Oakland Summer Festival Guide: The Best of the Sunny Side of the Bay

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — It’s heating up on the “Sunny Side of the Bay” in more ways than one, with jam-packed activities to officially kick off the start of summer. Visit Oakland this summer for the best of summertime fun, including everything from food truck festivals and barbecue cook-offs to citywide triathlons and pride festivities. Read on for the complete guide of Oakland festivals and activities for summer 2014.


What the Truck! When: June 21, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Where: Jack London Square Food trucks have become a coveted staple for events and festivals. But What the Truck! takes four-wheeled vehicles to the next level, including everything from gaming and art trucks to glam and accessory boutiques (on wheels). Visitors can bike, ferry, drive or BART to this free festival in Jack London Square.

Walk in the Wild: An Epicurean Escapade When: June 21, 5 – 8 p.m. Where: Oakland Zoo Show some love for Oakland’s Zoo at the 22nd Annual Walk in the Wild. Sample the best of the best in the Bay Area, including bakeries, breweries, caterers, restaurants and wineries. Pro tip: Be sure to stay late for dancing and dessert after the main event.

Garden of Memory When: June 21, 5 – 9 p.m. Where: Chapel of the Chimes Welcome the long days of summer with a music-filled celebration at Chapel of the Chimes, kicking off the summer solstice. A rare chance to walk through one of Oakland’s most beautiful historic buildings and enjoy live music all at the same time. Pro tip: Extend your summer celebration with an ice cream from Fentons Creamery, down the street on Piedmont Avenue.

Montclair Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival When: June 27 – 29, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Where: Montclair Village More than 80 of the Bay Area’s most talented artists will come together to display their crafts in the quaint neighborhood of Montclair. Sip on one (or two) of the 20 artisan wines and craft brews as you peruse.

Evolution Expo When: June 27 – 29 Where: Oakland Convention Center The Evolution Expo will bring a bit of Sci-Fi to Oakland, including three full days of interactive exhibits, games, panels, and a chance to meet NASA astronauts in person. On top of this, The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik is the keynote speaker.


July 4th Festival of Family Fun When: July 4, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Where: Jack London Square Kick off the Independence Day weekend at Jack London Square’s annual 4th of July Festival, including tasty treats and entertainment for all. Pro tip: Fireworks are not included, but this is a great family-friendly celebration.

4th of July Cruise When: July 4, 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. Where: USS Potomac Wondering where to find the best views of the fireworks around the Bay? On the water, of course! The USS Potomac (otherwise known as F.D.R.’s Floating White House) invites you to cruise the Bay VIP style while sipping on champagne and other fancy foods. Call for tickets today: 510-627-1215.

11th Annual Temescal Street Fair When: July 6, Noon – 6 p.m. Where: Telegraph Avenue between 51st and 42nd streets Oakland’s Temescal Street Fair is one of the most popular cultural events of the summer, showcasing The Town’s creative artists and entertainers. Be sure to bring the kids to this family-friendly festival, including a special kid’s stage for the little ones.

An Intimate Evening When: July 26, 6 – 11 p.m. Where: Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate Adorn yourselves in your favorite summer whites for Dunsmuir’s elegant annual event. Live music, line dancing, carriage rides, martinis – you’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a movie at this picturesque event.

Pedalfest When: July 26, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Where: Jack London Square Get ready for a day of all things bikes, including pedal-powered food and sound stages, vintage bike collections, stunts by cycling daredevils, kids’ bike rodeos — the works!


Urban Wine Xperience When: August 2, 1 – 5 p.m. Where: Jack London Square Ferry Lawn Urban wineries in Oakland? That’s right. The East Bay Vintners Alliance is home to over 20 award-winning urban wineries. Now’s your chance to taste them all in one sitting, paired with delicious bites from local eateries.

14th Annual Art + Soul When: August 2 & 3 Downtown Oakland Where: Oakland’s premier summer festival is back and better than ever! This year, get ready for the inaugural Oaktown Throwdown BBQ competition, bringing together both professional and backyard smokers competing for the “Grand Champion” title. And of course, a lineup of top-notch musicians, live art and family-friendly fun. Pro tip: Be sure to attend both days – each day has a different flavor and lineup not to be missed.

Laurel World Music & Food Festival When: August 9, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Where: MacArthur @ 35th Avenue Head to the Laurel District for the neighborhood’s 15th annual Laurel Street Fair. Year to year, the event draws upwards of 8,000 people, and continues to raise the bar for some of the best music, crafts, fashion shows and food vendors of any neighborhood festival.

The Town’s Half Marathon When: August 9, 7 a.m. – Noon Where: Start/end at Frank Ogawa Plaza at City Hall Lace up those running shoes – it’s time to explore The Town with this inaugural race! Not much of an athlete? Cheer on the runners at the finish line at the RunOak Festival, including local music, food, beer and wine.

2nd Annual Mezcal and Tequila Festival When: August (Date TBD) Where: Tamarindo Antojeria Nothing says summer like Mezcal and Tequila. Sample the flavorful spirits as you learn the history and culture from the masterminds in the industry. Keep your eyes peeled for the exact date and time for this tasty festival.

Chinatown StreetFest When: August 23 & 24, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Where: Oakland’ Chinatown District Join the thousands of visitors and locals from the Bay Area and beyond at Oakland’s annual Chinatown StreetFest celebration, a perfect way to experience Chinatown’s preserved traditions. Unique Asian products, live entertainment and delicious foods are just things to enjoy at this weekend-long celebration.

Oakland Pride Festival When: August 31, Noon – 8 p.m. Where: Uptown Oakland (22nd & Franklin streets) Celebrate Oakland’s diversity and culture at the 5th Annual Oakland Pride. With multiple stages, family gardens and wedding pavilions, there’s nothing that Oakland Pride hasn’t covered. En Vogue was the headline performer in 2013, so you never know who will be on the roster for this year’s event.

Oakland Triathlon When: August 31 Where: Begins in Jack London Square Oakland is truly becoming the endurance capital of the West Coast. Not only is the city home to two annual running festivals, but it will also host the inaugural Oakland Triathlon Festival, the largest West Coast urban triathlon! Bike through Oakland’s downtown, run around Lake Merritt, swim in the Oakland Estuary – experience some of the best of Oakland all in one active day.

For more details on Oakland festivals, visit The Oakland Ray.

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Lindsay Wright