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Our 2006 Summer Hot List

ahh, the lazy days of summer...


Ahhh, the lazy days of summer ... Not so fast! If you live in Diablo Country, there’s too much going on to while away the sun-filled season. Get out and enjoy all the hot summer events that our side of the Bay has to offer. You could find yourself atop a Ferris wheel one day, fascinated by bucking bulls the next, and barefoot in a vineyard rocking out to some summer tunes on day three—and that’s not even a week. You won’t want to miss a moment, so grab your calendar, and plan a summer of fun.


Through June 25
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Open air, views of the rolling hills, a bottle of wine, and the Bard. California Shakespeare Theater opens its season with The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare’s comedy about fools for love, and continues with Amy Freed’s Restoration Comedy (July 5–30) and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (August 9–September 3) and As You Like It (September 13–October 8). Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., Orinda, (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org, times vary, $32–$57.

June 3–4
Walnut Creek Art and
Wine Festival
In its 25th year, this outdoor festival is one of the biggest in the area, showcasing more than 200 artisans and offering continuous live music, all on a huge expanse of lawn. New this year, guests can sample international wines and beers in addition to local libations. Heather Farm Park, Ygnacio Valley Road at North San Carlos Boulevard, Walnut Creek, (925) 934-2007, www.walnut-creek.com, Sat. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m., free.

June 5 and 19

Old-Time Radio Theater
Experience great radio classics performed by Town Hall Theatre Company. The shows sound just as they did traveling across the airwaves during the Golden Age of Radio, but this time around, the action is live onstage, with vintage costumes. Lafayette Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St., Lafayette, (925) 283-1557, www.thtc.org, 8 p.m., $10.

June 6

Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen is entering some new territory by exploring gospel, folk, and the blues—some songs more than a hundred years old. He appears at the Sleep Train Pavilion with the Seeger Sessions Band. Return on June 25 for Counting Crows and the Goo Goo Dolls. Sleep Train Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 676-8742, www.sleeptrainpavilion.com, times and ticket prices vary.

June 7–11

Livermore Rodeo
Yee-haw! Singer Mark Chesnutt, who has recorded 23 top-10 country singles, highlights this down-home rodeo celebration with a live performance at 8 p.m. on June 9. Bring the kids on June 8 for Family Night for free admission. Robertson Park, 3200 Robertson Park Rd., Livermore, (925) 447-3008, www.livermorerodeo.org, $10–$18 rodeo admission, $18–$28 for concert.

June 17

Walk in the Wild
Savor food and drink from some of the East Bay’s finest restaurants, wineries, and breweries while enjoying an evening stroll through the zoo. The event also includes dessert and dancing. Just remember: Don’t feed the animals! Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, (510) 632-9525, www.oaklandzoo.org, 5–10 p.m., zoo members $100, nonmembers $110.

June 20

Elvis Costello
After Hurricane Katrina, Elvis Costello and New Orleans pianist and songwriter Allen Toussaint teamed up to do benefit concerts, and they ended up recording an album together. See the duo at the Paramount, accompanied by the New Orleans Horn Section. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 465-6400, www.paramounttheatre.com, 8 p.m., $45.50–$65.

June 23–25

Battle of the Bay
A’s vs. Giants. Barry Zito vs. Barry Bonds. You better root, root, root for your home team during this Bay Area baseball matchup. AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, (877) 473-4849, www.oaklandathletics.com,  sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com times vary, $28–$72.

June 23–July 9

Alameda County Fair
Cotton candy, carnival rides, fireworks, and live concerts. Go retro, and have some old-fashioned fun at the Alameda County Fair. View the concert lineup and special events online. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 426-7559, www.alamedacountyfair.com,  $6–$9.

June 24–25

Danville Fine Arts Faire
Not only can you admire fine arts and crafts, but you can also watch artists at work during this annual streetfest. Italian street painters will create masterpieces before your eyes using sidewalk chalk, and local chefs will demonstrate their culinary skill. Hartz Avenue, Diablo Road to Hartz Way, Danville, (925) 837-4400, www.mlaproductions.com,  10 a.m.–6 p.m., free.

June 25

Rubber Ducky Derby
Thousands of rubber ducks hit the waves to raise money for Children’s Hospital Oakland. Adopt a duck to participate in the event, and maybe even score some prizes. Duck adoptions start at $10. Lake Merritt at Children’s Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, (510) 428-3355, www.rubberduckyderby.org, 4:30 p.m., free.

une 27

The Concerts at Wente Vineyards                                                                                 
Surrounded by gardens, hills, and vineyards, Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band kick off Wente’s annual outdoor concert and dinner series. The season continues with Kenny Loggins (July 11), the Temptations and the Four Tops (July 13), Blues Traveler (July 17), Gipsy Kings (July 19), Chris Isaak (July 20), the Beach Boys (July 23), Etta James and the Neville Brothers (August 21), Lynyrd Skynyrd (August 22), Styx (August 28), Sara Evans (September 5), the Doobie Brothers (September 6), Heart (September 7), and Brian Culbertson, Rick Braun, and Mindi Abain (September 10). Wente Vineyards, 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2424 or (925) 685-8497, www.wentevineyards.com  or www.ticketmaster.com,  times and prices vary.

