Petting Zoo & Car Show Highlight Fall Festival

Posted on September 26, 2014 by  
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Fall FestivalThe 23rd annual Fall Festival is scheduled for 10 am to 5 pm, this Oct. 4th and 5th, in the South Parking Plaza in downtown Los Altos.

More than 150 arts and crafts booths will offer a variety of unique handmade items, many of them showcasing fall and holiday themes. Food selections will include Chef Chu’s, Armadillo Willy’s and a variety of vendors selling tamales, burritos, crepes, smoothies, kettle corn, frozen yogurt and gyros. Soft drinks, select wines and Gordon Biersch beers will be available.

The Children’s Alley will include rides, slides, bounce houses and the Little Explorer’s Petting Zoo, which provides opportunities for hands-on interaction with goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, a pot belly pig, an alpaca and giant tortoises. Lisa the Facepainter will paint children’s faces.

The festival will feature a variety of activities and games hosted by local schools and organizations, including pumpkin painting, removable tattoos, fishing for prizes, beaded necklaces, a lollipop tree, toss games, crafts and more.

Several local musicians will perform on the KFC Main Stage, including The Mary Ellen Duo, featuring Mary Ellen Duell and Randy Cszaro; Fenny & Rossi, playing New Orleans blues; Ryan & Cece, contemporary country; Bluehouse, acoustic rock; Drive, contemporary rock; and Old School, classic ’60s rock.

A classic car show will feature more than 100 vintage cars, from a 1931 Franklin to a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle and Bus. British sports cars, including Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Triumphs, MGs and Morgans, will be showcased Sunday. Car show judges will include Los Altos Mayor Megan Satterlee, Los Altos Hills Mayor John Radford and Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis.

For more information, call 948-1455 or visit losaltoschamber.org.

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Modern Art Exhibit Comes To Town

Posted on September 3, 2014 by  
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Christies 2014The Los Altos-based Passerelle Investment Co. is teaming up with Christie’s auction house to host a pop-up exhibition of post-war and contemporary art Sept. 10-18 at 359 and 242 State St. in downtown Los Altos.

The event will showcase major works by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Richard Diebenkorn and Tracey Emin, as well as contemporary art. Displays will feature highlights from the coming auction season and works of art to be offered for private sale.

The exhibition includes an opening reception 6-10 p.m. Sept. 10.

The schedule will also feature a panel discussion, StART Up: Beginning (and Growing) Your Art Collection, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13. Panelists will include Janet Bishop, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s curator of painting and sculpture and co-curator of “Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley;” Sabrina Buell, art adviser at Zlot Buell & Associates; Claudia Altman-Siegel, gallery founder and director at Altman Siegel; and art collector Ravin Agrawal.

Charlie Adamski, Christie’s specialist on Post-War and Contemporary Art based in San Francisco, noted that while it is well-known that the Bay Area is home to some of the “most impressive” collections in private hands, it has recently become evident that it is also one of the most robust emerging markets for art collecting with a growing group of young and new collectors.

“We are particularly excited to open a dialogue with the community and new collectors at StART Up: Beginning (and Growing) Your Art Collection,” she said.

For more information, visit: Christie’s

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What Defines Village Character?

Posted on August 28, 2014 by  
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There are as many descriptions of Los Altos, as there are resident.  Carol & I enjoy hearing about the characteristics residents use to define this community they love so much. The most common title used is that Los Altos is a Village.

There are a number of projects underway around the community.  During each planning phase, the community has had the opportunity to participate in framing what they would like to see improved, and/or retain.

So, what exactly defines Village character?  Well, the Town Crier dove into the subject, and below is a slightly edited version of their article.  Enjoy …

As construction moved toward completion on streetscape improvements in downtown Los Altos, the disruption to traffic – autos and otherwise – became a distant memory after the newly planted flowers began to bloom and pedestrians replaced detour placards.

