1st Wednesday starts at 6 p.m. tonight in downtown Pleasanton

Concerts in the Park, wine stroll, July 4 celebration among other summertime happenings

Pleasanton's annual 1st Wednesday street parties are back, starting at 6 p.m.tonight.

The event, featuring new wine garden, entertainment by local students and more live music than ever before, ushers in summer-long public festivities to enhance the city's downtown shopping, dining and socializing opportunities.

"This year we are committed to further enhancing our popular 1st Wednesday Street Parties so that all ages can enjoy a fun and festive night in downtown Pleasanton," said Laura Olson, executive director of the Pleasanton Downtown Association (PDA)..

Tonight at 1st Wednesday,s about 15-20 students from Amador Valley and Foothill high schools will have their science and innovation projects displayed along the 300 block of St. Mary Street, and the Foothill Jazz Ensemble along with the Amador Bollywood Club will provide entertainment at the street fair.

Art students from the two high schools will also be showcasing work during ArtBlock. About 30 artists are expected to submit work to be displayed on Angela Street.

Attendees age 21 and older will find that during 1st Wednesdays, live music will be played inside the all-new downtown wine garden along with some of the most recognizable local wines being served by the glass.

"We are excited about our new partnerships with local schools and organizations and new activities like our improved and elevated Wine Garden," Olson said.

In past years there was a beer and wine garden at 1st Wednesdays, but in 2014 PDA decided to eliminate the alcohol area from the event.

"The response from the community was that they didn't want to bring their families to 1st Wednesdays anymore because they felt like the beer and wine garden had created a different element that wasn't so family friendly," said Julie Vlahon, PDA's events and communication manager.

Upon resident request, PDA officials decided to revamp the outdoor-alcohol concept for this year in the form of a wine garden sponsored by the Alameda County Wine Competition.

"Last year some people did miss the beer and wine garden, so this year we thought, 'Let's start small and just bring back wine.' So we are trying to slowly reintroduce it," Vlahon said.

"We are definitely open to possibly bringing beer back, but no decision has been made on that," she added. The wine garden, to be located at 530 Main St., will be significantly smaller than the beer and wine garden, with a capacity of 500 as opposed to the prior limit of 1,500.

Food Truck Mafia is another new element coming to downtown Pleasanton, with the company providing five different trucks each month, according to Vlahon.

"This is food that you can grab and go and enjoy the rest of the event, and it's food you can't find downtown," Vlahon said. "We want people to frequent our restaurants and sit down, but for those families who don't want to eat at a restaurant, this will be something different."

Some of the 1st Wednesday themes include "Jump into Summer" for June 3, the "Red, White & Blue" celebration on July 1 in honor of Independence Day and "Dog Days of Summer" where pups are invited for the pooch parade down Main Street on Aug. 5.

In addition to the eventful 1st Wednesday schedule, residents can also start marking their calendars for a summer full of downtown activities hosted by the PDA.

About two weeks after the May 6 Cinco De Mayo-themed 1st Wednesday kick-off will be the Antique and Collectibles Faire set for May 24. Nearly 400 antique dealers will have booths lining Main Street from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., some of them selling items more than 20 years old.

This admission-free event will be the place where attendees can find antique and collectible clothing, furniture, jewelry, toys and other items that have been repurposed and upcycled. Event organizers say the faire is "an antique and collectible lover's dream."

June 5 marks the start of Pleasanton's annual, well-attended Concert in the Park series with rock band OTR as the first performers of the season. Every Friday night through Aug. 28 a different band will play at Lions Wayside Park, located on the corner of First and Neal streets.

A variety of musical genres will be represented throughout the concert series including rock, blues, soul and Latin rock. The free concerts begin each week at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Several bands in this summer's lineup have previously performed at Concerts in the Park, but four new bands will also be introduced including the local folk/bluegrass group Crawdad Republic, The Banned playing '80s hits, contemporary rock band The Apes, and Max Cruise which performs a variety of music from rock, pop and R&B.

Georgi and the Rough Week is returning to Concerts in the Park after a several-year hiatus from performing at the event.

Other bands slated to perform are Burton & Co., The Cooltones Big Band, Ruckatan Latin Tribe, West Grand Boulevard, Tommy and the 4 Speeds, Magic Moments and Public Eye, which is set to close out the series on Aug. 28.

The Summer Wine Stroll also returns to downtown Pleasanton this year, an event during which residents can sample a variety of wines and food tastings from local establishments and wineries. About 25 to 30 businesses are expected to participate.

In previous years, more than 1,000 people made their way downtown for the wine stroll. In addition to sipping and snacking, guests also receive a commemorative wine glass and event map. The stroll is scheduled for July 18 from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are set to go on sale in June, according to Vlahon.

Sizzling Saturdays -- returning in August and September from 6-9 p.m. -- will be another opportunity for residents to listen to live music while shopping and dining downtown along with the new weekly "Sunday Fundays" set for August which will be more kid focused and interactive.

"Inside every shop they're going to do something new. For example, Clover Creek might do a bow demonstration for how to make the perfect bow or one of our restaurants might do a quick cooking demonstration. So it's going to be more activities inside the businesses," Vlahon said.

Almost every downtown PDA event will be accompanied by live performances from various artists including a country band from Livermore called Steel Rose and Maddy Hudson, the Pleasanton teen who made it to the top 30 on this season of "American Idol."

"We're really trying to ramp it up this year," Vlahon said. "We take the community voices we hear and definitely the businesses downtown and what they have to tell us, and then we take that to try to figure out something new and fresh that we can do to make these events more exciting for the businesses to participate and for the people who come down to enjoy them."

