Berkeley Kites (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Summer brings county fairs, street festivals, Fourth of July parades, firework displays, gay pride days, kite contests and sand castle competitions. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, attend a festival or two in the East Bay. You can be sure of good times and good food for young and old, and even for Rover.
Oak Hill Park
3005 Stone Valley Road
Danville, CA 94526
Date: May 31, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
It takes a good deal of money to raise puppies from conception through service dog training and eventual retirement. It’s the mission of the non-profit Canine Companions for Independence to provide such dogs at no charge for those who need them. Individual and team walkers are supporting the fundraising mission for the first ever DogFest. A $5 pancake breakfast is sponsored by the Livermore Lions Club.
Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach
Westline Drive and Otis Ave.
Alameda, CA 94501
Date: June 7, 2014 at 9 a.m.
The 48th Annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest is one of the more unique events coming to the East Bay this summer. It’s free and it’s fun. Just bring your bucket and spade and some creative ideas. Contest categories include families, kids ages 12 and under and everybody else from the age of 13. Judging begins at noon and awards are announced an hour later. Three cheers for sponsors of the long-time summer traditional fun for all event: Alameda Recreation and Park Department, East Bay Regional Park District and Bayview Women’s Club and Alameda Youth Committee.
201 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Date: July 4, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Happy Birthday to America at 238 years of age. What’s the start of summer without the 4th? Some East Bay towns have parades, but Berkeley is more of a festival. The Independence Day holiday celebrations start at noon and finish with a fireworks display over the water at 9:30 p.m. The children’s adventure playground opens at 11 a.m. and the live musical entertainment lineup begins at noon and lasts for hours. There’s circus arts, dragon boat races, carnival rides, pony rides, giant water slides, crafts and food trucks before the fireworks at the end of Berkeley Pier.
Cesar E. Chavez Park
11 Spinnaker Way
Berkeley, CA 94710
Date: July 26-27, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Who said kites were just for kids? Not so. Organizers are fond of saying that all you need is a little earth, wind and sky – and, of course, a fabulous kite. Free shuttles operate from the $15 parking lot at Golden Gate Fields and deliver participants for the two days of free events, live music, kite making, team flying, stunts, bouncy castle, candy drop, a petting zoo and plenty of good food. Help the Berkeley Kite Festival turn 29 this year.
Franklin St. and 20th St.
Oakland, CA 94612
Date: Aug. 31, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Join 35,000 people for a day-long festival. It’s a diverse crowd with positive energy and a lot to celebrate in 2014. Oakland Pride is about promoting equality in Oakland and the East Bay in an event produced by the non-profit community organization. The entrance is located at 20th Street and Broadway, just a block from the BART station. Expect four stages, live music, a families with kids garden and seniors areas, food, beverages and endless good times.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.