Escapes: Discover Oakland’s art and soul


Art, music, dance, barbecue

Oakland’s cultural renaissance can be felt in full force at the 14th annual Art + Soul festival next weekend. There will be live performances on four stages, a barbecue competition, local beer and wine, an artisan marketplace, art exhibits and a kids zone.

Experience the city’s blues heritage on Saturday, with nonstop live blues on the main stage. Also check out gospel, spoken-word poetry, dance battles and, at the end of the day, world-renowned aerial dance company Bandaloop. The dancers will perform on and along the walls of Oakland City Hall. On Aug. 3 will be a giant dance party, featuring funk and Latin musicians including Grammy Award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Activities run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Aug. 3 in downtown Oakland, encompassing 10 city blocks around Frank Ogawa Plaza. For easy access, take BART to the 12th Street-Oakland City Center station. Admission is $7-$10, and free for children 12 and under. For more information, visit


Renaissance faire

What: Watch knights joust, learn archery and dress in costume at the fourth annual San Jose Renaissance Faire. There will be crafts, music, theater, dance, comedy, puppets, storytelling and more for the whole family.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 3

Where: Guadalupe River Parkway, 340 W. St. John St., San Jose

Cost: $18 adults, $13 seniors and ages 13-17, $8 ages 6-12 and free ages under 6.



Street fair

What: Dance to nonstop world music in the streets of Santa Cruz for the 23rd annual Church Street Fair. Shop for art and crafts, taste gourmet food and enjoy pours of local wine.

When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 3

Where: Church Street, Santa Cruz

Cost: Free



Garden party

What: View California art, sip on Mendocino wine, nibble on gourmet treats and stroll through the beautiful coastal botanical gardens.

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 18220 North Highway 1, Fort Bragg

Cost: $20 advance, $25 at the door, $20 additional for wine tastings



Classical music festival

What: SummerFest brings renowned classical soloists and orchestras into intimate concerts around Lake Tahoe. The festival spans more than two weeks and includes open rehearsals and musician meetings on top of concerts.

When: Friday through Aug. 17

Where: Sierra Nevada College, 999 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village, Nev.

Cost: Individual concerts vary



Travel talk

What: Papua New Guinea will be the topic of conversation at this month’s No Reservations Travel Club meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend.

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 5

Where: Arcade Library Community Room, 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento

Cost: Free

Information: (916) 457-1426;


Music festival

What: The 46th annual Bear Valley Music Festival is underway, with 15 concerts on the three-week schedule. The genres of music span classical, folk, jazz and more.

When: Through Aug. 10

Where: 3 Bear Valley Road, Bear Valley

Cost: $15-$45

Information: (800) 458 -1618, (209) 753 - 2574,

Bee Staff