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Alviso Adobe to hold 5th anniversary party today

Adobe is part of 7-acre historic park on Foothill

Pleasanton will celebrate the 5th anniversary of its Alviso Adobe Community Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The adobe and park are located at 3465 Old Foothill Road.

The free public event will include showings of a locally student-produced documentary about the adobe, a presentation by Meadowlark Dairy and a visit with Fiona, the park's life-sized, fiberglass cow-in-residence.

The event will feature 17 hands-on activities and presentations from the Adobe's three time periods: Ohlone, Californio, and the Meadowlark Dairy.

Of special interest will be cultural presentations by four generations of Ohlone descendants, including acorn processing, cordage making, jewelry making, and soap root brush making. Other activities include adobe brick making, soap carving and cider making.

Guests will also be treated to complimentary food and refreshments. The event will also feature presentations by Pleasanton's nationally recognized teen improv group, Creatures of Impulse. Free seedlings will be distributed by Western Garden Nursery. There will be games and crafts for children, and authentic Californios music and dance by Los Arribenos.

Of the more than 700 adobe structures originally constructed in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Spanish and Mexican periods, just a few exist today, including Pleasanton's Alviso Adobe. It serves as the centerpiece of a seven-acre park that tells the story of how one piece of California land has been inhabited and used in different ways since the time of the pyramids in Egypt.

Portions of each historical period have been left intact at the Adobe complex. These include artifacts from its earliest recorded human habitation as a settlement of the native Ohlone Indians, to the days of the Spanish ranchos managing herds of cattle on the original 12,000-acre Rancho Santa Rita, to the turn of the century when it was home to California's first certified dair.

A $4.5 million restoration transformed the site into an interpretive park where school children and visitors learn about the history of the Amador Valley and get a rare glimpse of times past.

A re-creation of the historic Meadowlark Dairy Milking Barn and Bunk House/Interpretive and Activity Space serve as classrooms and indoor interpretive displays.

Since its opening in October 2008, more than 200 third and fourth grade classes have visited the park to learn about local history. Additionally, the Environmental Education staff based at the park provided programs for more than 1,800 students last year with off-site visits to Pleasanton pre-schools and elementary schools to educate 4 to 7 year-olds about regional natural history.

The site also features a dramatic overlook of the valley, with images of Pleasanton at different time periods. A small amphitheater seats 20-30 people for lectures and storytelling. Nearby are demonstration areas that involve visitors in the activities of the past, such as making adobe bricks, churning butter, and weaving baskets. The park grounds have been carefully landscaped with native plants, ancient Heritage oak trees, and a seasonal creek.

Limited parking for the anniversary celebration is available at the Adobe. More parking will be available at nearby Foothill High School, with a free courtesy shuttle to the event and back. For more information about the event, call (925) 931-5357.

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