After all, the impetus for infrastructure improvements was to boost business, draw developers and create a lively and vibrant village for visitors. But before the streetscape construction began, city officials adopted Downtown Design Guidelines, outlining architectural and design elements for the residential and commercial areas within the triangle bordered by Foothill Expressway, San Antonio Road and West Edith Avenue. Read more

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Draeger’s Looking To Expand

Posted on August 14, 2014 by  
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Draeger'sDraeger’s Market has its sights set on expanding its grocery store at 342 First St., according to city planning officials.

Los Altos Senior Planner Zach Dahl told the Town Crier that the family-owned grocer – which has additional locations in Menlo Park, San Mateo and Danville – submitted plans in early July to expand the rear portion of its existing 21,000-square-foot store. Draeger’s has called its First Street store home since December 1986, when the company purchased the former Whitecliff Market property and remodeled the building. A call to Draeger’s management was not returned by the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Los Altos Planning Services Manager David Kornfield added that initial plans call for expanded storage area and a new loading dock in the rear of the building. The expansion incorporates the former dry-cleaning property adjacent to Draeger’s. Plans call for a net increase of approximately 3,000 square feet.

“Essentially what they want to do is add to the back of the building and improve their loading activities by getting big trucks (unloading goods) off the street,” Kornfield said.

In addition, Dahl noted, plans include a new stone facade for the market and an improved seating area near the store’s front entrance.

Other features, he added, include new wood trellises and updated landscaping. The grocer also plans to reconfigure its parking lot in a bid to add 15 more parking spaces. The current lot holds 72 cars.

As part of the reconfiguration, Kornfield noted that Draeger’s plans to relocate its driveway closer to the midblock point of the parking lot. The current entry point is near the entrance of the store and a crosswalk. The grocer, he added, is also expected to make sidewalk improvements as part of the project.

Overall, Dahl said the project remains in the city staff review phase. A public hearing on the project at the commission level has yet to be scheduled.

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Downtown Movie Nights Return

Posted on August 5, 2014 by  
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Movie NightLos Altos’ free outdoor movie nights light up starting Friday evening, and this year’s roster of films introduces young viewers to high-flying, witch-battling, sorcerous adventures spanning the last century. The lineup will also likely delight parents who’ve gone too long without remembering Falkor and Atreyu, Mr. Tumnus the Faun and, of course, Dorothy.

The Los Altos Village Association (LAVA) hoists a screen across Main Street for Friday Movie Nights as families spread out blankets, chairs and picnics at downtown’s core. Beginning at 6 p.m., bounce houses, a face painter and a balloon artist entertain children, and stores and restaurants remain open across downtown.

Friday evening, local merchants and other First Friday organizers are sponsoring a “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”-themed scavenger hunt to complement the first film of the season, “The Wizard of Oz.” LAVA plans to offer movie theater-type snacks on-site, and the curtain rises at 8:30 p.m.

In the weeks after “The Wizard of Oz,” LAVA has scheduled “The Indian in the Cupboard (Aug. 8), “The NeverEnding Story” (Aug. 15), the BBC adaptation of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Aug. 22) and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (Aug. 29).

Themed family activities precede each film – after the “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” scavenger hunt, LAVA has scheduled a craft night for “The Indian in the Cupboard,” a favorite stuffed animal show-and-tell for “The NeverEnding Story,” a mythical creature bingo game for “Narnia” and a costume night for “Harry Potter.”

LAVA has hosted the summer film series for more than a decade. The organization acquired its own audio/visual equipment in the early days of the event.

“I’ve had many calls over the years wanting to know how we do it,” LAVA Executive Director Nancy Dunaway said, noting that the movie-night phenomenon has spread through neighboring cities. “It’s just so much fun – it’s Americana. The moment 6 o’clock hits, people are running out with their blankets and chairs.”

The series attracts anywhere from 400 to 700 participants, as families return from holidays and the event crescendos in the waning days of summer.

For more information, visit downtownlosaltos.org.

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Downtown Green Park Returns In August

Posted on July 24, 2014 by  
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Third Street GreenAnother temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community development director for Passerelle Investment Co., the Third Street Green is slated to open Aug. 3 and will remain in place through the end of the month. Located on Third Street between State Street and Plaza North, the pop-up park is the second of its kind to appear in the downtown triangle this summer.

