At the Rockridge Out and About Festival on Sunday, hundreds of people crowded the boutique-lined blocks of College Avenue to partake in the eclectic mix of music, food, art, and games that were offered in the streets.
The event, which was held from Alcatraz Avenue to Manila Avenue, featured nearly 200 vendors who showcased crafts that ranged from handmade ballerina tutus to hand-detailed ukuleles. Adding to the sites and sounds, live musical performances rang from four stages along the avenue. Floyd Pellom, the owner of the local art and jazz venue 57th Street Gallery, arranged the lineup at the stage named after his business. There, AtoZ, a jazz quartet comprised of high school students, appeared as the first act on the stage and covered hits by old-school heavyweights such as Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, and Stevie Wonder. The group’s youthful grasp of funk wowed some festival goers in the crowd.
“It feels so good to see that,” Pellom said. “To see a young kid playing at a caliber of a grownup professional that’s been playing for so many years.”
AtoZ’s bass guitarist Jeremy Morgan said the festival was probably the band’s best performance to date. “We never thought we would have made it this far,” said Morgan, 14.
Also at the fest were some of Oakland’s most well-known food trucks, including Tina Tamale and Doc’s of the Bay, which filled the warm air with scrumptious fare.
“We’re hoping people have such a great time they’ll be coming back–visit after visit,” said festival organizer Karen Hester.
Hester, the festival’s organizer for the last five years, said her main motivation for launching the festivities was highlighting what makes North Oakland special. “I hope people see how diverse the Rockridge area really is,” she said.