Menlo Park Gets Festive for its Popular Mid-Summer Festival of the Arts
Connoisseurs’ Marketplace, “A Feast For The Senses”, Runs July 20-21
*Please note this information is from the 2012 event. Please return 3-4 weeks prior to the event when we post information for the 2013 event.
The long, leisurely, lovely days of summer are here and the Bay Area’s popular outdoor festival season is in full swing. For a sun-splashed weekend featuring world-class art by 250 of America’s top artists, two days of stellar live music, enlightening chefs’ demos, fabulous food and drink, artisan specialty food purveyors, a collector car show, home and garden exhibits, health and wellness displays, an organic and green products showcase, and tons of fun for kids, head to charming, tree-lined downtown Menlo Park for Connoisseurs’ Marketplace, which this year celebrates its 27th year with a spectacular extravaganza on July 20-21.
Presented by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, large crowds are expected to pour onto the downtown streets for this vibrant celebration of visual, performing and culinary arts. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Admission is free. Take a relaxing stroll down charming, tree-lined Santa Cruz Avenue and experience a world-class feast for the senses.
How It All Began … 26 Years Ago
Menlo Park’s longtime signature attraction and one of the Bay Area’s top festivals, Connoisseurs’ Marketplace was launched in 1987 as the first major fund-raiser for the Chamber of Commerce. The name was chosen to reflect the community’s well-educated, sophisticated population. In designing the event, the founders went for an all-out elegant look and brought in a juried art show, gourmet foods, super-premium wines and a chefs’ demonstration tent that set the festival apart from the formats seen at most other street fairs. “Connoisseurs’ Marketplace is Menlo Park’s signature event,” said festival co-chairman Rick Ciardella. “The festival brings thousands of visitors into town every year along with valuable exposure and publicity for our merchants and city. With our friendly, walkable, tree-lined downtown, the festival is an ideal showcase for Menlo Park.”
Festival Mobile App Debuts!
Check out the new, free Connoisseurs' Marketplace mobile app! Developed by Half Moon Bay's Phondini Partners, the app is designed to enhance the event experience for users by providing everything from a fact sheet with key details, information on special attractions, a detailed site map, event and entertainment schedules, door-to-door directions, push messaging alerts, Facebook and Twitter integration, and visitor information via a full-function version of Phondini's iMenloPark app. The app, scheduled to be available the first week of July 1, will be compatible for Apple, Android and Amazon Kindle Fire devices.
Arts and crafts booths
Glass art booth
Fine Art, One-Of-A-Kind Crafts
Pacific Fine Arts brings their world-class stable of exceptional artists and craftmakers to the festival. Buyers and browsers will find thousands of exceptional handcrafted items in well-stocked booths covering several city blocks. Meet 250 exceptional artists and craftmakers—offering great variety and price points to satisfy every budget—on hand with their latest creations. Featuring original work in sculpture, paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather, wood, metal and mixed media, the festival is considered among the top art shows in the Bay Area. Gorgeous vases, flatware, clocks, dishes, wall and table decorations, paperweights, stained and beveled glass etchings, sculptures, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, beadwork, gold and silver jewelry, vests, handbags, hats, wallets, footwear, windchimes, and waterfalls are among the one-of-a-kind items available.
Stellar Live Music
Get your groove on! Two full days of live music on stage and street turn downtown Menlo Park into the Bay Area’s entertainment hotspot for the weekend. A dynamite lineup of eight big name bands play an eclectic, fun-filled mix of classic rock ‘n roll, rhythm and blues, contemporary jazz, funk, dance and party music. Menlo Park’s “Party of the Year”, the free “Saturday Twilight Concert”, will feature The Big Dig, a sensational 12-piece funk and R&B band, from 5:30-8 p.m. in Fremont Park. The music lineup includes The Groove Kings, Six String, Drive, The Jesse Charles Band, SF Bay Jazz, HeartStrings Music, and Emerson & The GroWiser Band.