June 29–July 29
                                                                                                                             Shirley Valentine
Don’t have time for an exotic vacation this summer? At Center Rep’s performance, you can live vicariously through Shirley Valentine, who leaves her quiet life behind for a whirlwind romantic, sometimes comedic, adventure in Greece. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, www.dlrca.org,  times vary, $28–$38.


July 4
Independence Day
Every city has its own Fourth of July shindig, but nothing can top watching fireworks reflected over open water from the Oakland and Berkeley shores. Jack London Square, Oakland, (866) 295-9853, www.jacklondonsquare.com, 9:15 p.m.; Berkeley Marina, (510) 981-6743, www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/marina,  9:30 p.m., free.

July 6, 13, 20
Broadway Plaza JazzConcert Series
After a day at Broadway Plaza, ease your shopper’s guilt and enjoy a lovely summer evening at a free jazz concert. In the lineup: guitarists Richard Smith (July 6) and Nick Colionne (July 20), and keyboardist Gregg Karukas (July 13). Specific Broadway Plaza locations vary, Walnut Creek, (925) 933-6589, www.broadwayplaza.com,  6:30–8 p.m., free.

July 9–Sept. 10

By the Hand
Experience the deep roots of the Crafts tradition in this juried exhibit of ceramic, glass, wood, metal, and fiber works by artists from all over the nation. Bedford Gallery, Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 295-1417, www.bedfordgallery.org,   gallery open Tuesday–Sunday, $2–$3.

July 14–august 5

All’s Well That Ends Well
Valley Shakespeare Festival presents All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare’s classic tale of love and loyalty, outdoors in the vineyard. Purchase tickets for opening night ($50), and indulge in dinner prepared by Livermore restaurants. Retzlaff Estate Winery, 1356 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore, (800) 838-3006, www.valleyshakes.org,  times vary, $20–$30.

July 15–16

Art Under the Oaks
View artwork by local artists under the 350-year-old oak trees at Alden Lane Nursery. The Livermore Art Association–sponsored weekend includes wine tasting and fresh summer fruit sampling, and features live music and artists at work throughout the gardens. Alden Lane Nursery, 981 Alden La., Livermore, (925) 447-0280, www.aldenlane.com,  11 a.m.–4 p.m., free.

July 15–16

Bay Street Arts and Music Festival
This is not your typical artfest. In addition to artwork and refreshments, watch singers do their thing in the Rising Star Show-Off, Emeryville’s own mini American Idol. Bay Street Mall, Bay and Shellmound streets, Emeryville, (510) 655-4002, www.baystreetemeryville.com, free.

July 20

Summer Wine Stroll
Sip wine and browse the shops on and around Pleasanton’s Main Street. Each business will hook up with a different winery and serve hors d’oeuvres. Commemorative wine glass and tasting map included. Downtown Pleasanton, start at the Pleasanton arch, (925) 484-2199, www.pleasantondowntown.net, 6–9 p.m., $20, or $25 at the door if available.

July 22–August 26

Niles Canyon Railway Wine Tasting Special                                                                                 Join professional sommelier Sean Andrade, who has worked with both Fenestra and Red Skye wineries, on Saturday evenings for a two-hour train trip through Niles Canyon. Enjoy the scenery as you dine and learn about summer wine selections from the Livermore Valley. Must be 21 or over. Reservations required. Niles Canyon Railway, Sunol Depot,6 Kilkare Rd., Sunol, (925) 862-9063, www.ncry.org,  train boards at 4 p.m., 4:30-6:30 p.m., $30.

July 25

Al Green
The Reverend Al Green and his soulful voice take the stage. Let’s face it, ladies: You will swoon. Joining him onstage is special guest Booker T. Jones. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 465-6400, www.paramounttheatre.com,  8 p.m., $59.50–$69.50.

July 28–30

Benicia Waterfront Festival
At one of Benicia’s largest and most popular events, jet ski races and exhibitions make full use of the water, while area streets are transformed into a block party with live surf-rock music, 100 arts and crafts booths, and a wine garden featuring Napa Valley wines. Benicia Waterfront, end of First Street, (707) 745-9791, www.beniciamainstreet.org,  Fri. 5–10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m., $8/day or $15 for weekend.


