Man-made snow will blanket a half-block area on Shattuck Avenue as part of a “snow day” winter-themed festival Sunday.
The event, sponsored by the North Shattuck Association, will offer refreshments, activities for children and promotions held by nearby businesses. The snowed-in area, from 1450 to 1500 Shattuck Ave., between Rose and Vine streets, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
According to the North Shattuck Association executive director Heather Hensley, this year marks the sixth-annual snow day. The event usually draws a large crowd, she said.
Event producer Lisa Bullwinkel said the snow-generating equipment works by grinding ice and throwing it into the air and will eventually create a controlled area of snow a couple of feet deep. Once the snow is on the ground, she said, the area will be opened to visitors.
Children’s attractions include holiday-themed arts and crafts projects, face-painting, pony rides and complimentary cider and snacks from Andronico’s Community Markets. There will also be a costumed snow queen available to meet and greet children.
Retailers from the surrounding blocks will hold special promotions during the snow day, including YogaKula, a nearby spa and yoga studio, which will offer free services such as classes, massages and acupuncture. Owner Saraswati Clere said the North Shattuck Association has been proactive about organizing such community events.
“We’re always doing events together as a group,” she said. “What’s nice is we can send people from one business to another, and it’s very supportive.”
Lisa Tana, another local retailer, said the snow day was more of a community-building event than an opportunity for promotion. The snow day will kick off a weeks-long nonperishable food drive at her decor shop A Priori, which will benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
“I can’t say it’s necessarily always a big boon for the retailers, but I think for the community it’s a great thing, and it gives us exposure, so we love that,” Tana said. “It is more for the families and the kids, so if there’s a benefit to the retail stores, that’s just an added bonus.”
Jewelry retailer M. Lowe & Company is also holding a snow-themed fundraiser during the event. Festival goers can purchase a snowball — the proceeds from which will benefit Berkeley Arts Magnet School — which may contain a real diamond ring. Last year’s winner, Bullwinkel said, was a recently engaged woman who hadn’t yet bought a ring.
“Bring some mittens and a little shovel, especially if you come later,” she said. “It tends to get packed down and a little bit icy, but if you dig it up a little bit, there’s nice soft snow underneath to play with.”