Chefs’ Demo Tent
Menlo Park’s Top Chefs (and one James Beard Award–winning cookbook author) take center stage, not to compete and contest, but to instruct, enlighten and entertain in the popular Chefs’ Demo Tent, sponsored by Kitchens by Meyer and Meyer Appliance of Mountain View. Always a festival favorite, talented chefs from top local restaurants—Left Bank, Trellis, Bistro Vida, Menlo Hub, Carpaccio and Menlo Grill—put on a fabulous, engaging show, preparing dishes that reflect their imagination and style, while offering festivalgoers creative ideas and tips to try in the kitchen at home. Headlining the chef lineup is celebrated television chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Joanne Weir. Weir’s demo will take place at 12:45 pm on Saturday, July 21.
AutoVino Collector Car Showcase
Fans of classic collector cars will be thrilled to hear that the AutoVino Collector Car Showcase returns with a special display of world-class automobiles. Festivalgoers are in for a real treat, as they will be able to view gorgeous collector cars from various decades. “We’ll be showing a wide range of cars stored at AutoVino,” said Buff Giurlani, owner of Menlo Park-based AutoVino, a “Preserve for Fine Cars and Wine”. “The festival is a perfect opportunity for us to share these collector cars with the community.” Display vehicles include a 1957 Citroen Delivery Van, 1969 Pontiac Firebird, 1969 Jaguar XKE, 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, and 1969 Camaro SS.
Smoked turkey & roasted corn
Enjoying Festival microbrews
Fun for the whole family
Festive Food & Drink
Hungry? Festival eateries will be serving up a world of flavorful fare—fresh roasted corn-on-the-cob, artichoke hearts topped with crab and shrimp, samosas, tandoori chicken, lamb and vegetarian, spit-roasted gyros, falafel, Philly cheesesteaks, barbecued oysters, crab cakes, smoked turkey legs, tri-tip and portobello mushroom sandwiches, garlic fries, smoked bratwurst and Polish dogs, tamales, tacos, quesadillas, garlic chicken and pork kebobs, pupusas, fish tacos, fish and chips, nan wraps, chicken and lamb curry, organic vegan curry, kettle corn, smoothies, Italian ice, fresh-squeezed lemonade and more.
Enjoy a Sauza Original Margarita or Cruzan Rum Premium Mojito for a deliciously refreshing beverage alternative. Beer lovers will be delighted with the assortment of world-class brews—Sam Adams Summer Ale, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Blue Moon Belgian White and Coors Light. Renwood Winery, producer of award-winning, handcrafted wine from Amador County, will be among the premium wines poured at the festival. Renwood’s extraordinary Zinfandel, Barbera, Semillon, Viognier and Pinot Grigio will be the featured varietals. Barefoot Wine & Bubbly joins the party with their award-winning varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Brut Cuvee and Pink Moscato. The stellar wine list will also feature HB Chardonnay, Pepi Sauvignon Blanc, Camelot Pinot Noir, Camelot Sauvignon Blanc and Toschi Zinfandel—perfect to sip while strolling, eating or enjoying the music. VOSS Artesian Water (our official water sponsor), Sweet Leaf Original Sweet Tea, Sweet Leaf Mint & Honey Green Tea, and assorted soft drinks will also be available. Sip your favorite beverage in a beautiful, collector-item wine or beer glass adorned with the stylish festival logo.
Microbrew & Wine Tasting Tent
Sample exceptional, seasonal brews like Anchor Liberty Ale, Ballast Point Pale Ale, Ommegang Seduction, Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, Pyramid Curve Ball, Full Sail Wassail, 21st Amemdment Bitter American, Mendocino Brewing Bock, Drake’s Brewing 1500 American Pale Ale, Stone Brewing IPA and Heretic Evil Twin Blood Red West Coast Amber. Special thanks to our sponsor, DBI Beverage, for making the beer tasting possible. Taste the world-class varietals from Woodside Vineyards, one of the oldest and smallest California wineries, boasting estate wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains that are carefully nurtured from vineyard to bottle. Enjoy their outstanding 2009 Kings Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Woodside Chardonnay and 2009 Estate Pinot Noir. Special thanks to Woodside Vineyards and Buff Giurlani for making the wine tasting possible.
