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Santa Clarans tap their toes and shake a leg in Franklin Square

Santa Clarans tap their toes and shake a leg in Franklin SquareSanta Clarans tap their toes and shake a leg in Franklin Square

More than 1,000 people gathered in Franklin Square Friday to enjoy food, drink, and of course, music as part of the city’s Street Dance.

The featured band, The Hitmen, belted out a cover of KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Do a Little Dance”. And people did just that — some dancing, while others simply swayed or nodded along to the music. The event is part of a series of summer community events sponsored by the city’s Cultural Commission.

Eversley Forte, Santa Clara Cultural Commission chair, said the Street Dance is the biggest of the events the Cultural Commission sponsors, and it continues to grow each year.

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“Everyone at the same time can have a good time — eat, drink; it is very family friendly,”  Forte said. “One of the goals we want is we want to put on events that involve a broad diverse segment of the community … Music is something that doesn’t have anything to do with politics; it crosses ethnic boundaries”

Erik Avles, 34, of Santa Clara, said he heard about the Street Dance from his mother and aunt at the last minute, They all live near Franklin Square, located at 1100-1300 Franklin St.

With as much development as Santa Clara has seen — and will likely continue to see — he said he wished the area played host to more entertainment, such as the Street Dance, to give Santa Clarans a sense that their town is still the town they grew up loving.

Forte said choosing The Hitmen was easy. They are one of the two or three best cover bands in the Bay Area, he said, so they come with a huge following.

Laura Vega, 38, also lives in the neighborhood, called the “Old Quad” by locals. She brought her 7-year-old son Brady along with a few friends from Campbell to the dance. One of the biggest draws of the dance was its locale, she said. Since it is close to home she can have a few glasses of wine without having to drive or worry about walking home after dark.

Although she said she wished the event was even bigger, she said “There is something for everyone.”

The Street Dance, which is free to the public, is funded by the Santa Clara Council and has a budget between $11,000 and $12,000, Forte said.

Forte said the Cultural Commission went out of its way to accommodate children this year, adding a new face painter and providing a variety of games.

Frances Carrasco-Leyerle, of Santa Clara, said the street dance is an opportunity to reconnect with people she hasn’t seen in a long time.

“You never know who you are going to run into,” she said. “Sometimes thing around here get too big, but this still has a small-town feel.”

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