Our 2005 Summer Hot List
Warm nights. Barbecues. Margaritas. In short: the best time of the year.
And thanks to your wise decision to live in one of the most exciting corners of the world, you are rewarded with an overflowing bounty of summer fun. You can’t go wrong, but you will have to choose which awesome events you want to attend.
That’s where we come in. Whatever you’re into—cowboys, chocolate, hot rods, wine, disco, fireworks, opera, baseball—we’ve got you covered. This is the rip-it-out, stick-it-on-the-fridge, completely indispensable, totally useful guide to the summer of 2005. Now go out and have some fun!
Livermore Rodeo Extravaganza
This hoedown kicks off with the Western Heritage Celebration, featuring singing cowboys and other down-home fun. J Street between First and Second streets, Livermore, (925) 373-1795; 6–10 p.m.; free.
And don’t miss downtown Livermore’s Rodeo Parade on Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m., or the 87th Annual Livermore Rodeo at Robertson Park on June 11 and 12. (925) 447-3008; www.livermorerodeo.org.
Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival
Start your summer the right way. Grab a glass of local wine, or peruse the beer selection while live music and booths full of arts and crafts keep you busy. Heather Farm Park, 301 N. San Carlos Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-2007; 11 a.m.; free.
Pleasanton Children’s Arts Festival
Always wanted to get your kids into art, but not quite ready to come home to find your sofa papier-mâchéd? Pleasanton has the remedy. Your kids will enjoy the hands-on booths where they’ll be able to create their own masterpieces, and you’ll enjoy the fact that they didn’t use the living room wall as a canvas. Amador Valley Community Park, 4301 Black Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 931-5349; noon–4 p.m.; free.
Wente comes blasting out of the gate in June with its most rocking concerts yet. Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and perennial Beard Hall of Fame favorites ZZ Top unleash their sharp-dressed Texas rock on June 6. Foreigner will make you hot blooded on
June 22, and Bob Dylan’s son Jakob and his band, The Wallflowers, will leave you with a Sixth Avenue heartache on June 28. But, you know, in a good way.
Other highlights include: Boz Scaggs (July 11), Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo (July 19), B. B. King with Joe Bonamassa (Aug. 9), Clint Black (Aug. 10), Donna Summer (Aug. 30), and Dana Carvey (Aug. 31). 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2424; prices vary; www.wentevine yards.com.
Annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest
Every great artist has a distinctive medium. Maybe yours is sand. And even if you’re not the next Michelangelo, a family outing to the beach once known as the Coney Island of the West is a work of art in its own right. Robert Crown Memorial Beach, Westline Street and Otis Drive, Alameda, (510) 747-7529; sign-up from 9 to 11 a.m.; free.
Ice Cream in the Park
Pay for admission to Chabot and you’ll enter a world of scientific wonders while helping to fund Junior Achievement’s education and mentoring programs. And we have three words for you: unlimited ice cream. Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, (510) 336-7300; 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; $7–$10; www.jaba.org.
June 12 and 16
Nashville In The 925
Doctors say a good “yee-haw” can be good for your health. OK, maybe not. But you know you want to get in touch with your inner line dancer.
On June 12, see Reba McEntire (along with Brad Paisley and Terri Clark) as she takes a break from acting and gets back to her roots. Chronicle Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 363-5701; $29.75–$54.50.
On June 16, catch Kenny Chesney on the Somewhere in the Sun Tour. Oakland Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, (510) 762-2277; $49.50–$59.50.
Oakland Zoo’s Walk In The Wild
Eat among the birds and beasts, like our caveman ancestors did. Enjoy treats served up by several premier East Bay wineries, breweries, and bakeries as you tour the zoo. You (probably) won’t have to fight off a tiger to finish your lamb shank. Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, (510) 632-9525; $75 (zoo members), $85 (non-members); www.oaklandzoo.org.
Parents Night Out
Drop your 3-to-6-year-olds off, and they’ll enjoy games, art projects, dancing, and singing while you and your hubby enjoy your own raucous night out on the town—or a quiet night in. Habitot Children’s Museum, 2065 Kittridge, Berkeley, (510) 647-1111, Ext. 17; $30–$35.
June 18–August 14
Plein Air Art Exhibit
The eight painters in “Living Color: Inside the Outsiders” aren’t the only locals who have been floored by the Bay Area’s open spaces, but they are some of the ones who have turned their affection into art. Come behold the Impressionist revival, and you’ll fall in love with Northern California all over again. Hearst Art Gallery, St. Mary’s College, 1928 St. Mary’s Rd., Moraga, (925) 631-4379; $2 suggested donation; www.stmarys-ca.edu.
