Splash Pad News – October 2021


Grand Avenue Merchant News – October 2021
by Ken Katz -Tomorrow will be a memorable day on Grand Avenue. For starters, Michael’s Chocolates (owned and operated by Michael Benner) is hosting a soft opening beginning at noon in the space recently vacated by Michael Mischer. They will continue serving Almare Gelato, and chocolates of course–though Michael B. was quick to note that his confections will be different in style, ingredients, and appearance from his predecessor’s. He’s been a chocolatier since 2015; has mainly been selling online and at special events; has won numerous awards; and is delighted to have found the perfect brick and mortar location here in Oakland. In addition to chocolates and gelato, three shelving units on the side wall will feature locally made artisanal products. As of Thursday, only olive oils had arrived but sometime soon, you’ll also find bespoke teas and chocolates made by other chocolatiers. We should also note that Brother & Sisters Flower Shop was the source …  Continue Reading

Lakeshore BID – October 2021
by Kira Pascoe – While the businesses and community still have to take public health cautions, Lakeshore businesses are bringing October in with creativity, spirit, and community. It is still early and the Halloween spirit is just getting started on Lakeshore. Some businesses are expanding their offerings and others are creating new events or carrying new products. Lakeshore businesses are celebrating anniversaries, giving back, and showing their cutest pets (or customers), read all about it! It may still be early October, but Lakeshore businesses are already giving a sneak peek of their planned Halloween fun! While there is no parade this year due to public health reasons, there is plenty to enjoy on Lakeshore for everyone! Looking for local candy to give out or try yourself? Check out the gummy bears made with California fruit at Urban Indigo or the local caramels and chocolate at Bay-Made.   Continue Reading

What Happened to Norman Needn’t Be Normal
by Ken Katz – For more than two decades, when the subject of mental illness and homelessness in our Grand Lake neighborhood came up, the defining image that often came to mind was a guy most simply knew as “Norman.” Occasionally, he’d disappear for a week and, upon his return (with a haircut, shave and clean clothes), he could have passed (all too briefly) for as “norma”l as you and me. He was disheveled. He relieved himself whenever the need arose and ignored red lights as he crossed the street. While he did his best to avoid all human contact, he did have an account at Wells Fargo and often shopped at Safeway and Walgreen’s–a painful experience and an uncomfortable one for staff and fellow shoppers. Miraculously, through cold and rainy days and nights, Norman somehow managed to survive. As early as 2008, concerned neighbors and business owners were lobbying to get him the assistance he desperately needed. In 2011, a dozen representatives from the community and various agencies met at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church and agreed that he should be hospitalized, stabilized, and then placed into supportive housing. For whatever reason, that never happened. If you fast forward to … Continue Reading

Autumn Lights Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary
by C. J. Hirschfield – The 10th annual Autumn Lights Festival, a popular “only in Oakland” event that benefits the Gardens at Lake Merritt, will take place October 14–16. Thousands of visitors from around Northern California are expected to come to experience the festival’s immersive, interactive interplay of art, light, and nature. Over the garden’s seven acres, guests can explore the work of 50 artists, all of whom are donating their time and talent, and many of whom have created works that reflect the highs and lows of life during the pandemic. All ages are welcome, and the evening festival will once again feature the talent and creativity of young Oakland artists. The festival will also feature musical performances, fire art dancers, children’s activities, and an art market, as well as libations and food trucks. Last year’s event was forced to be virtual, which had its pros and cons. “It was the hardest thing I ever did,” says event founder and director Tora Rocha. On the plus side, one night attracted an international audience of over 15,000. But because the event was offered free of charge, donations to the gardens were not as robust as they have been in the past. Rocha could not be happier about the return of the live event to the gardens and about the new installations no one has seen before.  Continue Reading

Farmers Market Updates – October 2021 – by Joey Garcia
Out For the Season:
G & S Corn and Peach Farm
New Vendors: 
Sonder – pre-packed quiches and breakfast sandwiches
Soul – green juices, flatbreads, salads, gelato/sorbet
8amStyle – the new clothing shop operated by Meaza Haile at 474 Santa Clara
October Entertainment:
October 2: Maria Ana Bija
October 9: Essie Thomas
October 16: West Grand Brass Band
October 23: Nicco Tyson 

Editor’s Note: Gary Root (from StoneRoot Field & Sea) is toying with the idea of setting up a commercial kitchen here in Oakland and is looking for input from potential customers and/or investors. He shared his initial thoughts with this post earlier in the week, followed by a brief addendum that came in today’s email.  

Calendar in Brief
For event descriptions and log-in links, please click here.
by Sheila McCormick

October 1, Saturday, 7:00-8:00 pm – Rotary Nature Center Friends
Lakeside Chat #11 – Marshland Restoration in the Bay and at Lake Merritt. 

October 6, Wednesday  – Oakland Library History Center
Noel Siver who will discuss her new book, Harold French: A Press Agent for the Hills. Harold French, for whom the French Trail in Redwood Regional Park is named, 

October 7, Thursday, 12:30 pm – Oakland Rotary Club Civic Thursday 
Gene Slater – “The History of Racial Covenants in Residential Grant Deeds”

October 13, Wednesday, 6:00-7:30 pm – Oakland Library History Room
East Meets West: Fong Wan’s Chinese Niteries

October 14, Thursday, 12:30 pm – Oakland Rotary Club Civic Thursday 
Civic Thursday Meeting – Linda Mandolini, CEO of Eden Housing

October 14, Thursday, 6:00-7:30 pm – Oakland Library History Center
Professor Mitchell Schwarzer will discuss his latest book, Hella Town: Oakland’s History of Development and Disruption

October 14-16, Thursday-Saturday, 6:00-11:00pm – The Autumn Lights Festival at the Gardens at Lake Merritt

October 16, Saturday, 10:30-11:30am *LIVE EVENT – ONLINE*
Environmental Volunteers
Virtual Field Trip the Farallon Islands

October 20, Wednesday, 7:00 – 8:30 pm – Grand Lake Neighbors Third Wednesday Zoom meeting. 

October 21, Thursday, 12:30 pm – Oakland Rotary Club Civic Thursday 
Margaret Gordon from the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project

October 21: Thursday – Oakland Library History Center
In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm

October 24, Sunday, 9 am – Noon – Grand Lake Neighbors next neighborhood cleanup is Sunday. (Rain cancels). Meet at Splash Pad Park.

October 27, Wednesday – Oakland Library History Center
Bertram Gordon – “History of Mills College”

October 28, Thursday – Oakland Library History Center
Gary Fogel – “Sky Rider: Park Van Tassel and the Rise of Ballooning in the West” 

October 28, Thursday, 12:30 pm – Oakland Rotary Club Civic Thursday 
“What’s Right About the Parks”A presentation by Sabrina Landreth, General Manager of the East Bay Regional Parks District

October 30, Saturday, 11:000 am-4:00 pm – Camron-Stanford House
The Haunted Garden (Halloween Celebration)