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June 14, 2005 > Hayward's summer block party

Hayward's summer block party

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

When warm summer nights force you outdoors, pedestrians control the streets, classic cars roll and music begins to play, it can only mean one thing - Hayward's summer block parties are back!

Now in its sixth year, this free event invites visitors to join a neighborhood street party making for a cool family night-out. Thousands of partygoers arrive from all parts of the Bay Area to experience the culture, tastes and sounds of Hayward.

On June 16th, in the heart of recently renovated downtown, streets will be blocked-off making room for one of the biggest parties of the summer. Merchants, vendors and a Farmers' Market line the streets and shops stay open late into the night.

Although the phrase "something for everyone," is often overused, Hayward street parties really do have something for everyone. Live bands, a classic car show, antiques, great food, local artisans and balloons will fill the makeshift square. Clowns and other entertainers stroll through the three-hour bash ensuring that everyone has a good time.

All good parties have plenty of delicious food and this one is no exception. Downtown's eclectic mix of restaurants offer great eats for partygoers. Buffalo Bill's Brew Pub, known for its large selection of unique beers and popular among college students, is located at the corner of "B" and Main. Feeling nostalgic? Complete the evening with a trip to The Medicine Chest, an old-fashioned soda fountain featuring flavored Cokes, malts and a jukebox. A hot spot for local talent, The Bistro is a bar and café complete with outdoor seating and live music. The Irth Café, a recent addition to downtown, is a vegetarian-friendly place offering up organic dishes.

Lining Main Street is a classic car show teeming with gleaming streetrods, hotrods, classic and muscle cars. Russell City Blues, a style of blues originating in the Russell City/Hayward area, play the perfect accompaniment for a mellow summer night. Blues sessions fill the evening at the Beer & Soft Drink Garden located next to Bank of the West.

Eat dinner under the stars with a bite from Bobby Lee's Bar-B-Que or Relly's Hot Dogs, two of the vendors offering outdoor dining (grass and asphalt seating only).

Street parties were once commonplace in many neighborhoods but the tradition seems to be fading. Get-togethers are a way of encouraging the spirit of community, and Hayward Business Improvement Area merchants along with the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hayward have gone to great lengths to bring it all together.

And, best of all, it is free! A family of four could easily spend hundreds of dollars at an amusement park or ballgame. That same family can come to Hayward's street party, have dinner, listen to a concert with plenty left over to browse among the street merchants. Kid's activities are free and provided by each vendor.

Downtown Hayward Street Parties will continue throughout the summer on the third Thursday of each month: June 16, July 21, August 18, & September 15 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The most convenient way to get to the street party is to take BART to the Hayward Station, a few steps away from downtown. There will also be plenty of free parking.

For more information call (510) 537-2424

The first Thursday of every month until September, the streets wil be blovkedn

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