Downtown Alameda’s Spring Festival Brings Weekend Fun To Mother’s Day

Downtown Alameda Spring FestivalPlan to attend Downtown Alameda’s 17th Annual Spring Festival. The free two-day street fair will be bringing arts, crafts, music, and a whole lot of excitement to the downtown district. The event takes place on May 13 and May 14 from 10:00am to 6:00pm each day.

Downtown Alameda’s Spring Festival is a Mother’s Day weekend tradition in Alameda and the San Francisco Bay Area. The popular street fair offers something for everyone… over 150 quality arts and crafts booths, continuous live music that will get festival-goers dancing in the street, interactive activities for all ages, mouth-watering festival foods, and local craft beer and wine sales.

Children will have fun in a special kids’ zone on Alameda Avenue. Adults can quench their thirst at one of the beverage booths serving local craft beer from Alameda Island Brewing Company and outstanding wines from Rock Wall Wine Company.

With over 150 art and craft booths and more than 50 retail shops open for shopping, Downtown Alameda will be the perfect place to find a gift for Mom… or maybe you would like to bring Mom to the celebration for a mimosa and lunch at one of the downtown district’s many restaurants.

Enjoy a level of festivity that is beyond what you have seen before with more room to stroll among the displays and more room to dance in the street!

Event Highlights:
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Family Fun at the Downtown Easter Hunt

Thank you to all who joined us for this fun family event in Downtown Alameda. Were you there? Post your photos on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DowntownAlameda

Downtown Alameda Easter HuntThe Downtown Alameda Business Association, in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Alameda, is hosting a Downtown Easter Hunt on Saturday, April 15 from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Kids and their families are invited to take part in the fun.

Over 25 shops and restaurants will be providing free treats, as well as a variety of other family activities. Children ages 12 and under are welcome with an adult… some businesses will even have special treats for parents.

The event is free. So grab a basket (and the kids) and come out to enjoy the search for prizes and treats in Downtown Alameda!

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Catch the “Luck of the Irish” in Downtown Alameda

St Patrick’s Day is this Friday! Enjoy a day of green shenanigans in Downtown Alameda on one of the most festive days of the year. Put on your greenest attire, gather your friends, and prepare to embark on a cultural journey.In addition to the abundant plates of delicious corned beef and cabbage, you’ll find culinary treats such as corned beef sliders and Reuben sandwiches, green beer and Guinness, all day drink specials, and even Irish Coffee flavored ice cream.

Some of our favorite stops:

Club House – Corned beef & cabbage; Guinness and Jameson drink specials

Linguini’s Pizza & Brew $3 green beer, $4 Guinness, corned beef & cabbage, Reuben sandwiches, and PRIZES

Lost Weekend Lounge St. Patrick’s Day PARTY starts at 9:00pm

Lucky 13 – Luck of the day drink specials all day

McGee’s Bar & Grill – Food and drink specials for St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness

Ole’s Waffle Shop Corned beef & cabbage dinner — served with a beer (for those 21+, of course)

Speisekammer – Corned beef & cabbage, Irish whiskey, beer, and Irish Fiddle music

The Churchward Pub – Guinness promos and specials

The Lemon Tree – Serving corned beef & cabbage at lunch and for dinner

Wine & WafflesCorned beef sliders

Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream– Irish Coffee flavored ice cream

To learn more about the St. Patrick’s Day happenings in Downtown Alameda, go to www.DowntownAlameda.com.

Irish Traditions That Began in America

corned beef and cabbageThe tradition of wearing of green on St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, along with the tradition of drinking Guiness and eating corned beef and cabbage. But you might be surprised to learn that most St. Patrick’s Day traditions have their roots in America — not Ireland. *

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious occasion in Ireland— for over 1,000 years the faithful spent the day in quiet prayer at church or at home in observance of the saint’s death. (In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17.)

The first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. The parade was organized in New York City on March 17, 1762 and helped the immigrants reconnect with their Irish roots. Read the rest of this entry »

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Love, Community, and 2nd Fridays in Downtown Alameda

Wine & Waffles Chocolate Pairing

Wine and Chocolate Pairing at Wine & Waffles

As the popular song goes… “All you need is love.” Love for ourselves, our community, our earth, our country, and our world.  

