Sunday, September 16, 2007

Solano Stroll Photo Essay

There are County Fairs in Northern California, and there are parades as well, but the most common and popular form of community gathering seems to be the Street Fair, of which there are a wide range of forms, from outre to mild.

Solano Avenue runs from the flats of Albany to the hills of North Berkeley. It's the main commercial street in that part of town, and for 30 years or so, the merchants and civic organizations have been organizing a street fair. I conceived this photo essay to compare and contrast the "street life" of my stomping grounds with that of my parents, who live in a small but prosperous town in Central Iowa. The last few years I've been taking my son, and convening to Iowa over the Fourth Of July, when Pella (yes, the place where they make the windows) has a big parade. Frogs are raced, ponies ridden, and this year Barack Obama gave a stump speech, and Sam Brownback walked in the parade. In Iowa, that is.

My reason for being at the Stroll this year, in Berkeley, was my son's private school marching in the parade.

For us, it's both a community event, a shared group experience early in the school year, and cheap advertising. The kids enjoy it, the grownups meet and chat, and we expose our "Brand" to lots of perspective customers.

There are Art Cars

Lots of diverse entertainment


The collective age of these 4 sword dancers was at least 200 years, and may have been 50 years more than that. They appeared to be the daughters of at least 3 continents.

Merchants of Goods, Theology, and Ideology

Many local churches and synagogues were either proselytizing or fund raising, via food booths or cheesy games of chance.


Speaking of fundraising, I have always wondered where the money these Uhuru House booths, always manned by whites, actually goes. They have a building in East Oakland, but I never hear of any services or activities they fund.


Grannies Against the WarGrannies_Against_The_War

I think perhaps she's a DemocratImpeach

Tricycles for the 21st Century

Some groups are both merchants and entertainment- like these hotties from the YMCA Over 40 Aerobics team.


Or these reps for the Society For Creative Anachronism.

This guy's shirt says "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful, Hate Me Because I'm Arrogant". Nice.

The SCA is not known for it's historical verisimilitude. Thus, Davy Crockett meets Mistress Quickly.


But boys know what to do with swords, no matter the era.

Looking toward the blow-up tent arcade, past the Hawaiian shave ice.

Labels: , ,


At 3:07 PM , Blogger maureen said...

If you want to know where the money that the Uhuru Foods booth support, you can check out the following web sites:, and others. The Uhuru Movement is African people building worldwide to regain control of Africa's resources for the benefit of African people. Why should the diamonds of Sierra Leone benefit white populations of Europe and North America, while the Africans who work the mines might make 30 cents a day and a cup of rice. The Uhuru Movement recently built water harvesting systems and a health clinic in Sierra Leone and that's just one thing. The booths are run by white people who believe in solidarity with African people.


Post a Comment

<< Home