Tonight: Block party, concert in Menlo Park

Big Cat Tolefree will perform at the opening concert June 20. Photo copyright 2011 by Keri Solorio.

By Elena Kadvany

Special to the Almanac

Menlo Park will take its annual step into summer on Wednesday, June 20, with the start of the city's summer concert series and a block party on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue, which will be closed to traffic from El Camino Real to University Drive from around 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Block party

At the block party, which will run from about 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Facebook will host a performance platform for dancers, musicians and martial artists, and a pie-eating contest with current and past civic leaders, according to organizer Brian Flegel.

A "bark parade" will be held between north and south Crane Street, and all dogs are welcome to participate, Mr. Flegel said. "Just come and sign up before 5:45 p.m., or pick up a signup form at any of the pet places around town," he said.

There will be live music up and down Santa Cruz Avenue and a food truck, Mama's Empanadas.

Restaurants will offer street and outside service and will stay open at least until the end of the event at 9 p.m., he said.

This sixth annual block party is hosted by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce. Another block party will be held Wednesday, Aug. 15.


On June 20, the blues band Big Cat & The Hipnotics will kick off the free Wednesday night concert series at Fremont Park, located on Santa Cruz Avenue at University Drive. The eight concerts, sponsored by the city of Menlo Park, run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Following are the other concerts in the series:

■ June 27: The Hot Rods ("rockin' oldies")

■ July 11: Mark Russo and The Classy Cats (swing)

■ July 18: Dream Posse (country)

■ July 25: Pat Wilder & Serious Business (blues)

■ Aug. 1: The Touch of Class Band (R&B)

■ Aug. 8: TinMan (classic rock)

■ Aug. 15: The Sun Kings (Beatles tribute)


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

This is a terrific, upbeat event that should be supported. It's a great reminder of the local sense of community that seems a little strained lately.

It's a good opportunity to meet neighbors and a reminder to support or join local community groups.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Downtown Santa Cruz Ave should be closed to traffic all the time.

Like this comment
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

"Facebook will host a performance platform..." - our newest neighbor joining the community :-)

Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm

My neighbors and I walk to it every year. We see our local AAA guy, get some great food and enjoy the different varieties of music on the street.

Like this comment
Posted by Colin Jenkins
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

While I enjoy the block party as a Menlo Park citizen, as a business owner on Santa Cruz Ave, it is not that great of a deal. Our store is blocked off by the exhibitors and as a result, we have had zero traffic in the store when we stayed open for the Block party. We offered to pay the Chamber of Commerce the same fee that an exhibitor pays but to keep the front of our store from being blocked off and the director told us that was impossible to do so we generally stay closed.

Myself and other business owners I speak to - of which there seem to be fewer and fewer these days - feel that this is a wasted opportunity to get new shoppers in our stores. If you see lots of closed stores during the block party, that's the reason why.

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