Celebrate Father’s Day by Ship, Sail, and Rail
By Ship: Tour the USS Hornet and sneak a peek at its inner workings. Pier 3, Alameda Point, Alameda, (510) 521-8448; $6–$14; www.uss-hornet.org.
By Sail: Take a three-hour cruise and enjoy a hearty box lunch on the presidential yacht Potomac. Jack London Square, Oakland, (510) 627-1215; 12 p.m.; $50; www.usspotomac.org.
By Rail: Get your picture taken with Dad in a diesel locomotive, then take a one-hour train ride. Niles Canyon Railway, 6 Kilkare Rd., Sunol, (925) 862-9063; $5–$10; www.ncry.org.
Alameda County Fair
See a flittering flock of sports-related floats at this year’s Come Out and Play! parade. Follow them to the fair and watch theVillage People perform “YMCA” that night with your paid fair admission. Don’t miss the Charlie Daniels Band (June 24) and Starship (July 3). Parade begins at 11 a.m., Amador Valley High School, 1155 Santa Rita Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 426-7559; www.alamedacountyfair.com.
The Alameda County Fair runs from June 24 to July 10; 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton; $6–$9, kids under six free. Buy tickets before June 24 and pay only $4–$6.
Oakland Children’s Zoo Grand Opening
Lemurs and otters and snakes, oh my! Your kids can hop on lily pads like frogs, watch fruit bats with six-foot wingspans glide through the air, and, of course, pet the goats. Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, (510) 632-9525; $5.50–$9; www.oaklandzoo.org.
Outdoor Opera—Pick Your Scenery
In the vineyard: Listen to arias and show tunes performed by Livermore Valley Opera while you make your own music with a bottle of Cedar Mountain Winery’s Duet (a half-Merlot, half–Cabernet Sauvignon blend). Cedar Mountain Winery, 7000 Tesla Rd., Livermore, (925) 960-9210; 5 p.m.; $22; www.livermorevalleyopera.com/special.html.
In the park: Bring a picnic to Walnut Creek’s Civic Park, and convert your opera-shunning friends and family with a performance by the critically acclaimed Festival Opera. Civic Drive at North Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 944-9610; 6 p.m.; free; www.festi valopera.com.
1–18 Center Rep Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469; $27–$30; www.dlrca.org.
1–July 3 Berkeley Rep Honour. The Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 647-2949; $39–$55; www.berkeleyrep.org.
3–26 Pleasanton Playhouse Macbeth. Pleasanton Playhouse Studio Theatre, 1048 Serpentine La., Ste. 309, Pleasanton, (925) 462-2121; $18–$20; www.pleasantonplayhouse.com.
1–July 3 California Shakespeare Theater Othello. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., Orinda, (510) 548-9666; $10–$55; www.calshakes.org.
2–25 Playhouse West Baby. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469; $27–$29; www.playhousewest.org.
8–12 Eifman Ballet Anna Karenina (8–9); Don Juan and Molière (10–12). Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, (510) 642-9988; $30–$56; www.ardani.com/eb.htm.
9–July 16 Town Hall Theatre Company Let’s Go to the Movies. 3535 School St. at Moraga Road, Lafayette, (925) 283-1557; $12–$23; www.thtc.org.
12 Contra Costa Wind Symphony An Evening in Old Italy. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469; $10–$14; www.ccwindsymphony.org.
12, 26 California Symphony Salon Series Baroque and Classical (12), Jazz Styles (26). Call (925) 280-2490 for locations; $60; www.californiasymphony.org.
13–July 17 Willows Theatre Company Over the Tavern. Willows Theatre, 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord, (925) 798-1300; $15–$35; www.willowstheatre.org.
17–18 Grand Kabuki Theater of Japan Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, (510) 642-9988; $40–$125; www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.
17–July 24 Aurora Theatre Company The Thousandth Night. 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 843-4822; $28–$45
23–26 The Busker’s Opera Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley, (510) 642-9988; $56; www.calperfs.berkeley.edu
9–17 Festival Opera Un Ballo in Maschera. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469; $35–$100; www.festivalopera.com.