In addition to the PDA events set for this summer, the Firehouse Arts Center located downtown at 4444 Railroad Ave. has a summer lineup of shows scheduled including the Super Diamond First-Class tribute to Neil Diamond concert in May and a performance by rockabilly and jazz musician Jinx Jones in June.

The Harrington Gallery at the Firehouse is set to open new exhibits including "Fresh Works V" from May 2 through June 6, which displays the work of 72 Bay Area artists. The "Repurposed" exhibit is set to debut at the gallery on June 23 showcasing art pieces made from discarded materials.

Museum on Main will continue its Ed Kinney Speaker Series throughout the summer hosting evening talks with historical characters such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 9 and Andrew Carnegie on Aug. 11.

The Pleasanton Lions Club will also host its annual Hometown Celebration at Lions Wayside Park to celebrate Independence Day on July 4 during which residents can picnic and listen to live patriotic tunes played by The Pleasanton Community Concert Band.

Concerts in the Park

6/5 OTR

6/12 Burton & Co.

6/19 Crawdad Republic

6/26 Georgi and the Rough Week

7/3 Ruckatan Latin Tribe

7/10 West Grand Boulevard

7/17 Cooltones

7/24 The Banned

7/31 The Apes

8/7 Tommy and the 4 Speeds

8/14 Max Cruise

8/21 Magic Moments

8/28 Public Eye

Learn more about downtown events

* PDA:

* Firehouse:

* Lions Club:

* Museum on Main:

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4 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2015 at 10:34 am

"Nearly 400 antique dealers will have booths lining Main Street from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., some of them selling items more than 20 years old."
Must be a typo. 20 year old's are not antiques!

3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

So they have the booze back again. Great. It's the drunks and dog poop crowd again. Good time to be away from downtown.

11 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm


Good time to go downtown. All the grouchy, old downtowners are clearing out and are staying away.

2 people like this
Posted by downtown Julie
a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2015 at 9:37 pm


hey wait not all of us that live downtown are old and grouchy. I would much rather see this crowd then the Good Guys crowd in a heartbeat.

5 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 6, 2015 at 8:42 am

So in other words, the bummer brigade killed the fun which also killed attendance i.e. revenue, so we're bringing the fun least a little. Don't you guys ever learn? If you don't like it, don't go....but don't ruin it for everyone else. There is a sect of society that simply has to mandate and control everybody and it's killing our economy, our state, and our country. Knock it off already.

2 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 6, 2015 at 8:45 am

@resident; It seems to me that alcohol was banned last year but the doggie crowd was that makes us the fun and you the poop crowd. Sweet.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Downtown
on May 6, 2015 at 9:41 am

Why this is funny? Of course it is revenue....But it is like the Alcoholic that switches from Beer to Wine just to see if they can control their drinking lol! Booze is booze, clearly not enough revenue last year and now if we serve wine we will get the "classier" AAs!!!! Goodness...

2 people like this
Posted by highdiver
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Too bad someone thought it necessary to bring in out of town food vendors via Food trucks. I wonder if the downtown restaurants were even asked to provide food booths to display the foods they serve. And having the Food trucks decreases the possibility that attendees will even eat at a downtown restaurant on a 1st Wednesday. Guess it's better to send the food sale revenue out of the city.

9 people like this
Posted by Downtown Business Owner
a resident of Downtown
on May 7, 2015 at 11:09 am

@highdiver - just want to respond to your comments.
- There has always been outside food provided at 1st Wednesdays. The past 10+ years there have been 5 food vendors, including a food truck, at every event. 1st Wednesdays draw huge crowds and we need additional "street food" to accommodate everyone who attends. Not every person who comes to a street festival wants to eat a sit-down meal. Some cannot afford it. Some have young kids. Lots of reasons. The only difference this year is that they are in trucks, not tents.
- Yes, downtown restaurants have always been given the opportunity to serve food on Main Street. But it is very cost prohibitive to do so. Not because of Pleasanton, but mainly because of the cost of rental equipment, extra staffing & a very expensive Alameda County Health Permit. I've attended a number of meetings and know the PDA would love to see downtown restaurants on Main Street during events but we all understand how logistically difficult that can be on an already busy night.

I've owned a business in downtown for many, many years and love our community. But it is always disheartening to see people from our community assume the worst in regards to events in downtown. The PDA and downtown businesses work VERY hard to create an environment that is welcoming and vibrant. We cannot, obviously, please everyone, but we collectively have the best intentions. 1st Wednesdays are our chance to draw huge crowds downtown with hopes that many of these people will return to shop & dine again and again. And I can tell you that I always have people come into my store in the days and weeks after special events and mention that they first noticed me during 1st Wednesdays, Brew Crawl, etc.

Hope that cleared up your questions and that you'll come downtown & support our small, local businesses soon.

Like this comment
Posted by Deanne
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on May 7, 2015 at 11:52 am

It was so boring? I am just saying 99 percent of the booths were for insurance, businesses? what about recruiting some more fun booths?

Like this comment
Posted by Oliver Klosoff
a resident of Downtown
on May 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Well Deanne maybe YOU can set-up a dunking machine and invite some of the city's most colorful characters to participate?

2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Dunking machine is a great idea.

Instead of water, perhaps inner tubes or straw, or a combination of both!

1 person likes this
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm

This is a great event for all.

My only comment is you need more food vendors.

Like this comment
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on May 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm

It's a great event!! Anybody that doesn't like it can stay away from downtown for that 1 day a month and leave more room for the people that really appreciate our downtown and want to help support it. There's plenty of other places for the whiners to go to, hop over to dublins "downtown" it's got to be there somewhere, maybe amongst all those condos and town homes ?? Head out to Livermore maybe, not as personable but you can find plenty of food and drinks if that's what makes you happy

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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