Through August 20
Behind the Magic—50 Years of Disneyland
No need to go all the way to Anaheim this summer to feel the magic of Disney. Learn about the man behind the legend, the early plans for Disneyland, and the creative folks over at Disney, called Imagineers, who keep the magic going even after all these years. More than 250 pieces of original artwork and 40 artifacts will be on display, including figures from It’s a Small World and vehicles from Peter Pan’s Flight. Feel free to wear your Mickey ears. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, (510) 238-2200, www.museumca.org,  open Wednesday–Sunday,  $5–$14.

August 5–6

Moraga Pear Harvest
Don your overalls, grab your gloves and clippers, and join the harvest team. Fresh pears will go to the Contra Costa Community Food Bank—and your own kitchen table. Camino Diablo and Canyon Road, Moraga, www.moraga.ca.us,  9 a.m.–1 p.m., free.

August 5–ongoing
Chabot Observatories
At Chabot Space & Science Center, take a look at telescopes of the past, one dating as far back as the observatory’s opening in 1883. Daytime visitors can virtually operate a telescope and learn how telescopes work, as well as explore Chabot’s history through photos and interactive activities. Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, (510) 336-7300, www.chabotspace.org, $9–$13.

August 12–20

Don Giovanni
Never been to the opera? Don’t worry. Festival Opera’s Don Giovanni is newcomer friendly. The story of a mischievous ladies’ man, originally written in 1787, takes a modern turn in this version and is set in a nightclub. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, www.festivalopera.com,  times vary, $36–$100.

August 13

Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social
Go back in time to a summer day in the 1890s. Ravenswood Historic Site offers a glimpse of history with tours of the house and grounds, period dress, Victorian-style goods for sale—oh yeah, and ice cream. Ravenswood Historic Site, 2547 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 443-0238, 12–4 p.m., free admission, additional charge for ice cream.

August 19
Walnut Creek-based Moving Arts Dance joins harpist and violinist Carlos Reyes for an unusual performance of modern dance and live music. The show features Reyes’s “Ghosts of Tintagel,” “Desires,” and “Hearing the Silences” staged by Moving Arts director and resident choreographer Anandha Ray. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, www.movingartsdance.org,  8 p.m., $15–$25.

August 19

Buzzing With Bees
Buzz on over to Lawrence Hall of Science and learn all about bees. Take a look at an observation hive made of glass to see what goes on inside, find out how beekeepers collect honey and use protective gear, and taste some of the sweet stuff. Lawrence Hall of Science, Centennial Drive below Grizzly Peak, Berkeley, (510) 642-5132, www.lawrencehallofscience.org , 10 a.m.–12 p.m., $28 for adult and one child, $11 for each additional family member.

August 26–27

Oakland Chinatown Streetfest
Sample Asian delicacies, shop the festival marketplace, and learn about ancient culture and customs in Oakland’s Chinatown. Live entertainment includes Chinese Lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations. Oakland Chinatown, Ninth and Franklin, Oakland, (510) 893-8979, www.oaklandchinatownstreetfest.com,  10 a.m.–6 p.m., free.

August 27

Day in the Park
Enjoy music, gourmet food, and fine wine—all for charity. Celebrity guests and off-the-charts auction items headline this benefit for the Taylor Family Foundation’s Camp Arroyo, for children with life-threatening diseases. Camp Arroyo, 5555 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 455-5118, www.ttff.org,  noon–6:30 p.m., $175.



Baby Brigade at theParkway Theater
Parents are encouraged to bring their new babies (under one year old) to the movies every Monday evening at the Parkway. No need to worry about noise—everyone will have their little ones. Parkway Theater, 1834 Park Blvd., Oakland, (510) 814-2400, www.picturepubpizza.com, 6:30 p.m. downstairs, 7 p.m. upstairs, babies are free, all others $5.
Concord Music at Noon
Shop the farmers market and enjoy live music in Todos Santos Plaza every Tuesday, now through July 25. Todos Santos Plaza, Willow Pass Road at Grant Street, Concord, (925) 671-3464, www.cityofconcord.org,  noon–1:30 p.m., free.

Orinda Concerts in the Park
Pack a picnic, spread out a blanket, and soak up an eclectic mix of music—from jazz to Celtic rock—on Tuesdays,  June 13 throughAugust 1. Orinda Community Center Park, 26 Orinda Way, Orinda, (925) 254-2445, www.ci.orinda.ca.us/parksandrec, 6:30–8:30 p.m., free.


Pleasanton First Wednesday Street Parties
Local businesses and artisans showcase their goods alongside booths filled with local foods, wines, and microbrewed beers. First Wednesday of every month, now through September. Main Street, Pleasanton, (925) 484-2199, www.pleasantondowntown.net,  6–9 p.m., free.


