Rockridge Out and About festival a feast for the senses
on September 27, 2010
The smoky-sweet scent of barbeque wafted over College Avenue on Sunday during the fourth annual Rockridge Out and About Festival, as Oakland residents turned out in droves, despite the blazing hot sun, to sample local businesses’ culinary and artisanal talents.
Stretching nearly a mile from Alcatraz Avenue to Manila, the festival offered an array of sights, sounds, and services. Children painted mini pumpkins for free while seated on hay bales, belly dancers from Hipline shook well-trained torsos to the infectious beat of Shakira songs, and volunteers for local political candidates waved signs and distributed pamphlets alongside the pop-pop-pop of kettle corn.
In addition to providing respite from the sun, a large wellness tent across from Barclay’s Restaurant and Pub housed back massages, chiropractic spinal exams, and henna body art – although many attendees opted for pints of beer instead. Temperatures peaked around 90 degrees during the festival, which started at noon and continued until six in the evening.
Shopping was plentiful at the festival, where vintage jewelry, porcelain piglets, and other trinkets glinted from underneath white canvas-covered merchant stands. Live music ran the gamut of styles from Cuban to classic rock, and many attendees proved eager to showcase their dance moves.
Above all, the festival was a foodie paradise. Pulled pork sandwiches, butterscotch pot de crème, and fresh organic strawberries were among the many culinary items that tempted hungry festivalgoers from Market Hall’s Picnic in the Street stands. The chef stage, where curious cooks listen to helpful how-tos from wine pairings to the perfect piecrust, attracted a loyal crowd throughout the day.
Oakland North was also in attendance, with reporters Roberto Daza and Nicole Jones handing out postcards and interviewing festivalgoers from the shade of the Rockridge BART station.
While the Out and About street fair is one of Oakland’s many festivals, it was clear that the event, which was organized by Rockridge’s district association, accomplished its goal of showing off the unique offerings of neighborhood businesses. “I had no idea all this was here,” remarked one festivalgoer, as he bit into his porcetta sandwich from Oliveto. “I’m going to have to come back more often.”
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