don’t forget – To buy – Burma Shave.”

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier



Source: Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles

Related article:

U.S. Route 66 and Burma Shave

Pioneer Day

Each year, we have a special day in Paso Robles called Pioneer Day.  You can catch the whole story here: Pioneer Day Paso Robles is Pure AmericanaPioneer Day - Tractor from museum

In brief, it’s a celebration from the town to the town, recalling our heritage.  A parade, bean feed and many assorted things to see and even be a part of, go on all day.

The date for 2013 was Saturday October 12th and the whole thing was free.  One of those many special reasons we call Paso Robles home.