10, 29, Aug. 26 Moving Arts Dance Hearts for the Arts. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469; $175 for all three shows; www.moving
13–31 Willows Theatre Company The Sound of Music. John Muir Amphitheater, Martinez Waterfront Park, Martinez, (925) 798-1300; $15–$35; www.
13–Sept. 18 California Shakespeare Theater The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Part 1, July 13–Aug. 7; Part 2, Aug. 17–Sept. 18. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., Orinda, (510) 548-9666; $10–$55; www.calshakes.org.
21–Aug. 13 Valley Shakespeare Festival As You Like It. Retzlaff Estate Winery, 1356 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore, (925) 556-9624; $20–$50; www.valleyshakes.org.
22–Aug. 7 Pleasanton Playhouse Oklahoma! Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 462-2121; $18–$28; www.pleasanton
23–Aug. 13 Berkeley Rep The Ugly American. The Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 647-2949; $30–$35; www.berkeleyrep.org.
4 AileyCamp Youth Dance Performances Ballet, jazz, modern, and African dance by 11–14-year-old students. Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley, (510) 642-9988; free; www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.
13–21 Festival Opera Candide. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469; $35–$100; www.festi valopera.com.
Wednesday Night Fever Street Party
This is the reason you saved your disco clothes. Break ’em out, head to Pleasanton, and dance to live renditions of your favorite disco and R&B. Or you can taste local wines and shop. Main Street, Pleasanton, (925) 484-2199; 6–9 p.m.; free; www.pleasantondowntown.net.
Pleasanton’s other First Wednesday Parties include an Island Time party on June 1 and a Rock ’n’ Roll ’50s-style party on July 6.
Celebrate California With John Muir
The Willows Theatre Company celebrates the man who celebrated California’s natural glory. Stage cred: Tony-award nominee Mary Bracken Phillips penned the lyrics and book. John Muir Amphitheater, Martinez Waterfront Park, Martinez, (925) 798-1300; $15–$35; www.
If harmony is healthy, then the Devil Mountain Barbershop Chorus is a big, fat multivitamin. Let it soothe your soul at Civic Park as summer winds to a close. Civic Drive at North Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 943-5858; 6 p.m.; free.
Hot Summer Nights Car Show
Tired of boxy minivans and boring sedans? Come to Danville and check out the sweet wheels in your own backyard, as hot rods and pre-1960 classic autos turn Hartz Avenue into a Miracle Mile. Shows start July 14, then run every other Thursday all summer. Shows start at San Ramon Valley High School, 140 Love La., before heading to Hartz Avenue, Danville, (925) 820-5750; 4–9 p.m.; free.
Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social
Spend the dog days of summer the right way: mingling with your fellow Tri-Valleyans with an ice cream cone in your hand. Take a glimpse back in time while you tour the historic Ravenswood Estate, and let your kids take a ride in a carriage pulled by miniature horses. Games, music, and other activities fill out the day. Ravenswood Estate, 2647 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 443-0238; noon–4 p.m.; free.
Don’t miss San Ramon’s Ice Cream Social on July 8 at Forest Home Farms. (925) 973-3200.
August 18 and 25
Movie Night in the Park
Concord combines Music and Market Night with Movies in the Park. On Aug. 18, James Clark and the Jailhouse Rockers shimmy and shake before Elvis takes over on the big screen in Jailhouse Rock. On Aug. 25, ex-Stray Cat bassist Lee Rocker struts his rockabilly stuff, warming you up for Grease. Todos Santos Plaza, Willow Pass Road at Grant Street, Concord, (925) 671-3464; music: 6:30–8 p.m., movies: 8:30 p.m.; free; www.ci.concord.ca.us/about/downtownevents.htm.
Movie Under the Stars
Bring a blanket and claim some grass at Heather Farm to watch the animated hit Ice Age. Go early—a crowd of at least 2,000 people is expected. Heather Farm Park, 301 N. San Carlos Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-5858; film starts at dusk; free; www.walnutcreekrec.org/lsmovies.html.
August 24, 26–27
The Berkeley Greek Has Quite a Week
On Aug. 24, folk legend James Taylor lets you know that you’ve got a friend; $36-$125.50. On the 26th and 27th, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will have you free fallin’ into the great wide open; $41–$59.50. Greek Theatre, off Gayley Road, UC Berkeley, (925) 685-TIXS, (510) 625-TIXS.