UC Botanical Garden
Summer Family Fun Days
On the third Thursday of each month, children can participate in hands-on garden investigations, start a mini-garden, or create garden art. Featured activities are different each month. June 15, July 20, and August 17. UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley, (510) 643-2755, www.botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu,  10:30 a.m.–noon, $14–$18 for one adult and child, additional family members $7.

Concord Music and Market Series
Enjoy free concerts in the park with a diverse lineup of Bay Area musicians, including salsa, jazz, and blues players, every Thursday through September 21. Here’s your nighttime opportunity to shop the farmers market and enjoy live music. Todos Santos Plaza, Willow Pass Road at Grant Street, Concord, (925) 671-3464, www.cityofconcord.org,  market 4–8 p.m., music 6:30–8 p.m., free.

Danville Hot Summer Nights Car Show
Cars have come from as far as Washington State to participate in this local car show. The vintage wheels line up for display along Hartz Avenue—where all the restaurants and bars are located—so it’s the best of all worlds. July 13 and 27, August 10 and 24, Hartz Avenue, Danville, (925) 820-5750, www.ci.danville.ca.us,  4–9 p.m., free.

Livermore Thirsty Thursdays and Family Nights
The Livermore Certified Farmers Market runs weekly, and there are monthly parties, too. Every first Thursday, enjoy Family Night with kids activities, and on third Thursdays, live music and wine tasting. Carnegie Park, Third and J streets, Livermore, www.livermoredowntown.com,  (925) 373-1795, 5–8 p.m., free.

Moraga Summer Conert Series
Unwind to a relaxing free concert on Thursday evenings at Moraga Commons Park, June 15 through August 24 (except July 6). Bring your picnic blanket or lawn chairs, and enjoy the music while your children enjoy the park. Moraga Commons Park, Moraga Road and St. Mary’s Road, Moraga, www.moragaparks.org,  6:30–8:30 p.m., free.


Dublin Summer Concert Series
The Tri-Valley heats up with five consecutive Friday nights of free outdoor concerts featuring Bay Area bands, beginning with a Steely Dan cover band on July 7. Dublin Civic Center, 100 Civic Plaza, Dublin, (925) 833-6629, www.ci.dublin.ca.us,  7–9 p.m., free.

Pleasanton Friday Night Concerts in the Park
From June 2 through September 1, bring a picnic dinner, sit back, relax, and let music be the soundtrack for an evening with family and friends. Lion’s Wayside Park, First and Neal streets, Pleasanton, (925) 484-2199, www.pleasantondowntown.net , 7–8:30 p.m., free.

Friday Twilight Kayaking
See Oakland from a different vantage point. Kayak around Coast Guard Island as the summer sun slips away and look back on the city’s lights. First and third Fridays of the month, June 2–September 8. Minimum age 16; no experience necessary. All equipment provided. Jack London Aquatic Center, 115 Embarcadero, Oakland, (510) 208-6060, www.jlac.org,  5–7 p.m., $20.


Oakland Artisans Marketplace
Local artists present their handmade crafts along Water Street between Washington and Clay streets every weekend. Jack London Square, Water Street at the Meadow, Oakland, www.jacklondonsquare.com,  (510) 238-4948, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., free.

Danville Music in the Park
Fill your summer nights with sweet sounds at Danville’s Oak Hill Park on July 8 and 22, and August 5 and 19. In the lineup: soul, Motown, R&B, and swing. Oak Hill Park, 3005 Stone Valley Rd., Danville, (925) 314-3400, www.ci.danville.ca.us,  6–8 p.m., free.


Pleasant Hill Sunset by the Lake Summer Concerts
Rock out with all kinds of local acts at early-evening concerts on the lawn at Pleasant Hill’s city hall. From June 11 to September 3, the concerts are every other Sunday, with an additional show on July 16 that’s especially for kids. Gregory Lane and Cleaveland Road, (925) 671-5229, www.pleasanthillconcerts.com, 6–8 p.m., free.

San Ramon Concerts in the Park                                                                                                   Bring the family, and wind down on Sunday evenings to a different genre of music every week, July 16 through August 13. San Ramon Central Park Amphitheatre, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 973-3200, www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us,  5:30 p.m., free.

Summer Storytelling in the Garden                                                                                                 Every Sunday in August, listen to stories about plants, animals, the seasons, and the natural world that surrounds you in the garden. Members of the Storytelling Association of Alta California tell the stories. Reservations required. UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley, (510) 643-2755, www.botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu,  10–11 a.m., one parent and child $10, each additional family member $3.


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