A second rendition of the State Street Green, which debuted in the summer of 2013, popped up for three weeks in late May along the 300 block of State Street.

City officials agreed to open the park at that time while Safeway closed the State and First streets intersection to complete crosswalk construction work. In late March, the Los Altos City Council approved the placement of a temporary park on Third Street after the conclusion of the annual Arts & Wine Festival.

Smith said the upcoming Third Street Green – though similar in concept – would vary slightly from its predecessors on State Street.

“It’s much smaller – only about 2,500 square feet,” said Smith, who added that the park would feature seating areas with tables, among other amenities also available at the recent State Street Green. “It will make it more intimate, and it’s a lot more shaded.”

Smith added that she’s finalizing the park’s entertainment programming, which will be free and open to the public on a drop-in basis.

“There will be a range of activities for kids and adults during the day and evening,” said Smith, who is working on scheduling some Saturday night musical performances geared toward adults.

According to Smith, the Third Street Green will also feature a multicolored LED string-lighting display by Arup, a San Francisco-based lighting design company. The display will run nightly from sundown to midnight, depicting different sequences of lights fading in and out above the park. The Bay Lights art project in San Francisco inspired the concept, she noted.

“Basically, people will be able to come and watch light performances every night at the park,” said Smith, who hopes that the park feature will attract residents to the downtown area at night.

In addition, the park will feature a grand piano donated by the Sunset Piano Project in Half Moon Bay. It will remain at the park for three weeks, available to anyone interested in entertaining park visitors.

“Anyone can play – there’s no need to schedule anything,” Smith said.  For more information, visit thirdstreetgreen.com.

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35th Annual Art & Wine Festival

Posted on July 10, 2014 by  
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Los Altos Art & Wine FestivalCome to downtown Los Altos this Saturday & Sunday, July 12 and 13 from 10am to 6pm.  The weather should be perfect as the downtown transforms into the largest two-day mid-summer event in the Bay Area.

The highly-rated Arts & Wine Festival showcases the distinctive works of artists and craftspeople from over a dozen states. The Festival also features select vintages by the glass from local wineries as well as a wide variety of foods including Thai, Chinese, Mexican, All American favorites like sausages, hot links and roasted corn, sweets of all kinds, and more.

Enjoy our day long free concerts from performers such as Sage, The Cocktail Monkeys, The House Rockers, Debbie Thacker, and Fred McCarty.

The Festival is a great event for the whole family with a large selection of rides, activities and entertainment for children all weekend in the Kidzone.

For more information, visit the Los Altos Village Association at: http://www.downtownlosaltos.org

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Linden Tree Kicks Off Summer Series

Posted on June 26, 2014 by  
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Steve Chaney and his puppet Cornelius CrowSteve Chaney and his puppet Cornelius Crow launched the Linden Tree Books Summer 2014 Concert Series last week in downtown Los Altos. The pair performed for approximately 50 children and parents gathered in a reading room at the back of the store.

With the aid of “Corny Crow” and two other puppets, ventriloquist Chaney engaged the audience – primarily comprising 4- to 6-year-olds – with songs, animal noises, juggling and jokes for 30 minutes.

“I liked seeing the kids laugh a lot,” parent Ming Hui said.

The performance was the first of nine free weekly shows scheduled at Linden Tree, 265 State St. Performances are slated 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 13.

Event Manager Dee Ellman said Linden Tree is the “heart of Los Altos” and that the concert series is a way to connect with the community. Although admission is free, Ellman encourages attendees to donate a book to benefit Reading Partners, the local literacy organization that matches one-on-one tutors with students who have fallen behind in reading.

“Part of Linden Tree is its world of reading and developing imagination, and Reading Partners helps that mission,” Ellman said.

Ellman added that her favorite part of the concert series is “seeing all the kids that come and the big charge they get from the performers.”

The schedule:

• July 2: MaryLee Sunseri. The singer/guitarist performs popular and original songs and interacts with the audience.

