Past Paso Pops

Paso Pops 2017                          

Paso Pops, the annual Paderewski Festival-sponsored patriotic-themed concert and Independence Day celebration in Paso Robles combining wine,beer, food, family-friendly activities, live music and fireworks took place on Saturday, July 1 at the Paso Robles Horse Park.

The San Luis Obispo and Youth Symphonies led by Guest Conductor Christopher J. Woodruff performed a 90-minute patriotic “Pops” program. Pieces performed included: Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide”; Copland’s “Variations on a Shaker Melody”; Ward/Dragon’s “America the Beautiful”; Gershwin/Bennett’s “Porgy and Bess: Symphonic Picture”; and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” set to a rousing cannon fusillade with spectacular fireworks finale.

Other planned highlights of the evening included a Military Honor Guard presentation, “Star-Spangled Banner” sung by Alodie Ayers with the Singing Hands Children’s Choir and Paso Robles High School Advanced Choir, and emcee Paso Wine Man Casey Biggs.  Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition Winners Jack Raventos and Sarah Girges performed solos of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in g, Op 23 No. 5” and “Chopin/Liszt’s “The Maiden’s Wish”.

A well-received debut Paso Pops performance by The Swing Dolls of Los Angeles included performances of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”, “Hold Tight”, “Salute to the Armed Forces” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” 

This year, event patrons were invited to bring their picnics and sealed non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy at the event. A variety of food vendors were available at the event, such as Brat Shop, Cahoots, G. Brothers Smokehouse, Higgie's, Kettlecorn,  Kona Shaved Ice, Marston's, Osorio Mexican Grill, World BBQ, and Pizza La Nova.  For the safety of all, only service animals were allowed.

A new addition for Paso Pops 2017 was an after party featuring music by Ricky Montijo and the Mojitos immediately following Paso Pops and fireworks finale for patrons who wished to extend the evening and avoid after-event traffic.                        

Net proceeds from Paso Pops will be distributed to local non-profit youth arts programs, such as the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition and Student Cultural Exchange ProgramSan Luis Obispo Youth SymphonyStudios on the Park Youth Art Program and Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation.

Gates opened at 4:00 PM.  A walk-around wine tasting featuring local wineries was open from 5-7:30 for adults who purchased reserved seating, while The San Luis Obispo Symphony Musical Petting Zoo and interactive arts activities organized by Studios on the Park and Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation were provided for young families. Firestone Walker beer and a variety of wines from Paso Robles wine country were available for purchase.            

Tickets ranged from $20 for General Patriot Mall admission up to $3,500 for sponsored President tables that included wine tasting, gourmet buffet, wine and beer and VIP parking. Additional premium seating options included Vice President tables ($1,000) or individual reserved seats starting at $50. All reserved seats have access to walk-around wine tasting.  Specially designated and clearly marked parking for Premium Patriot Mall $30 and General Patriot Mall $20 ticket holders was provided on Airport Road near the Paso Robles Horse Park; shuttles ran continuously before and after the program, although this parking is within easy walking distance. For active and retired military with ID, students with ID, and seniors over 60, General Patriot Mall tickets were $15. Up to two children 12 and under are free with paid General Patriot Mall admission.  

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a 501c3 non-profit that sponsors an annual series of concerts featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition and Youth Exchange Program, and other Paderewski-themed events.  The 2017 Paderewski Festival will be held November 2-5 at various venues in Paso Robles.

For those unfamiliar with July 4th concerts of the Boston Pops or Hollywood Bowl, search clips of “1812 Overture” online at