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June 11, 2008 > Downtown Street Party - summer fun for the community

Downtown Street Party - summer fun for the community

By Vidya Pradhan

We may live cheek to jowl with our neighbors, houses abutting, windows facing each other, but our overscheduled lives create a cocoon for us inside our own little worlds. We may live next door to someone for years without even knowing their name, let alone their interests and concerns.

Sometimes it takes an outside event to bring us together as part of a community. Downtown Street Parties on the third Thursdays of summer months are organized by the Hayward Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hayward, along with local merchants as an excellent way to reach out and be a part of something bigger than insulated suburban nests.

This is the ninth year for the parties which attract between 4,000 and 6,000 people each year. Hayward's historic downtown forms the venue for the bash with buildings that have been around for over a 100 years. Gloria Ortega, redevelopment manager at the City of Hayward, is excited about the possibilities of revitalizing this area with upscale restaurants and a soon to open movie theater complex. "We are putting up new sidewalks, lighting and street furniture," she says. There is an opportunity to create an ambiance that fosters the community spirit and encourages both residents and visitors to mingle and relax in the pleasant environment.

Merchants and community groups and non-profits will be at the party to market their businesses and services. Almost all exhibits have games and free gifts for the kids; three face painters, Maggie the clown and Allan the amazing balloon twister will circulate at the event. Booths set up for art projects are sure to delight the young ones. Berkeley Farms chug trucks will give away free chugs and orange juice. A vintage ice cream truck from Dreyer's will sell ice cream with proceeds benefiting Leadership Hayward, a program run by the City of Hayward and the Chamber of Commerce to develop future community leaders.

For older revelers a beer and soda garden will provide a respite to sit and relax next to Bank of the West. The June party will feature the Bad Boy Bruce Band to delight the audience while July and August parties will be livened by the Diehards. Newman Park at the other end will feature Angry Tired Teachers and JuNkShAkEr for June and July respectively and the August event will include the 60-piece Hayward High School Marching Band.

Local restaurants along "B" Street like Buffalo Bill's Brew Pub, The Bistro, Relly's Hot Dogs, Cabana Dave's, and Kettle Korn are bound to satisfy even the most ferocious appetite. Outside vendors are also expected to make an appearance at the parties.

Visit a classic car show on Main Street from "A" to "C" Streets. Street rods and hotrods along with classic and muscle cars will line the street. There is no need for pre-registration for the cars but participating automobiles must be of pre-1973 vintage.

The Downtown Street Parties invite everyone to bring family and friends to check out the offerings of Historic Hayward. Events will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on "B" Street from Foothill to Mission Blvd.

There is plenty of free parking at the event. Visitors will find a new parking structure at Foothill Blvd between "B" and "C" streets and another parking structure on Mission Blvd. between "B" and "C" streets and a municipal parking lot on "A" Street between Foothill and Main. One of the most convenient ways to get to the street party is to take BART to the Hayward Station, a few steps away from downtown.

Be sure to bring the kids and lawn chairs to make the most of the three events over the summer. Mark the dates on your calendar: June 19, July 17, and August 21. This is a terrific opportunity to explore Hayward's downtown, have fun with the kids, make new friends and get to know your neighbors. For more information about the street parties and space rental, call Hayward Chamber of Commerce at (510) 537-2424.

Downtown Street Parties
June 19, July 17, August 21, September 18
City of Hayward
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
"B" Street from Foothill to Mission Blvd.
(510) 537-2424

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