Kiwanis Pet Parade This Saturday

Posted on May 13, 2015 by  
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Kiwanis Pet ParadeThe Kiwanis Club of Los Altos is scheduled to host the 68th annual Kiwanis Pet Parade 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Los Altos.

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

Monique Kane, executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council, will serve as this year’s grand marshal. After 29 years with the agency, Kane recently announced her retirement.

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

Representatives from local bands, schools and community groups join the procession.

Local dignitaries in classic cars accompany the marchers. This year’s guests will include Los Altos Mayor Jan Pepper, Los Altos Hills Mayor Courtenay C. Corrigan, Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis, Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier and Board of Trustees President Steve Taglio and Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Superintendent Barry Groves and Board of Trustees President Susan Sweeley.


Bands Flock To First Friday Events

Posted on April 3, 2015 by  
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Sunday SevenLos Altos Forward’s April First Friday event is scheduled today from 6-8 p.m. in downtown Los Altos.

The monthly events feature extended store hours, complimentary refreshments, live entertainment and in-store activities. Scheduled musical groups for Friday’s event include Mars, Sunday Seven, 37th Parallel, Influx, and Mollie and Scott.

Perhaps the most visual and audible elements at First Friday events are the performing artists along Main and State streets. According to First Fridays organizer Carol Garsten, the bands simply show up to perform.

“We do not pay these people – they are just community members who love music and Los Altos,” she said.

The Sunday Seven accordion band makes regular appearances at Los Altos First Fridays. Band members hail from all over the South Bay, including Los Altos and Mountain View.

“It’s fun,” said band leader Bob Stanfield. “We enjoy sharing our music with others, and we like to engage the listeners to sing or dance while we play. We enjoy playing as a group. We especially like to see the kids dancing or singing. They don’t often get to see accordions, so they seem fascinated with the instrument.”

Most of the bands’ members have day jobs. In the case of classic-rock cover band Fully Funded, all members are high-tech executives from Los Altos. Woody Arnold and Don Jaworski are CEOs of startups, Kevin Thompson is also a CEO and James Althoff is a retired chief technology officer.

The group, playing nostalgic tunes from the likes of The Beatles, Steve Miller and the Eagles, is in it for the joy of playing music.

“It’s fun to entertain the families and friends that come by on First Friday,” Arnold said. “We like to help Los Altos and the shops downtown. It’s nice to help make downtown a more vibrant place for people to enjoy.”

Watch for more band profiles in upcoming previews of First Friday events. For more information, visit


Tom Hanks Surprises Girl Scouts

Posted on March 11, 2015 by  
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Tom HanksGirl Scouts selling cookies on State Street in downtown Los Altos received an unexpected surprise Feb. 28 when a bona fide movie star not only bought cookies, but also tried to help the girls sell more boxes to other passersby.

Tom Hanks, a Hollywood legend – and Bay Area native – who has appeared in some of the biggest blockbusters of the past 25 years, purchased four boxes, donated an additional $20 and offered to have his photo taken with people who recognized him – as long as they bought cookies, too.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” said Archana Appanna, whose daughter was one of the three Scouts selling cookies that Saturday. “We did not know who he was (at first) because he covered his face with a baseball cap and glasses.”

But Appanna and the girls soon saw through the disguise. They left their post and rushed up to Hanks as he was walking away, catching up to him in front of Linden Tree Books.

“Are you Tom Hanks?” came the question. “Yes,” he answered.

Once discovered, picture taking began, initially with Hanks and the girls. But another family walked by, spotted Hanks and asked for a picture, too. His reply? “Only if you buy cookies from these young ladies.”

Hanks, accompanied by his college-age son, Truman, was in town to visit the typewriter shop, Los Altos Business Machines, at 100 State St. Truman is a freshman at Stanford University. It turns out that Hanks is a big typewriter collector. He initially went to the store to have his son’s typewriter repaired, but he ended up buying two vintage Smith-Coronas.

John Sansone, owner of the typewriter store, did not immediately recognize Hanks until he heard him speak.  “I never realized how distinctive his voice is,” he said. “It was right out of a movie.”


What Defines Village Character?

Posted on February 28, 2015 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


Celebrate Love At First Friday

Posted on February 6, 2015 by  
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Ellen BiolsiLos Altos Forward has scheduled a Valentine-themed First Friday event – “Celebrating Love” – 6-8 p.m. Friday in downtown Los Altos.

The evening will feature activities for all ages. Visitors are invited to browse and shop at more than 60 stores and galleries, many of which offer First Friday discounts as well as complimentary refreshments. Participating stores will have red and white balloons out front. Many restaurants will serve a “First Friday Special.”

Live entertainment will include performances by six local bands: Sunday Seven at Le Boulanger, 37th Parallel at Chase Bank, Fully Funded at the Costume Bank, Mollie & Scott at BK Collections, Influx at Linden Tree Books and Mars at On Your Mark.

