Neptune Beach

Performance, presentation celebrate Island City history

Last year’s Island City Waterways (ICW) presented by Rhythmix Cultural Works celebrated Alameda’s north shore with a site specific roving art experience that left many a local resident spellbound. The artful presentation of local history expressed through dance, poetry and visual art broke new ground in the city. This year, a new version of ICW is centered around Alameda’s south shore history centered at Crab Cove.

 

March 31, 1917 dawned a sunny, but frosty day in Alameda. Robert C. Strehlow and his partners August Freese and Pete Peterson weren’t worried though. They knew that the frost would dissipate and the sun would warm the day and attract visitors as the doors opened for the first time at Neptune Beach. The trio had waited for this day. They had gone to considerable expense to convert the long-closed Neptune Gardens to a more modern attraction. 

Dancers cavort as if swimming in the Neptune Beach pool that once lay beneath their feet as musicians perform and narrators tell the amusement park’s story as part of last weekend’s Island City Waterways. Over the two days, some 40 artists retold the varied history of Alameda’s Crab Cove, including the era when it served as a training facility for Merchant Marine officers, through dance, music and poetry in eight performances. Audiences moved from location to location in the park, enjoying a unique performance in each spot.

 

Neptune Beach opened its doors 100 years ago on March 31, 1917. To celebrate the occasion, Alameda Sun publishers and historians Eric J. Kos and Dennis Evanosky will lead a two-hour history walk this Saturday, April 1. 

Before learning about the “Coney Island of the West,” tourgoers will meet one of Alameda’s founders and enjoy an imaginary pint at the Palace Brewery. Learn about the “Eppsicle” and see what’s left of Neptune Beach’s footprint. Meet at 10 a.m. at Taylor Avenue and Webster Street.