A World-Class Art and Music Festival and Great Entertainment Value

Summer vacation is over. The kids are back in school. Maybe you’re wrapping up a hectic work week. You could use a nice, relaxing yet fun-filled weekend that won’t break the bank. If a free admission, sun-splashed festival featuring world-class art by 600 of America’s top artists, two days of great music, fabulous food and drink, home and garden exhibits, health and wellness displays, an organic and green products showcase and tons of fun for kids sounds good to you, head to downtown Mountain View for the 38th Annual Art & Wine Festival, September 12-13.

One of America’s top art shows, the festival has a well-deserved reputation as a world-class event. Stroll downtown’s cool Castro Street and experience a vibrant, multicultural scene, an authentic feast for the senses. One of California’s largest two-day festivals, throngs of art lovers are expected to pour into Silicon Valley’s epicenter for this “Cultural Community Celebration” presented by the Chamber of Commerce Mountain View. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Admission is free.

The Beginning
The first festival was organized by the Chamber of Commerce as a fund-raiser in 1971. Today, the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival is considered one of the nation’s premier events. Realizing the goal of its founders, the festival provides a solid base of revenue that helps fund Chamber programs throughout the year. Proceeds are invested in carefully crafted programs that help strengthen and bring together Mountain View’s diverse community. Among the programs sponsored by the Chamber are Yipee (Young Innovative Professional Entrepreneurs Etc), SOAR –– a new Workforce Development pilot program, Business ConneXions and Leadership Mountain View.

New to the Festival
This year’s festival will highlight an infusion of artists and craftmakers with fresh work and a variety of affordable price points, a diverse and star-studded lineup of bands, the introduction of top shelf wines to complement a fabulous array of world cuisine, an expanded Organic, Healthy & Green products showcase and the new Best Buy School of Rock Stage where YOU become the rock star. The festival also plans to step up its comprehensive greening and recycling effort through the involvement of community-based environmental group, Green Mountain View, and its team of dedicated volunteers.

Extraordinary Art, Fine Crafts
California Artists brings its highly-respected stable of exceptional artists and fine craftmakers to the festival. “We have many new artists this year joining longtime event favorites,” said Nancie Allie, founder of California Artists. “Festivalgoers will find unique, original art and fine crafts with a variety of price points for personal purchases, gifts or additions to private collections. It’s a great opportunity to meet the artists that do the work.” Festivalgoers will find thousands of handcrafted items by America’s very best artists and craftmakers while browsing among 600 booths featuring original work in glass, ceramics, metals, fiber, leather, wood, jewelry, and fine art. Beautiful vases, clocks, dishes, wall and table decorations, paperweights, stained and beveled glass, etchings, sculptures, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, beadwork, gold and silver jewelry, vests, handbags, hats, wallets, footwear, and waterfalls will be among the thousands of one-of-a-kind items available.

Live Music
Twelve big-name bands play a wide-ranging musical mix on stage and street … Motown, rhythm and blues, country, swing, rock ‘n roll, jazz, soul, world-beat, Celtic folk, funk, disco, Latin rock, rumba flamenco and party music. Performing are The Joe Sharino Band, Caravanserai, The California Cowboys, La Ventana, Zoo Station, Emerson & The Growiser Band, Kaweh, Dreamroad, Bob Culbertson, Aryeh Frankfurter, HeartStrings Music and Ancient Winds.

Kids’ Park
Action-packed Kids’ Park, located in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, will feature a host of family-style entertainment and amusements. YOU become the rock star on the Best Buy School of Rock Stage playing The Beatles: Rock Band, the fab fours greatest hits, on Rock Band guitar, bass, keyboard and drums, complete with LCD TVs and rock-star lighting. Neighboring Tishman Speyer Properties Kids’ Park will feature hands-on art booths, a 24-foot climbing wall, temporary tattoos, the tummy-tickling Froghopper and Helicopter rides, Cat-In-The Hat bounce house, Tsunami Tidal Wave slide, colorful wax hands art, whimsical sand sculptures, and thrilling virtual reality motion theater.

Festive Food & Drink
Festival eateries will be serving up a world of flavorful fare –– fresh corn-on-the-cob, tamales, tacos, Philly cheesesteaks, baked potatoes with the trimmings, pizza, nachos, lamb/beef/chicken kababs, smoked bratwurst, spicy beef sausages, made-to-order crepes, garlic chicken sandwiches, teriyaki pork/chicken/shrimp skewers, garlic fries, orange chicken with fried rice, key lime calamari, fish and chips, smoked turkey legs, nachos with cheese, smoothies, kettle corn and more. Complementing the fabulous food will be premium wines, refreshing margaritas, and microbrews. This year’s special festival brew from Tied House is a hearty, strong India Pale Ale. Tied House’s stellar Cascade Amber Ale, Stella Artois, Budweiser American Ale, Shock Top Belgian White and Bud Light Lime will also be served. Wine lovers will be tempted by luscious vintages from from several outstanding winemakers including Snap Dragon, BV, Chalone and Acacia. Sip your favorite beverage in a beautiful wine or beer glass adorned with the stylish festival logo.

