Friday, May 7, 2010

Berryessa Art & Wine Festival toasts milestone

The 35th Annual Berryessa Art & Wine Festival will return to Penitencia Creek Park tomorrow, May 8. The city's oldest neighborhood festival that is always held on Mother's Day weekend will start at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.
The one-day event raises funds to keep music education available to students in the Berryessa Union School District. Last year's festival raised about $20,000.
Recognized and endorsed by the City of San Jose as the city's original, largest and oldest community festival, the event attracts about 10,000 people each year.
This year's festival will feature 100 booths featuring a variety of arts and crafts, local and boutique wines, micro-brewed beers and food prepared by several local community groups.
Festival spokesperson Zoa Fitch said Guglielmo Winery champagne will be offered at the company's wine booth to celebrate the festival's 35th year.
Returning this year is the Kids Zone, a carnival area for youngsters featuring games and face-painting among other things. It will be the second year the Kids Zone is featured.
"It seems to be hugely popular among the younger set," Fitch said. "It was new for us last year, and we tried it out and it was a big hit."
Business Row the area where festival-goers can learn more about Berryessa and Silicon Valley companies will feature informational booths from 20 local companies.
Community Row will feature as many as 40 local organizations. Community Row is an area where local nonprofit groups can share information about their organizations with the public.
Taking the stage in Community Row at 10 a.m. to start the day will be a group of Berryessa elementary school students, and the district's middle school students will perform at 10:30 a.m.
The Piedmont Hills High School Jazz Band will perform from 11:30 to 11:50 a.m., making way for festival-goers to get up on stage themselves and belt out their favorite karaoke tunes from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in Star Maker Karaoke.
Local teen rock and blues band Reincarnated Revival will take the stage from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., and South Bay Kids will close the performances from 3 to 5 p.m.
Grupo Los Dominos will perform in the art booth area from 1 to 3 p.m.
Fitch said a strolling mariachi band will wander the festival grounds as well.
In previous years the festival featured demonstrations from San Jose Police Department's canine unit and the horse patrol unit, or presentations from San Jose Fire Department.
But due to budget cuts in recent years, including the elimination of the police department's horse unit, organizers were unsure if any special guests would be making appearances.
"We had requested (San Jose Sharks' S.J.) Sharkie and the Sharkmobile, but because the Sharks are still playing we don't know if we'll get them," Fitch said.
She added organizers also approached the San Jose Giants and requested their mascot Gigante come to the festival, but they are uncertain of his appearance.
"Everything is dependent upon something else," Fitch said.
Fitch said the festival should be as popular as ever.
"We're really excited to celebrate our 35th year," she said. "It's lots of hard work but we really enjoy putting it on every year."

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