Got time to cram a last-minute vacation to Asia into your summer schedule? We didn’t think so. Instead, make your way to Oakland’s Chinatown for one of the biggest Asian festivals in the United States. Absorb the culture along 10 city blocks of performing arts, games, shops, and food. Eighth and Ninth streets from Broadway to Harrison, and Franklin Street from Seventh to 11th streets, Oakland, (510) 893-8979; 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; free; www.oaklandchinatownstreetfest.com.
The Broadway Chorus performed for a record-breaking crowd at the Amador Theater last winter, so it’s safe to say the secret is out. Enjoy classics from Oklahoma! and other Broadway and film favorites. Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 462-2121; $10–$15; www.pleasantonplayhouse.com.
Livermore Food and Wine Celebration
Local chefs and winemakers come together to salute the region’s riches, and local foodies and wine lovers make out like bandits—well-fed, gourmet bandits. Palm Event Center, 1184 Vineyard Ave., Livermore, (925) 447-9463; 6–9 p.m.; $55; www.livermorewine.com.
Get Your Chocolate Factory Fix
Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp, opens. Hit these chocolate hot spots afterward. (No golden ticket required.)
Scharffen Berger offers free tours. Reservations are recommended. 914 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, (510) 981-4050; Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; www.scharffenberger.com.
It might take you a while to decide on your favorite chocolate at Bittersweet Café—it’s got more than 150 options. 5427 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-7159; www.bittersweet cafe.com.
Summer Wine Stroll
This is one of the few times it’s OK to wander the streets of Pleasanton with a glass of wine in your hand. The stores are open late, giving you time to sample wines from more than 20 local wineries. Start at the Museum on Main, 603 Main St., or at the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 301 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 484-2199; 6–9 p.m.; $20, or $25 on day of the stroll; www.pleasantondowntown.net.
Concert on Bay Street
Emeryville becomes a Caribbean paradise thanks to the reggae sounds of steel drummer Harry Best. Bay Street and Ohlone Way, Emeryville, (510) 596-4322; 1:30–3:30 p.m.; free; www.baystreetemeryville.com.
Hot Summer, Cool Jazz
If you’re not familiar with Django Reinhardt, the French gypsy who revolutionized jazz guitar, you’re missing out. Head to Yoshi’s, and raise a sake toast to David Grisman, John Jorgensen, David Sanchez, and Django Reinhardt Festival, a five-piece band making a rare appearance away from its home at Manhattan’s Birdland jazz club. Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero W., Oakland, (510) 238-9200; $5–$24; www.yoshis.com.
Down A Root Beer Float With The Oakland A’s
Root beer floats served by your favorite A’s for $2? Not bad, especially since you can guzzle them guilt-free—proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Added bonus: players compete for tips by signing autographs and posing for pictures. McAfee Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, (510) 568-5600; $2 with game ticket; www.oaklandathletics.com.
Sail The Bay On The Presidential Yacht Potomac
Hey, Gilligan, throw on your sailor hat and watch boats from all over the world converge on the Bay as part of Sail San Francisco. A gourmet box lunch is included with a three-hour tour. A three-hour touuuuuuuur. Jack London Square, Oakland, (510) 627-1215; 9 a.m.–noon; $100; www.jacklondonsquare.com.
Benicia Waterfront Festival
Grab a glass of wine and let music fill your ears while you shop Benicia’s historic downtown. You won’t even have to endure tired sighs from your husband: He’ll be enjoying a cold microbrew as he watches powerboats race at speeds up to 160 mph. First and B streets, Benicia, (707) 745-9791; $8, or $15 for a three-day pass (kids under 12 free); www.benicia mainstreet.org/waterfront.shtml.
Berkeley Kite Festival
Sure, you’ve seen kites before. But we doubt that you’ve seen anything like this. Kites bigger than houses and windsocks longer than trains will be taking over the Berkeley Marina. Watch kite ballet, Japanese kite battles, or take kite-flying lessons. Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley, (510) 235-KITE; 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; free; www.highlinekites.com.
Lake Merritt turns into the canals of Venice with a gondola ride.
(You’ll have to do the serenading yourself.) Gondola Servizio, 568
Bellevue Ave., Oakland, (510) 663-6603; $45–$100; www.gondolaservizio.com/
Create your very own farmers market in Brentwood by picking your produce with your own two hands. Don’t miss pluots in June, green beans in July, or apples in August. Visit www.harvest4you.com for information on participating farms.
