From Art + Soul to Eat Real Fest, join an Oakland party
Oakland could easily lay claim to the title of festival capital of the Bay Area.
Distinct traditions and stories come alive throughout The Town with the presence of diverse cultural communities. Artists, musicians, innovators, change makers and so many fascinating people and organizations that contribute to Oakland life inspire creativity on every level.
Maybe that’s why nearly every weekend brings another festival or epic event to Oakland. Here’s an inside look at the upcoming festivals, arts, culture and sporting events you won’t want to miss this summer.
On the first Friday of every month, Oakland throws a block party that stretches down Telegraph Avenue, from W. Grand to 27th Street. From 5 to 9 p.m., you’ll find artists, street musicians, food trucks, dance battles, spoken word slams and all sorts of makers and creative types sharing their Oakland flair. A tradition stretching back to 2006 when it started as a gallery walk, First Fridays are where Oakland’s artistic and civic pride combine and flourish. www.oakland firstfridays.org/home
ART + SOUL — JULY 28-29
This annual street festival
that takes place on 10 city blocks downtown is brimming with food, family fun and music. The urban dance showcase and artisan marketplace are always highlights. This year will feature a special homecoming concert with Oakland legends The Pointer Sisters. Major headliners perform alongside local groups like Oakland’s kidfriendly hip hop artists Alphabet Rockers, who will ensure that all music lovers will be entertained.www.art andsouloakland.com
FRIDAY NIGHTS AT OMCA
The Oakland Museum of California keeps its doors open late every Friday night. From 5 to 10 p.m., museum adult admission
is half price and kids get in free. Off the Grid food trucks, beer, wine and music in the form of DJs, acoustic sets, and dance lessons keep the party pumping. Free hands-on art workshops for kids also make it a family affair. www. museumca.org/fridaynights-omca
TASTE OF OAKLAND — JULY 7, AUG. 4 AND SEPT. 1
Youth Aid and Oakland Parks & Recreation and
Youth Development present the first annual “Taste of Oakland” fundraiser. The event will be held at Jack London Square with food, activities and live entertainment, including a special musical performance by Tony! Toni! Tone! www.tasteofoakland.com
PEDALFEST — JULY 28
This free event celebrates everything on two (or one, or three) wheels and is perfect for cyclists and the people who love
them. Held annually at Jack London Square, Pedalfest features daredevil stunts, pedal-powered art and a wacky Amphibious Bike Race. www.pedalfestjack london.com
DANCING UNDER THE STARS
Who needs Arthur Murray when you can get free dance lessons on Friday nights all summer? Jack London Square plays host every Friday night from 7:30 to 10 p.m. June 1 through Aug. 3, where dance pros conduct a 30-minute lesson, in styles from hip hop to Bollywood to Polynesian. Dancers can put their new skills straight to work at the mixed music dance party that follows until 10 p.m. www.jacklondonsquare. com/events
LAUREL STREET FAIR WORLD MUSIC FEST — AUG. 11
Nominated for Oakland Magazine’s “Best Cultural Event” in 2018, the festival returns for its 19th edition from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 11. The event highlights Oakland’s rich diversity in music and dance, and also features more than 150 local vendors of food, drinks and handmade crafts. www.streetfair.laureldistrict association.org
OAKLAND TRIATHLON — AUG. 19
This popular Oakland event offers athletes the opportunity to compete in a traditional triathlon, a sprint triathlon, a relay version and more. An Expo
and party with food, beer, and live music celebrate the athletes’ achievements and help replenish those calories. www.oakland tri.com
OAKLAND CHINATOWN STREETFEST — AUG. 25-26
In an annual party that started back in 1988, Oakland’s Chinatown will celebrate the Year of the Dog. Covering eight city blocks with more than 200 vendors, the festival showcases the vitality of this historically significant commercial and cultural neighborhood of Oakland. www. oaklandchinatownchamber.org/ events/streetfest.html
3RD THURSDAYS AT LATHAM SQUARE
Radio personality Sterling James plays host to this monthly party in the heart of downtown Oakland, which runs every third Thursday through October. The
family-friendly live music lineup melds jazz, hip hop, Latin and more. Food trucks, purveyors of beer and wine and other vendors round out the lively offering. www.oaklandcentral.com/
OAKLAND PRIDE FESTIVAL — SEPT. 9
A festive counterpart to the Pride celebrations across the bay, Oakland’s celebration kicks off with a parade, followed by a family-friendly festival with pony rides, bounce houses and face painting. www.oaklandpride.org
EAT REAL FEST — SEPT. 14-16
Foodies, rejoice: Oakland’s annual celebration of gastronomic delights is back to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The festival, held at Jack London Square, highlights good food with a focus on artisan food craft, street food, craft beers, local wines and delicious cocktails — all featuring sustainable local ingredients. www.eatrealfest.com
OAKTOBERFEST — SEPT. 29-30
One last festival to stretch out the summer season, Oaktoberfest takes place in Oakland’s Dimond neighborhood. Bringing together craft brewers, Homebrewers Alley and a wine pavilion, it may be the only beer festivals where German polka bands play after hip hop DJs, and where you can both watch a dance turf battle and blow on an Alpenhorn. www.oaktoberfest.org
First Friday on Telegraph Avenue is a block party featuring artists, street musicians, food trucks, dance battles and spoken word slams.
Oakland legends The Pointer Sisters will headline the Art + Soul Festival with a special homecoming concert.
Left: The Oakland Pride Festival on Sept. 9 will offer pony rides, bounce houses and face painting. Right: Pedalfest features pedal-powered art and an Amphibious Bike Race.
Above: Chinatown will celebrate the Year of the Dog at the Oakland Chinatown StreetFest on Aug. 25-26. Right: Ten city blocks will be transformed during the Art + Soul Festival on July 28-29.