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Menlo Park holds street festival this weekend

Santa Cruz Avenue downtown will be closed from 4 p.m. Friday

The 23rd annual Connoisseurs' Marketplace, the annual food, art and music festival in downtown Menlo Park, continues Sunday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce and chaired by Menlo Park resident and businessman Rick Ciardella.

Santa Cruz Avenue will be closed to traffic, from El Camino Real to Johnson Street, until Sunday night.

This year, the festival is embracing green practices with an emphasis on recycling and composting, a spokesperson said.

Food vendors will be required to use recyclable and compostable serving utensils. Large brown bins will be placed in the food areas for composting left-over food scraps and paper products.

The event will feature exhibits on organic products, with free samples and demonstrations on how to live a "greener" lifestyle.

Art, food and drink. About 250 artists and craftspeople are expected to exhibit their works for sale. Among the offerings from festival eateries will Philly cheese steaks, spit-roasted gyros, spanakopita, chicken and sausage jambalaya, and spicy crawfish etoufee. Complementing the food will be a selection of wines, margaritas, and micro-brewed beers.

Live music. Nine bands will play on stage, and in the street, such musical styles as Latin rock, Motown classics, indie folk, blues, Celtic harp, classic rock and roll, R&B, swing, and Italian mandolin ballads.

Community safety. The Menlo Park Police Department tent will offer computer fingerprinting for kids. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District will set up its emergency-preparedness trailer, where people can experience a quake: the trailer will shake just like the real thing. Both exhibits will be on Chestnut Street.

Street closures/vehicle parking/bicycle parking. Santa Cruz Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from El Camino Real to Johnson Street. Parking will be available in the parking plazas adjacent to Santa Cruz Avenue, on side streets surrounding the festival area, and at the Caltrain station on Merrill Street. Bicycle parking racks are available at several locations on Santa Cruz Avenue.

Admission to the festival is free.

For more information on Connoisseurs' Marketplace, click here.

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