Magazine

Festival turns 40: Event has grown substantially since inception


R. Alan Hwang/Special to the Town Crier
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend.

The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

What began in 1979 as a much smaller version of the current event, the festival has now grown to include more than 300 craft and arts booths, two food courts, three stages featuring live music and entertainment, and a free dance concert, which this year features Take 2 performing 6-8 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage in Central Plaza.

Presented by the Los Altos Village Association (LAVA), a not-for-profit organization, the festival raises funds for events and programs that promote downtown Los Altos as a desirable place to shop, dine and explore. Additionally, festival funds support LAVA’s downtown beautification efforts, including decorative plantings, colorful banners and twinkle lights that fill more than 250 trees along Main and State streets and in the adjacent parking plazas.

Support from many organizations and businesses is crucial to the success of the event, according to LAVA Executive Director Scott Hunter, who particularly praised the generosity of Kidzone sponsors Bumble restaurant and Area 151 arcade. Festivalgoers may visit the other event supporters on Sponsors Row, located at Main and State streets, adjacent to Veterans Community Plaza.

The festival also receives support from an array of community groups and organizations, including the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, the Service League of Boys, the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, the Los Altos Kiwanis Club and the Rotary Club of Los Altos. GreenTown Los Altos will again staff the free Bike and Stroller Valet Parking area off Third Street.

The Kidzone this year moves to the center of the festival, offering more space for entertainment, games and crafts. Lori and RJ host the interactive entertainment - aimed to get kids up and dancing - on the Family Fun Stage. The Kidzone is located off State Street near the Community Stage. Note that the festival carnival, featuring rides and the Superslide, remains in Parking Plaza 3, off San Antonio Road.

Since 2006, Pacific Fine Arts of Pine Grove has taken the lead on selecting artisans and craftspeople for the festival. Dana and Troy Hale-Mounier, owners of Pacific Fine Arts, work with the LAVA Arts & Wine Committee to select the artists. Look for a wide variety of artwork, jewelry and crafts this weekend.

In addition to the LAVA-sponsored concert Saturday evening, bands perform throughout the day on both the Main Stage and the Community Stage. There is room to dance and sit near the stages to eat and drink while enjoying the music.

To drink wine and/or beer, purchase glassware at one of the four glass booths; please wear the provided proof-of-drinking-age wristband while at the festival. Those who leave but plan to return later that day or the next are asked to retain their wristband and bring the festival glassware back; alcohol is only served in authentic festival glassware. Seven boutique wineries have representatives pouring their wines at booths. Beer aficionados can seek out the beer booth located at Main and Third streets, where 21st Amendment, Firestone, Santa Clara Valley Brewing Co. and other California breweries are pouring their brews.

Those who drive to the festival are encouraged to park at Los Altos High School at 201 Almond Ave. and take the free shuttle downtown. Drop off and pick up is on Edith Avenue next to the shady Village Park.

The festival is scheduled 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The event is family friendly, but organizers ask that visitors leave their pets at home.

For more information on LAVA and the festival, call 949-5282 or visit downtownlosaltos.org.

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