Programs will be available at the First Friday Headquarters outside Village Stationers at 222 Main St. For a list of participating businesses and more information, visit:


Pharmacy Headed To Main Street

Posted on January 2, 2015 by  
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Pharmaca coming to 400 Main StreetA new tenant is slated to call the recently completed 400 Main St. development its new home early next year.

Colorado-based Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy has signed a lease to open a new location at the Jeffrey A. Morris Group’s mixed-use development, according to a company spokesperson. A grand-opening date has been tentatively scheduled for Feb. 28.

The company was founded in 2000 and is currently headquartered in Boulder, Colo. It offers a variety of traditional and holistic products, as well as services provided by a wide range of practitioners, including herbalists, naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists and chiropractors.

Pharmaca currently has 27 locations throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and California, including pharmacies locally in Los Gatos and Menlo Park.

For more information, visit


New Year’s Day Fun Run

Posted on December 27, 2014 by  
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New Year Fun Run

Free run, walk, roll 5k race is held every New Year’s Day rain or shine!

The race begins at 9:00 a.m. at the corner of Main Street and State Street. All ages are welcome to attend. No pre-registration required.

Note: Dogs must be on a leash, and please, no bikes!

Contact the Recreation Department for more details at (650) 947-2790.


Los Altos’ Annual Holiday Parade

Posted on November 22, 2014 by  
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Ferris WheelBehind every float at Los Altos’ Festival of Lights Parade, there’s a story of Boy Scouts, dust cloths, light design and elf scavenging.

Before dancers flit across Main Street among parade floats Nov. 30, a zealous cadre of volunteers will have spent the year fundraising, shellacking giant gumdrops with glitter sugar and mood lighting a tableau of tree-decorating bears.

In mid-October, volunteers remove the two-story plastic shrouds that entomb their floats, testing generators, lights and sound systems and repairing the petty deteriorations of time and age. But long before that, a process of creative design begins, according to Deborah Baker, who has served on the festival’s board for six years.

“This small town can do something that brings such joy to kids,” she said. “I haven’t missed a parade since I started coming 16 years ago.”

Baker’s story is typical of the local residents drafted into the parade’s cause. She started as a parent volunteer helping Boy Scouts who worked on the parade and over time was drawn deeper into the tradition. On parade night, Boy Scouts patrol the waiting floats and Baker cues the successive parade groups as they amass at the starting line.

Baker has also worked on six floats over the past few years with Troop 37 Scouts, her son Kyler among them. This year, a Girl Scout from Cupertino – Isabel La Plain – has joined the enterprise, building a “Nutcracker” tableau with giant clock, mouse king and nutcracker.

The parade includes three types of floats – those pushed by humans, those towed as a trailer and those driven under their own locomotion. Watch for four completely rebuilt floats at the parade this year – “Nature’s Christmas,” which sports festive bears, “Santa’s Workshop,” “Nutcracker” and “Gingerbread House.”

The parade association has been switching to LED lights over time, which are more efficient than standard bulbs – making generators last longer – and don’t take down half a string when one bulb blows.

The Festival of Lights was in many ways modeled on Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade, and the parade association continues to put a creative premium on the play of tiny lights across darkened downtown. Volunteers work to incorporate motion where possible – not just in the forward trajectory of floats, but also in the sword-clashing, wood-sawing, ornament-hanging actions of its cast of characters.

This year for the first time a dance class will swirl parts of “The Nutcracker” ballet around the new float as it proceeds along the parade route. A multitude of local groups march each year, but they seldom form an extension of the floats themselves.

The 38th annual Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade is slated to begin 6 p.m. Nov. 30. Admission is free. For more information, visit:


Le Boulanger Seeks Building Facelift

Posted on October 12, 2014 by  
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Proposed LeBoulangerA new look may be in store for downtown bakery and cafe Le Boulanger.

According to a staff report by Los Altos Senior Planner Zach Dahl, Le Boulanger owner Dan Brunello is planning an interior and exterior remodel at 301 Main St., which served as the original home of Los Altos Pharmacy.

The building, originally constructed circa 1941, is listed as a historic resource on the city’s Historic Resources Inventory. Los Altos resident Kent Nelson owns the building, designated a historic resource in 2011. It has been remodeled twice in the past 70 years – the latest in 1992.

In a letter to the Los Altos Historical Commission, Brunello noted that the remodel is part of a larger plan to expand his 32-year-old Los Altos business. The bakery plans to introduce dinner service, including the sale of beer and wine, in “a new contemporary dining space, with new interior finishes and furniture, new bathrooms and new service line and service area,” Brunello wrote.

As for the exterior, Brunello intends to replace the current storefront and entryway with a collapsible system to create a more open dining environment. Other proposed features include a gas fireplace and patio heaters for outdoor dining.

Brunello noted in his letter that while he preferred a contemporary look for the downtown structure, he was “willing to discuss and consider preserving elements that are important to the historical value of the building.”


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


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