It's almost time again for the street festival that gets it right — where the vibes are always mellow and the air is filled with flavors of fifty different cuisines and the rhythms of fifty different bands.
It's the 33rd Solano Avenue Stroll, the annual celebration that columnist Martin Snapp calls "the best party in the Bay Area" and in 2002, the Library of Congress designated the Solano Avenue Stroll a National Local Legacy.
On the Second Sunday in September, the Solano Avenue Association, a board of fifteen local business owners, managers, and professionals, produces a mile-long festival on Solano Avenue in Berkeley and Albany. We turn Solano Avenue into the Bay Area's biggest block party, drawing more than 250,000 festival attendees.
The fun starts at 8 a.m. with the traditional pancake breakfast at Veterans' Memorial Park in Albany, followed by the opening of Stroll booths at 10. But the real kickoff is the theme parade, also at 10:00AM. This year's theme is Going Green – it’s easy!
After the parade, the Stroll kicks into high gear, featuring 100 entertainers, 65 food booths, 120 juried crafts, wacky art cars, and 200 community organizations. You'll hear the best in local music. Past performances have included: Incendio, CZ and the Bon Vivantes, Funky Bus & the U-Turns, Otis Goodnight, California Repercussions, Emeryville Taiko, and the Templebar Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band.
And the food! Fried Cajun calamari, jerk chicken, charcoaled lamb, grilled onions, crayfish etouffe, potato knishes, shrimp fritters, Szechwan prawns, chicken kebabs, garlic fries, pasta salad, seafood gumbo, homemade sauerkraut, candied yams, strawberry shortcake, apple splits with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, organic tea & coffee, and fresh squeezed lemonade! Yum! Not to mention the outstanding food available at the restaurants who call Solano Avenue home!
Want to dunk a VIP or take a dunk yourself? Visit the dunk tanks at Santa Fe but BYO towel.
For the youngsters, there's Kidtown, featuring dunk tanks, giant slides, pony rides, carnival games, clowns, stilt walkers, face painters, jugglers, and much more.
Stop by Environmental Alley on the top block of Solano where you can trade your old Mercury thermometer for a free digital one or your halogen floor lamp for a FREE fluorescent floor lamp. While you're there, pick up vouchers for free recycling or disposal of your old televisions, computers, cell phones and other electronics, and learn about other free energy programs and rebates for your home and business.
Craft Alley, mid-Solano, features some of California's most interesting juried, hand-made arts and crafts for sale. Near the Grand Stand at Santa Fe is the Silent Auction where great treasures may be found for a bargain and collectible Stroll T-shirts and Posters may be purchased.
More than 100 entertainers appear on the corners along Solano Avenue. Ethnic dancers, steel bands, Cajun fiddlers, and young musicians fill the air with sounds that delight. Face painters, magicians, stilt walkers and puppeteers create an atmosphere of fun. "It's the Mardi Gras of the West Coast, my favorite event," says John Hills of Accents Crafts.
Solano Stroll Parade
This alcohol-free event promotes the unique traits of Solano Avenue, helping local businesses, local artists, and community organizations to thrive. The Stroll solidifies community spirit, neighbors find old friends, and families enjoy an afternoon in the sun.
Fairgoers can Stroll one way and ride the free shuttles the other way on parallel Marin Ave. The shuttles run 10AM-7PM from the North Berkeley BART station to The Alameda and Marin Avenue, one block South of Solano Avenue. There is a second free shuttle along Marin Avenue so you can Stroll one way and ride the other. Just flag it down at any corner between The Alameda, in Berkeley - to Kains Avenue, in Albany.
Shuttles are wheelchair accessible. Ride your bike and enjoy free valet bicycle parking at Wells Fargo Bank, 1800 Solano Avenue – Berkeley.
You can also use AC Transit – bus numbers #15, #43, or #72.
Special handicapped parking is available on the east and west sides of The Alameda, north of Solano.
Here's a link to a Google map of Solano Ave At The Alameda, Berkeley, CA 94707
Come be a part of this wonderful community event!
Official Website: http://www.solanoavenueassn.org/strol.htm
Added by raines on April 28, 2007