When the summer heats up, cool off with a few laps around the rink at Dublin Iceland, 7212 San Ramon Rd., Dublin, (925) 829-4445; $4–$7 (plus rental fees); www.dubliniceland.com.
Why spend a gorgeous summer night watching a movie indoors when you can get some fresh air at Concord’s Solano Drive-In? 1611 Solano Way, Concord, (925) 825-1951; $4.75 per adult; www.centurytheaters.com.
Head out for Sundays of song at San Ramon’s Summer Concert Series from July 17–Aug. 14. Look out for a special kid’s concert on July 31. Central Park; free; www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us/parks.
Take your lunch breaks at noon on Tuesdays in Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza and enjoy live music from June 7 through July 26. noon–1:30 p.m.; free; www.concordfirst.org/featured_event.html.
Get a bag of fresh produce and an earful of fresh tunes every Thursday during Concord’s Music and Market Series in Todos Santos Plaza. Free; www.concordfirst.org.
Thursday evenings in July bring the Jazz Concert Series at Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek. 6:30–8 p.m.; free; www.broadwayplaza.com.
Dance the stress of the workweek away in Pleasanton for Concerts in Wayside Park every Friday during the summer. 7–8:30 p.m.; free; www.pleas antondowntown.net.
Celebrate summer Saturdays by rockin’ out in Danville’s Oak Hill Park. July 9, 23; Aug. 6, 20; 6–8 p.m.; free; www.ci.danville.ca.us.
Everyone’s celebrating the same thing on July 4, but how you celebrate it is up to you. Here are some of the highlights.
3 Benicia: After taking in the Torchlight Parade, enjoy a street dance and other live entertainment. Then picnic at First and Military streets, and watch the fireworks on the Fourth. (707) 745-9791; 6:30–11 p.m.; free; www.beniciamainstreet.org.
4 Alameda: Celebrate the Fourth onboard the USS Hornet with kids activities and music. Pier 3, Alameda Point, (510) 521-8448; $15; www.uss-hornet.org.
4 Albany: Take your canine companion to the Dog Jog, then enjoy a celebration, complete with pet show. Memorial Park, 1331 Portland Ave., (510) 559-7222; jog begins at 8 a.m., celebration starts at 11 a.m.; jog $8–$10, celebration free; www.albanyca.org/dept/rec.html.
4 Clayton: Have a pancake breakfast at Endeavor Hall, then cheer on the younguns as the Kiddie Parade leads off the festivities. Main Street, (925) 673-7300; parade starts at 10 a.m.; free; www.ci.clayton.ca.us.
4 Concord: Old-fashioned festival with pancake breakfast and parade, including music, at Todos Santos Park. (925) 671-3464; 8 a.m.–2 p.m.; free; www.cityofconcord.org/about/downtownevents.htm.
4 Danville: Join 30,000 other patriots and attend the downtown parade, beginning at Hartz and Railroad avenues, (925) 831-3374; 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; free; www.ci.danville.ca.us.
4 Fremont: Travel to the Ardenwood Historic Farm to party like it’s 1899. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., (510) 796-0663; $5–$8; www.ebparks.org/parks/arden.htm.
4 Livermore: The Old Fashioned Fourth shindig includes fireworks set to music. Robertson Park, (925) 373-5700; gates open at 4 p.m., fireworks start 9:30 p.m.; $10 per car or $3 walk- or bike-in; www.larpd.dst.ca.us/04july.pdf.
4 Oakland: Tour the Pardee Historic Home, then watch the Jack London Square Fireworks Celebration from shore, or see them on a Dessert and Champagne Cruise on the presidential yacht USS Potomac. Pardee: 672 11th St., (510) 444-2187; $5; www.pardeehome.com. Cruise: Jack London Square, (510) 627-1215; 7:30–10:30 p.m.; $125; www.jacklondonsquare.com.
4 Pleasant Hill: Throw down some pancakes in the morning, check out the parade in the afternoon, and then marvel at the fireworks that night. Breakfast: 233 Gregory La., parade and fireworks: downtown Pleasant Hill, (925) 682-0896; breakfast: 8 a.m., $1.50–$2.50; parade begins at 9 a.m., fireworks start at dusk; parade and fireworks: free; www.pleasanthillrec.com/Events.html.
4 San Ramon: Run San Ramon (5K and 10K runs or 3K walk) to warm up for the Star Spangled Spectacular’s music, food, and fireworks. (925) 973-3200; race registration begins at 6:30 a.m.; free; www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us.