Eventful Weekend Draws Thick Crowds

Buzz Aldrin signs his new book.

Three major events this weekend drew people from around the region and nation to the Island City. Dr. Buzz Aldrin, of second-man-on-the-moon fame, arrived Saturday to celebrate the 45th anniversary of his return to earth when the Apollo 11 spacecraft splashed down into the Pacific Ocean and was rescued by the Hornet itself. Aldrin brought some celebrity to the Island, and a very significant audience.

He talked about his childhood, his experience as a fighter pilot prior to becoming an astronaut, and about the voyage to the moon and back.

"I still enjoy seeing the footage they’ll be showing of us up there. It’s still kind of surreal to me because the entire world was watching it," said Aldrin. "I was here for the 40th, and even though I’m only 75, I’ll be here for the 50th!"

Aldrin is also on a speaking tour to promote his new book Mission to Mars and his vision for making an effort to visit the Red Planet.

Both days of the weekend brought crowds from on and off the Island to enjoy the Park Street Art and Wine Faire’s food, drink, music and art. The Sunday during the faire tends to coincide with the annual Alameda Fire Department (AFD) Pancake Breakfast at Station No. 1.

Alameda native and Fire Captain Rick Murray began the event in 1996 with proceeds initially going to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, "enhancing the quality of life for burn survivors and promoting burn prevention education." AFD has since expanded by donating to local charities including: Alameda Point Collaborative, The Boys and Girls Club, Alameda Family Services, and local youth sport leagues. Over the 18 years the breakfast has been held, AFD has raised upwards of $75,000.

Mike Lano and Juan Medrano contributed to this story.

Ed Nixon and Jim Collins
Dallas (front), Isabella (middle) Diego Ross (back), children of Alameda Firefighter Cleveland Ross with volunteer and retired Alameda firefighter of 29 years Al Smith serving up the pancakes this past Sunday.
Zebop, a Santana Tribute band, performed “Maria Maria” got the crowd on its feet swaying to the soulful beat at the Park Street Art and Wine Faire’s Encinal Avenue stage Sunday afternoon.