“Greening” Efforts
The Chamber of Commerce Mountain View has teamed up with Foothill Disposal Company, Inc., Green Mountain View and the City of Mountain View to promote and maximize recycling. Festival food vendors are required to use recyclable food ware. Beer and margaritas will be served in recyclable plastic cups (as well as in festival glassware). Free-standing containers will be positioned throughout the festival route for recycling glass, plastic and aluminum. Additionally, there will be large recycling containers for cardboard and mixed paper as well as glass, plastic and aluminum in strategic locations for event staff, vendors and sponsors. “We’re absolutely committed to making the festival as green and sustainable as possible –– it’s a priority for us and something we diligently plan for and try to improve every year,” said Oscar Garcia, President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Organic, Healthy & Green Products Showcase
This year’s festival will feature the latest and greatest exhibits featuring Organic, Natural, Healthy and Eco-Friendly products. Festivalgoers can enjoy free product samples and gather information while experiencing first-hand how these products and organizations can help you live a better, healthier and “greener” lifestyle and be a positive catalyst for change. Sponsors include Capay Organics Farm Fresh To You, Larabar, Cascadian Farm, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, El Camino Hospital, Kaiser-Permanente, Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley, Smiles Dental, American Laser Centers, Spinal Health, University Chiropractic, Peninsula Laser Eye Medical Group, Sunnyvale Chiropractic and Icelandic Glacial Natural Spring Water.

Home & Garden Exhibits
For home improvement ideas, check out product displays and chat with representatives from Heavenly Greens, Danmer Custom Shutters, Southwest Greens, Cutco Cutlery, Gutter Helmet, Kitchen Pros, BathFitter, Del Contes Landscaping, Kitchen Experts of California, and The Craftsmens’ Guild.
Spectacular Sponsors
Additional sponsors include Microsoft User Research Group, The Swig Company, Google, Tishman Speyer Properties, Wells Fargo, Santa Clara Valley Water District, ME Fox Company, Stella Artois, Budweiser American Ale, Shock Top Belgian White, Bud Light Lime, Budweiser, Provident Credit Union, Smiles Dental, Foothill Disposal, AT&T “The Real Yellow Pages”, Shell Vacations Club, El Dorado Ranch, Yellow Checker Cab, Xceed Financial, Hotel Avante, California Department of Tourism, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, The Little Gym of Mountain View, The Margarita King, Tied House Café & Brewery, Duarte Design, VTA, CBS 5 –– Channel 5, The CW –– Channel 44, Comcast, Wave Magazine, Alice 97.3 FM, KBAY 94.5 FM, KEZR 106.5 FM, KFOX 98.5 FM, Channel 104.9 FM, Movin’ 99.7 FM, and KRTY 95.3 FM.

Street Closures
Castro Street will be closed to traffic from El Camino Real to Evelyn Avenue for the two-day festival.

Bicycle Parking
Avoid the traffic congestion and ride your bike. Bicycle valet parking will be available at the corner of Castro and Church Streets.

Vehicle Parking
Some free parking is available on streets and parking plazas surrounding the downtown area. Paid parking ($5) will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 400 Castro Street (parking lot entrance on Bryant Street), 444 Castro Street (parking lot entrance on Bryant Street), Kaiser Permanente (555 Castro Street –– parking lot entrance on Hope Street) and Washington Mutual (749 El Camino Real/Castro Street). Parking fees benefit the Community Health Awareness Council, creating healthy lives for children and families in Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Public Transportation
Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will be running its normal weekend schedule with Bus and Light Rail service to Downtown Mountain View. Ride VTA Light Rail (exit at the Mountain View Transit Center) or VTA Bus Lines 22, 32, 35, and 522 to the Festival. Please note Bus Lines 32 and 522 do not operate on Sundays.

No Pets, Please
Pets are not allowed at the festival. For the safety, comfort, and courtesy of your pets and festivalgoers, please leave your pets at home.

Festival Dates/Hours/Location
The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on September 12-13. It is held on Castro Street from El Camino Real to Evelyn Avenue. Admission is free.

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.