SLO Holiday Season popup opens instead of downtown event


Looking for a new place in downtown San Luis Obispo to celebrate the holidays?

Christmas at La Carrisa, a collaboration between the San Luis Obispo distillery Rod & Hammer SLO Images and Karson Butler Events at Ah Louis Store in San Luis Obispo, offers four interactive experiences as well as a food and drink menu.

The holiday pop-up is celebrating its grand opening at 4 p.m. Wednesday at The Carissa event location, 36 Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo.

Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills general manager Nick Johnson called it “a great way to give something back to the community after COVID.”

“We really wanted to make people smile and bring light and happiness to downtown San Luis Obispo,” he said.

According to organisers, Christmas at Carrisa aims to bring people back to downtown SLO after two years of closures and restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It felt like we had two years of kind of a fade into the Christmas spirit, where everyone celebrated at home and we didn’t have that community to lean on,” the co-owner said. of Carissa, Robin Cegelski. “We wanted the community of San Luis Obispo to have a place to go in your own backyard that provides that immersive experience.”

She and her husband, Rodney Cegelski, hope to offer more pop-ups and events in the future as they work to transform The Carrisa into a community-centric event space.

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The team behind The Carrisa event are Rod and Robin Cegelski, left, owners of Rod & Hammer SLO Stills, Amber Karson and Emily Butler, center, creative directors and collaborators on this project, and Nick Johnson, at right, general manager of hospitality at Rod & Hammer’s and SLO Brew. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

Christmas at The Carissa offers 4 holiday experiences

Amber Karson and Emily Butler, owners of Karson Butler Events, led the design of the space.

“We worked together to create four different, fun and interactive immersive zones that hope to inspire people and encourage them to come down,” Karson said.

In the Cozy Sweater Nook, guests can snuggle up next to a fireplace surrounded by knit blankets and felt ornaments.

As for the Holly Jolly Hall, “imagine Santa’s sleigh tipping over,” Karson said, with giant ornaments and holiday kitsch along the way.

The Rod and Hammer Ski Lodge has ski swings and leather and faux fur lined seating inside and outside on the creekside patio.

Upstairs in the Oh What Fun game room, guests can find nostalgic decor – including a replica of the iconic floor lamp from the classic film “A Christmas Story” – as well as arcade games, a shuffleboard, pool and board games and more.

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At a launch party on Tuesday, guests gather in The Carrisa’s Cozy Sweater Lounge, which is hosting a holiday season pop-up experience in downtown San Luis Obispo. Christmas at Carissa runs until December 25th. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

Karson said she and Butler were inspired by the Carrisa building, which formerly hosted SLO Brewas well as holidays.

“This building itself is very special. It’s a historic building here in downtown SLO, so we wanted to honor that history,” Karson said. “He has such big bones, beautiful, big brick walls, beautiful infrastructure. It was really easy to be creative and work with the amazing foundation of this building and help show it off.

During a Christmas soft opening at Carissa on Tuesday, Nick Johnson’s wife Alex said the pop-up reminded her of similar holiday experiences in New York and Los Angeles that she had seen on Instagram.

Kari Torres, whose husband, Will Torres, is the chef behind the pop-up’s holiday-inspired menu, agreed.

“It’s a big city vibe in a small town,” said Kari Torres, adding that it’s exciting to be part of something in downtown SLO that brings people together.

She and her husband owned Farmhouse Corner Market, a restaurant, organic market and catering business that closed in San Luis Obispo in January due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The dishes offered at Christmas at Carissa include dates wrapped in bacon and sticky caramel pudding. They come with holiday-themed drinks such as apple cider mimosas and a gingerbread cocktail.

Jenna-Rose Penner attended Tuesday’s soft opening because she was excited to see what kind of vacation experience the space would provide.

“Cambria is kind of a big draw (for the holidays) and I think it’s important for us to have our own thing in San Luis Obispo,” Penner said.

Penner, who lives in San Luis Obispo, said she once brought her family to downtown SLO to visit Santa’s house in Mission Plaza, but struggled to find a place to go. afterwards. Christmas at the Carrisa could be the solution to this problem, she said.

“I love the lifts, the photo ops, the party cocktails and the amount of space they have,” Penner said. “You can bring your girlfriends, kids and family, there are plenty of options.”

Christmas at Carrisa takes place from Wednesday to December 23. It will be open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The party pop-up is open to the public, but can be booked for private parties.

For more information, visit

This story was originally published November 16, 2022 2:44 p.m.

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Chloe Jones is a forensic and crime reporter at the San Luis Obispo Tribune. She is originally from Phoenix, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and her master’s degree in investigative journalism from Arizona State University. When she’s not reporting, she loves exploring the outdoors and spoiling her two rescue dogs, Camilla and Bugsy Malone.


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