The festive carnival atmosphere of the early 1900s returns to Webster Street on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. when the community remembers and celebrates its roots at the 2nd annual Neptune Beach Community Celebration.
The popular Neptune Beach amusement park brought huge crowds to nearby Crab Cove from 1917 to 1939. The street fair, produced by the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, commemorates the park with a full weekend of rides and children’s amusements, music, food and drink, arts and crafts, and a history walk. On Saturday (one day only), a full-size, old-fashioned Ferris wheel will tower over Webster Street, offering scenic views of Alameda from 50 feet in the air.
Kid-friendly activities top the bill — on both Saturday and Sunday, youngsters will also enjoy a climbing wall, pony rides, a chance to walk on water, a giant 40-foot fun slide, and a huge inflatable obstacle course.
The obstacle course will be fully powered by solar panels funded by Alameda Municipal Power.
“We wanted to call attention to the need to use renewable energy sources, and this event gave us an opportunity to point fairgoers toward AMP’s Alameda Green program,” said Jeff Cambra, event coordinator.
“We are grateful to AMP for funding the solar generator as a part of their Alameda Green initiative, which provides 100% renewable energy to local residents. “
Fair visitors can also get a sample of what’s offered at Crab Cove, the East Bay Regional Parks site where Neptune Beach was located.
“We’ll have our mobile visitors’ center at the event,” said Sharol Nelson-Embry, supervising naturalist.
“We’ll probably have some live animals for people to meet, like a snake or turtle. We also have animal artifacts like pelts and skulls to teach people what they might find in the regional parks and a craft activity for the kids as well.”
The Crab Cove Visitors’ Center, located a short distance from the Celebration along the Bay, will also have activities on both days of the fair.
Award-winning local bands will keep toes tapping from the Central Avenue stage throughout the event, including Soulstice, which won the 2013 Battle of the Bands at Alameda’s Concert at the Cove, and the Bob Claire Orchestra, which received the same honors in 2012.
Other bands include the Parodi Band, Shake It Booty, Dakila, Michael Barrett & Friends, Spill the Wine, Rudolph Llanes, and Bear Lincoln.
On Sunday at 10:45 a.m., the Hawaiian dance troupe from the Mastick Senior Center will perform.
Historians Dennis Evanosky and Eric Kos will host a history walk through the Neptune Beach area on Sunday from 11 a.m. to noon. History buffs will assemble for the walk in the parking lot at Taylor Avenue and Webster Street.
On Saturday from 1 to 1:30 p.m. in front of the Central Avenue stage, local author Julia Park Tracey will read a brief excerpt from her newest book, The Doris Diaries Volume 2, Reaching for the Moon, which is based on the diary of Tracey’s great aunt, Doris Bailey who came of age in the early 1900s. Look for Tracey strolling Webster Street in her Jazz Age costume on Saturday showing off the Roaring Twenties sass that was so familiar at Neptune Beach.
Local Webster Street restaurants will offer specials during the festival, and some will serve food outside their doors.
Chicha, the most recent addition to Webster Street’s growing array of international restaurants, plans to offer appetizer specials both in and outside the restaurant, and will also offer Peruvian music outdoors.
”It’s the only Peruvian restaurant in Alameda,” said Carolina Yong, restaurateur. “I will be highlighting several appetizers so new customers can get a taste of the unique foods of Peru that we’re serving here."
Other food selections will include tri-tip from the Twin Towers Methodist Church and spicy chicken wings from the Bamboo Stick Grill. Beer and wine will be available at the fair, including selections from Alameda vintners Rosenblum Cellars, Rock Wall Wine Company, and R&B Cellars.
Free secure bike parking will be provided at the event by the Interact Club, a youth division of Rotary International, in the U.S. Bank parking lot at Central and Taylor Streets.
“The Neptune Beach Community Celebration brings together so many people from our community. Almost everything is local,” said Mark Sorensen, executive director, Alameda Chamber of Commerce. “We get a lot of help from our generous business community, local groups, and volunteers.”
Artists, food vendors, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteers are encouraged to visit www.neptunebeachcc.com to apply for space at the event. Special discounts apply for Chamber and WABA members.
For questions, contact email@example.com. Details about the fair are available at www.neptunebeachcc.com.