Everyone was picking up good vibrations on the last weekend of summer at Santa Clara’s 2016 Art & Wine Festival in Central Park September 17 and 18. Continuous live music from the Pavilion Stage could be heard blocks away, as families and friends walked and biked to the park to avoid the parking crunch of an anticipated 50,000 people converging on Central Park over two days.
“The City Parks & Recreation Department loves to produce the festival with the valuable help from community non-profit organizations, great citizen volunteers and generous corporate sponsors under the leadership of the Parks & Recreation Commission,” wrote Parks & Recreation Director Jim Teixeira in an email.
The most popular addition to the 36th annual festival was a covered craft beer garden offering a choice of six beers from four breweries. The shade of the beer garden was also a draw on a weekend when the temperature hit 93 degrees.
“We like the different options of beer,” said Santa Claran Albert Borbon on Saturday, hanging out in the beer garden with Sylvia Gabaldon. “This is an upgrade for those who like craft brew–local, independent breweries that have organic ingredients and don’t use additives.”
“The free tap water area is something other art and wine festivals don’t have,” added Borbon.
The City handed out more than 10,000 collapsible water bottles and provided 1,000 gallons of water–500 gallons each day–from the Tap Water Express truck.
Santa Clara residents Kelly Gonzalez and Bob Bragg were also cooling off in the beer garden on Saturday. The friends were part of a group of a dozen kids and adults involved in Santa Clara Westside Little League baseball.
Gonzalez liked using “all this beautiful land, with the grass and fountains” for the festival instead of “blocks of concrete streets.” Central Park, 969 Kiely Boulevard, has 52 acres of mature trees, grassy knolls, picnic areas, pavilions and a lake with fountains.
In addition to beer and water, six vintners poured fine wines, and people meandered with commemorative glasses in one hand and children in the other through Kids Kingdom and along park paths lined with the craft booths of more than 160 local and regional artists.
Artist Sandra Aguirre from southern California sells “dancing spirits”–handcrafted wind chimes that she makes out of empty wine, beer and liquor bottles.
“I like this area and the show, the fun of everything. Everybody seems to be just enjoying everything,” said Aguirre. “I get the feel of a happy atmosphere. And the demeanor of people is so nice.”
A total of $55,000 from the 2015 festival net proceeds from the sale of beer, wine and commemorative glasses was distributed last year to the Friends of Santa Clara Parks & Recreation ($13,000), Santa Clara Police Activities League ($13,000), Santa Clara Schools Foundation ($13,000), Santa Clara Senior Center – Health & Wellness/Care Management Program ($10,000), Santa Clara High School Grad Night Committee ($3,000) and Wilcox High School Grad Night Committee ($3,000).
“The festival is such a wonderful local tradition and family event with something for everyone that truly benefits local non-profit organization fund raising efforts,” said Teixeira.