• July 9: Mr. Horsefeathers. Steven Koehler, aka Mr. Horsefeathers, performs magic, juggling and comedy.

• July 16: Nancy Cassidy. She performs folk songs, some of them originals, aimed at audiences of all ages.

• July 23: Andy Z. The musician, storyteller and interactive entertainer is known for his high-energy shows.

• July 30: Jump for Joy with Wiley Rankin. He introduces rhythms through song and dance, encouraging children to participate in the show.

• Aug. 6: Snail People. The duo (Mindy Dillard and Eric McEuen) uses a variety of instruments and genres in its performances.

• Aug. 13: Lori & RJ/Cotton Candy Express. New to the series, the group caps the summer slate with a hands-on musical show.

For more information, call 949-3390 or visit lindentreebooks.com and click the “Events” tab.

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Los Altos Pet Parade Invites Entries

Posted on April 23, 2014 by  
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Los Altos Pet ParadeRegistration for the 67th annual Kiwanis Pet Parade, scheduled 10 a.m. May 17, has opened and will continue through May 6.

School groups, individuals and families can register for the event at losaltoskiwanis.org/events/pet-parade.

Although official registration closes May 6, no person or pet will be turned away from participating in the parade.

Registrants and those wishing to be included without preregistration must find a Kiwanis volunteer clad in a yellow shirt for directions to the appropriate staging area prior to the parade start.

The annual event showcases a variety of pets marching or being carried down Main and State streets, accompanied by their owners.

Los Altos Police Sergeant Paul Arguelles, who has assisted the Kiwanians with the Pet Parade for many years, will serve as this year’s grand marshal.

The community’s first Pet Parade occurred in 1947, five years before the city of Los Altos incorporated. Over the years, it has become a spring tradition that attracts thousands of children and a range of pets – from snails to llamas – on foot, on horseback, in wagons and on bicycles.

Representatives from local bands, schools and other community groups also join the march.

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“Al the Barber” Bids Farewell

Posted on April 16, 2014 by  
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Al the BarberThe business Al Galedrige built is older than Los Altos itself. He opened Al’s Barber Shop in 1948 – four years before Los Altos was incorporated.

But no one can claim that Galedrige cut his career short by retiring last week at age 88.

The Los Altos resident sheared his last strand of hair this month – 67 years after opening the downtown shop now run by Greg Giedt. There was no grand exit: Galedrige simply posted a handwritten thank-you note on the door at 365 Central Plaza.

Although retirement will allow him to spend more time on the golf course and in the garden with his wife, Carol, Galedrige admitted that he would miss his regulars. One haircut at a time, he’s witnessed boys grow into men and has made many friends along the way.

“It has been a pleasure serving the city of Los Altos and the most wonderful customers in the world,” he wrote in the note.

While the downtown has changed over the years, with the small-town feel giving way to upscale shops and restaurants, the striped barbershop pole remains out front as an invitation to those in need of a trim – or even a buzz cut. The furnishings inside the shop have changed some, but not the antique barbershop chairs featuring thick tan leather covers and metal foot stands with intricate metal castings.

Adding a sense of nostalgia, Galedrige and Giedt use a brass cash register for transactions. Memorabilia from World War II cover the shop walls – Galedrige served in the U.S. Navy during the war – and photos of patrons add a personal touch.

Galedrige studied to become a barber soon after returning from the Battle of Iwo Jima. After learning his trade in San Francisco, he secured employment at one of the three barbershops in Los Altos in the 1940s. When the opportunity arose, Galedrige purchased the barbershop on Main Street in which he worked. Al’s Barber Shop was born.

Sitting comfortably in one of the barber chairs with his feet propped up, Galedrige reminisced last week about his customers. While talking politics, war memories and lighter subjects like fishing, Galedrige noted that he’s cut the hair of the late David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard; Bill Krause, philanthropist and former 3Com CEO; and the late Sen. Alan Cranston.

Although Galedrige will miss his job, he’ll be back at the shop occasionally – for a trim.

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