Weekend Fun on Both Ends of Town

Mike Lano    Harbor Bay Isle Security arrested Darth Vader for crimes against the universe at the Tillman Park annual picnic Saturday.


Two fantastic events enjoyed record turnout in fine weather this past weekend on opposite sides of town. Both events brought the community together for music, food and fun while raising money for charity.

Tilman Park Picnic
Bay Farm Island’s 27th annual picnic and fair at Tillman Park was held last Saturday in a tradition that has continued since the park’s opening in 1991. Proceeds benefited Alameda Midway Shelter. Volunteers from Alameda Recreation and Parks, Donsuemor, Island Print Express, LaVal’s Pizza, Meals On Wheels, Cardel Catering and McGee’s Pub donated their time to make the event happen.

Members of the Harbor Bay Homeowner’s Association dressed as Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper and soon-to-be-Jedi Master Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The trio made balloon animals for the kids and did face and arm painting as well. There was even a Star Wars-themed bounce house.

The USS Hornet Museum’s Clementine aircraft cockpit and Hornet volunteer Wendell Stewart’s famed 1919 Model T Ford were both on site for kids to get inside. The picnic featured performances by DJ Dave Stebbins’ band In The Mix, great food, games and a petting zoo. The zoo featured exotic ducks and chickens, bunnies, dwarf piglets, llamas, goats and more.

Blues, Brews and Barbecue on Webster
Now in its third year, Webster Street’s Blues, Brews and Barbecue fundraiser festival last Sunday was the weekend’s other smashing success. Put on by the West End Arts and Entertainment District, the festival spread over several blocks of Webster and its side streets. Delicious barbecue vendors, 16 local breweries and two wineries sold refreshments to the crowd. The line was more than 40 deep for Alameda Island Brewing Company most of the day in the beer garden area set up in US Bank’s parking lot. 

Proceeds went to support Rhythmix Cultural Works’ Performance Art and Learning Program, which offers young people a chance to see performing arts happen live. The Alameda Police Department, Alameda Municipal Power and arts-and-crafts vendors had entertaining and informative booths at the event as well. 

Event organizers included Sandra Russell of Fireside Lounge, Marie Ortega of Feathered Outlaw and Tanoa Stewart of A-Town Booking and Events.

The soundtrack came from four heavy-jammin’ Blues bands playing nearly all day long. The musicians discussed Memphis and classic Southern Blues and their differing histories between breaks on the “Mighty Webster Street Stage.” 

The public enjoyed live music from Lavay Smith’s Bluestet, The Aki Kumar Blues Band, Little Charlie’s Grinder Swing and Howell Devine. 

Mike Lano    Barbecue was one of a trio of attractions on Webster Street this past Sunday.
Mike Lano    A series of great Blues musicians brought another key component to Sunday’s event on Webster.