Town Crier: For fun Fourth, check out Piedmont’s parade

MONTCLARION: July 3, 2015

Happy birthday, America. There’ll be celebrations from sea to shining sea Saturday, but none sweeter than the Piedmont parade, which is turning 50.

Why do I like this hometown parade? It’s a small town affair with families lining the streets, waving flags and cheering for the floats, bands and antique cars.

I’ve had the joy of marching in the Piedmont Community Band and seeing kids scramble for the showers of candy tossed from passing floats (this year there’ll be Candy Ambassadors walking the route with free candy). I’ve heard the laughter as the mop and bucket brigade does its drills, and I’ve smelled the sausage cooking on grills along the parade route.

This year’s theme is “50 Years of Fun” and I expect a sea of red, white and blue along Highland Avenue. Hope to see you there!

Night life: Last weekend’s Oakland Zoo’s “Walk in the Wild” event featured the best troupe of flamingo dancers I’ve ever seen. They were the real thing, too, as the flock of pink birds moved gracefully with moves that only nature could choreograph. Luckily for them, their exhibit was right next to the steel drum band made up of Mary Spalding and Patricio Angulo.

Speaking of “Walk in the Wild,” the sold-out fundraiser featured more than 120 food and drink purveyors, including Oakland’s Uffe and Martha Gustafsson — who own World Ground. They were pouring their tasty mestizo from Roland Rosario Cellars, which you can sip at their cafe on MacArthur Boulevard.

Other favorites were Wood Tavern with their hot pastrami sandwiches, Red Boy Pizza with the whole family serving yummy pizzas with the signature sourdough crusts and El Agavero with the long line to their margarita and taco bar.

Foot work: A typical run is a half-hour or so. Reader Tod Vedock is pushing the limits, next week, by running 12 straight hours (a 3.5-mile loop from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.) to raise money for Oakland youth. The man who helps bring us the Oakland Marathon each year is using the site to promote running as a way to encourage young people to gain self esteem and realize long term goals.

Book it: Another Little Free Library has been spotted in the Oakland hills. Reader Sigrid Toreson says this sweet receptacle is painted a vivid pink to invite folks to give or take a book. It’s in the 6800 block of Ridgewood drive.

And on the subject of books, reader Mary Gulick says Spectator Books. 4163 Piedmont Ave. is her go-to place for good deals on bestsellers. She likes to buy new books, read them quickly and then sell them back. That makes for a pretty good inventory of gently — read bestsellers, which are often hard to find. Spectator Books also has an online inventory at

Old Oakland: Thirty-six hundred folks are friends of the Oakland History Facebook page. Members post old photos and memories of Oakland events, attractions, buildings and businesses. One of my favorites is a photo that Bennett Hall posted of Huey Lewis, singing the national anthem before the 1983 Warriors game. I remember that game like it was yesterday …



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