Thousands attend Oakland Art and Soul Festival

Thousands are expected to converge on downtown Oakland today for the Art and Soul festival.

August 21, 2011 6:20:25 PM PDT
Thousands are expected to converge on downtown Oakland today for the second day of the 11th annual Art and Soul festival, a family-friendly celebration of music, art and food.

Last year 60,000 people attended the festival, which takes place on about 10 blocks surrounding the Oakland City Center.

The festival runs from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and features four stages of music. Sunday's main stage is headlined by Oakland-native R&B group Tower of Power, preceded by Goapele and the Kev Choice Ensemble.

In front of city hall, the "Dance Through the Decades" event demonstrates dance moves throughout history, from the Lindy Hop of the 1920s and 1930s to the recent Oakland invention of Turf dancing. Events include a dance-off contest and an audience participation flash mob dance event to conclude the day.

The City Center Stage features performances by the Oaktown Jazz Workshop, while the Jefferson Street Stage features a long lineup of blues artists presented by the Bay Area Blues Society.

Dozens of food vendors will line the streets, serving gourmet meals from around the world, everything from turkey legs to catfish to tacos to teriyaki chicken and much more. Festival-goers can wash that down with a sampling from Rosenblum Cellars Wine Garden.

Several events are specifically for kids, like carnival rides, inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses, interactive art and face painting. The festival boasts the largest "Family Fun Zone" of any festival in the Bay Area, according to event organizers.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to see the work of local artists, either on display in galleries or selling their work at tables on the street.

The Art and Soul Festival has shown huge growth since it started in 2000, attracting performances from dozens of local and national musicians. Tickets are $15 at the door for adults, $8 for seniors and youth up to 17-years-old, and children under 12 are free.

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