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June 18, 2008 > Summer concerts sweeten Saturdays

Summer concerts sweeten Saturdays

By Julie Grabowski

Union City is tuning up once again for the sweet sounds of the Summer Concert Series beginning Saturday, June 21 in Old Alvarado/Cesar Chavez Park. Partnered with the year-round Farmers' Market for the eleventh year, summer Saturdays offer "A Taste of Culture" with a wide array of tantalizing food and music.

White, blue, and green tents have steadily sprouted in the park over the years, currently totaling over 30 vendors offering a bounty of fresh delights. Cherries, Japanese yams, beets, cabbage, onions, oranges, bell peppers, white and brown eggs, oysters, and almonds are only a sliver of the produce that comes in weekly from San Jose, Hollister, Santa Maria, Fresno and other farms in California's great Central Valley. A touch of sweetness can be found in flowers, funnel cakes, and honey, while smiles unfold at the colorful creations of a balloon artist and the prosperity promised from woven Chinese money trees.

Founded in 1988, the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association (PCFMA) operates the Union City market, as well as multiple other farmers' markets in communities throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Flyers about their organization and California grown food are available at an on site information center, as well as various recipes to spice up your cooking life.

And after the food comes the entertainment. The 10-week concert series is a mixing bowl of musical styles from Bay Area bands, including jazz, salsa, R&B, rock, and soul. The lineup is an even split of old favorites and newcomers; Gemini Soul and CoverGrrlz return from last year as well as popular summer concert staples Pep Sounds, Mariachi San Jose, and La Familia. Recreation Program Coordinator Jesus Garcia says he's after a good mix of sounds, which includes a "different kind of ethnic music," such as the Haitian group Lakay and Mystic Man, and the Oakland based Blue Bone Express with the festive sounds of Mardi Gras.

The concerts serve as a different outlet for the community and as way to bring people into Old Alvarado. "It brings the crowd out there and helps performers market," says Garcia, who has nothing but praise for the musicians involved each year. He also compliments the partnership of PCFMA, who co-sponsor the event along with Paddy's Coffee House and Union City Leisure Services. "They do awesome work out there," he says, citing the market's success and growth over the years.

Pleasure is paramount in offering the summer concert series. "We just want people to go out there and enjoy the day; bring people to the community," says Garcia. Whether you're after strawberries, sweet peaches, a bouquet of roses, kettle korn or just a patch of sunshine and some jazzy tunes, you can't go wrong spending Saturdays in the park.

For more information on the Summer Concert Series contact Jesus Garcia at (510) 675-5482. For more about the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association visit

Summer Concert Series and Farmers' Market
Saturdays, June 21-August 23
Farmers' Market
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
10 a.m.-Noon
Old Alvarado/Cesar Chavez Park
3871 Smith Street, Union City
(510) 675-5482

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