Summer street fairs are not only a great experience, but also one of the best ways to enrich your summer and spend time with those you love. Some street fairs may seem too far to journey to, but there is an abundance of local street fairs that can be found all over the East Bay. If you are looking for more than a day sitting at home waiting for excitement to come to you, then make the trip to get some fresh air, experience live music and enjoy a variety of art forms — it will be well worth your time.
Sunday Streets Berkeley
One of the most popular street fairs to look forward to this summer began June 2 and carries on throughout the summer — Sunday Streets Berkeley. The roads will be car-free, so you can walk, bike, skate, dance and cavort through the fair. If you’re feeling tired of the normally car-infested streets and are looking to be surrounded by smiling people of all ages instead, this will be the perfect way to switch things up. The fair season started with a block party on Telegraph Avenue on June 2, followed by one on northern Shattuck Avenue taking place June 9, and it will conclude on July 14 in Downtown Berkeley. All the street fairs are free and include activities such as juggling, skateboarding, face painting and more. Local businesses, musicians and artists will all be present.
Haight Ashbury Street Fair
Making the trip to the Haight Ashbury Street Fair may require more effort, but the day trip will be filled with entertaining activities and the chance to experience a carefree sense of community. This year’s 42nd annual celebration of the free-spirited Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will take place June 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The colorful Haight Street won’t disappoint with live music, food booths and merchandise. This will be the perfect place to hang out with friends, with music on both ends of the street along with endless art to admire around every corner.
The Juneteenth Festival
Communities nationwide celebrate Juneteenth to honor the contributions Black people have made to our nation. The Juneteenth Festival takes up several blocks in South Berkeley and attracts people of all ages and nationalities. There will be live music including drumming, jazz, blues, soul, gospel, R&B and reggae. There are also specialty performances such as dance, spoken word and fashion, as well as historical exhibits and nonprofit organizations with information about community resources. It’s a great chance to shop and enjoy food. It all takes place June 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in South Berkeley’s five-block Alcatraz-Adeline corridor.
North Beach Festival
Celebrating its 65th year, the North Beach Festival will take place this summer on Grant Avenue in San Francisco on June 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. This lively fair provides visitors with more than enough entertainment, with activities ranging from gourmet food vendors to arts and crafts opportunities. Live music and Italian street painting will fill the streets, and you are welcome to take kids to the designated chalk art area. For those interested in a chance to bond with family and friends over music, art and food, this festival is for you.
Solano Avenue Stroll
The East Bay’s largest street festival, the Solano Avenue Stroll, takes place Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Solano Avenue in Albany and Berkeley. There are dozens of vendors, entertainers, food booths, government and nonprofit agencies (you can network!), hand-crafters and more. The event kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m., so get there early if you can, and be prepared for crowds, since more than 200,000 participants and guests have taken part in the past. Last year, special events included a “Green Zone” featuring tips for green living and building and “The Stage Door,” which hosted dozens of local performance groups. Free shuttles are available from the North Berkeley BART station to Marin Avenue (one block from Solano Avenue).
We only have so much time to enjoy the freedom of summer, so head out to one of these street fairs while you can and make the most of this beautiful, stress-free summer!