One of the challenges we all face is that the fate of our communities lies in our collective abilities to support each other and communicate in meaningful ways. With everything that’s going on in our world, people have a deep need to feel connected.

In times of great divide the best strides will come in “breaking bread” with family and friends or sharing a “cuppa” with our neighbors.

Valentine’s Day is not just about romance these days. It’s about showing you care for the people around you. This amazing community — the people who live here, who work here, and those who visit us — these folks can be our focus for this month of LOVE.

Come create a culture of positive appreciation with us. Let’s help each other find new ways to connect.

“Love is about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have.”

Donna Layburn, President
Downtown Alameda Business Association

Downtown Tip: Downtown Alameda restaurants are putting together special menus and events for Valentine’s Day — you’ll want to book a reservation at your favorite place before they are full.

2nd Fridays in Downtown Alameda  Read the rest of this entry »

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Decorating for the Lunar New Year in Downtown Alameda

Lunar New Year at Monkey King Pub in Alameda

Lunar New Year at Monkey King Pub & Grub

As the Lunar New Year approaches, some of our downtown merchants can be seen decorating their businesses with lanterns, couplets, paper cuttings, and other items. Dazzling and glittering Chinese New Year decorations never fail to capture the magic and energy of this fabulous season.

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is the most important traditional holiday in Chinese communities. It takes place on a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar, marking the ‘Start of Spring’. This year’s lunar new year begins on Saturday, January 28, 2017. It is said to be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward. 

Be sure to look for colorful decorations when visiting some of the Asian-inspired restaurants, martial arts studios, and other businesses in Alameda’s downtown district.

It’s interesting to know that the decorations you may see also carry symbolic meaning:

Chinese Lunar New Year decorationsChinese Red Lanterns — Hanging a red lantern in front of the door is believed to drive off bad luck. During Chinese New Year it is not uncommon to see lanterns hung on business offices.

Door Couplets — New Year couplets contain brush works of Chinese calligraphy posted on each side of a door frame. The message on the couplets is filled with best wishes for the coming year. The couplets are thought to keep evil away.

Paper Cuttings — It is customary to display paper cutouts on windows during the Chinese New Year for luck and happiness. The theme of the New Year’s paper cutting typically contains the image of an auspicious plant or animal. The rooster is expected to be a popular image this year.

Upside-Down Fu Characters — The pasting of big diamonds of paper calligraphy with the “fu” Chinese character is deliberately inverted on or over doors. It means a business wishes for “good fortune” to “pour out” on them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shop Local: Holiday Events in Downtown Alameda

Shop Local Saturday in Downtown AlamedaNestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is another opportunity for shoppers to have some fun and get terrific deals. Forget the malls on Saturday, November 26 and make local businesses a part of your holiday tradition.

By shopping or dining at a small business in Downtown Alameda, you’re not only showing your support for local businesses but you’re also investing in our island community and preserving Alameda’s unique charm.

So let our merchants help you find unique holiday gifts, jewelry, clothing, toys, wine, and much more! Gift certificates also make a wonderful surprise.

Holiday Happenings in Downtown Alameda

Be an Alameda Island Shopper! Enjoy these special holiday happenings in Downtown Alameda:

The Sewing Room holiday stockingWed, November 23:
Relax before the holidays with an evening of live music at Speisekammer. The Saddle Cats play western swing starting at 8:30pm; no cover charge.

Thur, November 24:
Need last-minute holiday meal items? Alameda Natural Grocery and Farmstead Cheeses & Wines will have special hours Thanksgiving morning from 9:00am to Noon.

Fri, November 25:
Daisy’s is celebrating the return of Gilmore Girls to television on Friday, November 25. Enjoy special gifts and food — celebrated festival style!
Celebrate local music with four Alameda acoustic acts at McGee’s. Show starts at 8:00pm: Wicked LobstahAcoustic EmbersFlunch, and My Friday NightRead the rest of this entry »

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Find Pumpkin Everything in Downtown Alameda

Holiday pumpkin assortmentPumpkin spice can be found in many different forms this time of year. From the minute we feel a slight chill in the air, people start seeking this autumn delight with flavor notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Is it even fall if you aren’t burning a pumpkin-scented candle in your home? (Look for scented candles at Daisy’s and Therapy Home.)

Thankfully, pumpkin-inspired treats of all kinds are available in the shops and restaurants throughout Downtown Alameda.

Pumpkin pie slice at Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden AlamedaThe first thing that comes to mind is a heavenly Pumpkin Spice Latte. This is sure to warm the hands and the tummy. Next in mind are pumpkin spice bagels, bread, cookies, and cupcakes. In addition, a rich and smooth pumpkin pie will always have a place on the table. (Order a latte at The Beanery, Blue Danube Coffee House, or Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden. Look for more sweet treats at House of BagelsCrispian Bakery, and Feel Good Bakery.)

Just because temperatures are cooling off doesn’t mean it’s time to stop eating ice cream or frozen yogurt. This is actually the best time to try the seasonal pumpkin flavors found at your favorite dessert spots. (Enjoy a date night at Tucker’s Ice Cream, Teazzert, or Yogofina.)

Pumpkin Pie cocktailLooking for something different while in Downtown Alameda? There are plenty of other pumpkin spice alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth — pumpkin spice waffles, pumpkin spice donuts, and even pumpkin spice cocktails. (Find good eats and drinks at Ole’s Waffle Shop, Homeskillet, and Cinema Grill.)

On the savory side, you might consider stopping at one of the downtown eateries to try a pumpkin soup, a hearty pumpkin stew, or a slightly spicy red curry dish with pumpkin. (Order pumpkin flavored dishes at Chef M at Everest Market, Burma Superstar, and Spice I Am.)

Even the beauty shops offer pumpkin recipes for facials, skin treatments, and hair treatments. (Try the hair and skincare products at Sumbody and Avalon School of Cosmetology.)  Read the rest of this entry »

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Find Back-to-School Shopping Ideas in Downtown Alameda

Back To School_Walgreens AlamedaBack-to-school shopping can be daunting. Whether you’re shopping for an elementary student, middle-schooler, high-schooler, or college student, back-to-school shopping means stocking up on school supplies. Instead of going back to the mall or driving to the big box stores, take a relaxing stroll through Downtown Alameda where you are sure to find everything you need to make this the best school year yet!

Basic School Supplies – The essential school supplies include paper, pencils, pens, rulers, markers, notebooks, lunch boxes, and bags. You’ll find all of these items and more at neighborhood convenience stores and pharmacies in Downtown Alameda.

Walgreens – “Everything your child needs to make the grade.

CVS Pharmacy – Name brand school and office supplies.

Clothing and ShoesTo make sure your child starts the school year in style, drop into one of Downtown Alameda’s clothing shops where you will find the latest apparel for fashion-conscious kids — everything from trendy shoes to socially aware t-shirts. On a budget? You can also find gently worn fashions at the re-use boutiques.

Doumitt ShoesBack to School_Doumitts Shoes Alameda – Trendy, fashion shoes for the entire family.

District Footwear & Apparel – The latest in metro-hip sneakers and apparel.

Lauren’s Closet – Clothes, accessories, and more for children and juniors.

All Good Living – Lifestyle clothing that is earth-friendly and made in the USA.

Computers & Electronics – Whether it’s new phones to stay connected with the kids, new computers to help with completing homework assignments, and or calculators for fun and learning, you’ll find a number of retail shops in Downtown Alameda that offer the right gadgets to help students get through the school year successfully.

Quick Communications – Verizon Wireless Authorized Exclusive Retailer.

Grand Communications – MetroPCS Authorized Dealer.

ABM Computers – Vast array of hardware and software solutions.

Music & Art Supplies – New supplies for music and art classes will help students master those extracurricular activities. There are a number of shops in Downtown Alameda worth checking out — whether it’s painting and drawing supplies, sewing supplies, or musical instruments and sheet music. (By the way, now is a good time to start making reservations for school holiday camps.)  Read the rest of this entry »

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