Artisan Specialty Food
Festivalgoers can sample and purchase incredible artisan-produced edibles, all using the very finest ingredients—gourmet pomegranate products, locally-grown organic vegetables, salsas, balsamic vinegars and oils, mustard blends, curds and scone mixes, marinades and finishing sauces, exotic jams and jellies, honey and honey products, butters and chutneys, and dessert sauces will be among the mouth-watering offerings.
Kids’ Fun Zone
The action-packed Kids’ Fun Zone will fascinate kids with endless amusements. Attractions include temporary tattoos, face painting, giant inflatible bounces, carnival and train rides, a 24-foot climbing wall, handmade fairy tutus, feather hair extensions, mesmerizing magic shows, super cool fossil digs and dinosaur art, plus music, dance, games and prizes with the Radio Disney Road Crew.
Home & Garden Exhibits
For home improvement ideas, check out product displays and chat with representatives from Heavenly Greens, Bay Home & Window, Armstrong Installation Services, Renewal by Andersen, Clear View Screens, Cutco Cutlery, Byers Leaf Guard, BathFitter, Black Diamond Landscaping, Kitchen Experts of California, Direct Buy, Rhino Shield, Bath Simple and The Craftsmens’ Guild
Organic & Green Products Showcase
This year’s festival will feature the latest and greatest exhibits featuring Organic, Natural, Healthy and Eco-Friendly products. Enjoy free product samples and demos while experiencing first-hand how these products can help you live a better, healthier and “greener” lifestyle and be a positive catalyst for change. Sponsors include The Solar Company, Stanford Chiropractic, Farm Fresh To You, Larabar, Cascadian Farms, Food Should Taste Good, American Laser Centers, VOSS Artesian Water, Peak Performance Chiropractic, Menlo Medical Clinic, Cobalt Power Systems, Recology of San Mateo County, One Lawn, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, and University Chiropractic.
Win great prizes, enjoy free samples, meet the personalities and experience the latest products from festival sponsors: Chevrolet, San Mateo Credit Union, Wells Fargo, GEICO, Dave’s Killer Bread, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Sun Tropics, David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Gold Rush Getaways, Ellis Eye & Laser Medical Centers, AT&T “The Real Yellow Pages”, YP.com, AutoVino, Radio Disney AM 1310, Yelp!, Bay Area News Group, The San Jose Mercury News, The San Mateo Daily Journal, CBS 5, The CW—Channel 44, Comcast, Alice 97.3 FM, KBAY 94.5 FM, KEZR 106.5 FM, KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM, KOIT 96.5 FM, KCBS 740 AM/106.9 FM, The Almanac, Palo Alto Weekly, Metro, The City of Menlo Park, Tyco Thermal Controls, Sharon Heights Shell, Menlo Chevron, Peak Performance Chiropractic, Ciardella Associates, and Friends of the Chamber.
Zero Waste Initiative
The Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce will once again partner with Recology of San Mateo County and the City of Menlo Park to promote and encourage Zero Waste. Free-standing containers will be positioned throughout the festival pedestrian route for recycling glass and plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Additionally, there will be large recycling containers for cardboard and mixed paper as well as glass, plastic and aluminum in strategic locations for event staff, vendors and sponsors. Beer, margaritas and mojitos will be served in recyclable plastic cups (as well as in festival glassware). “Every day we talk about ways to reduce, re-use, and recycle,” said Fran Dehn, President/CEO of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce. “We’re on a mission to make this a Zero Waste festival—it’s a big priority for us and something we diligently plan for and try to improve every year.” The festival is also encouraging the use of public transportation and bicycles to minimize carbon emissions and reduce vehicular traffic. Downtown Menlo Park has more than 80 bicycle parking racks along Santa Cruz Avenue. The Caltrain/Samtrans station conveniently drops riders off one short block from the festival.
Caltrain and SamTrans will be running their normal weekend service both days. The Menlo Park Caltrain/SamTrans station drops riders off one block from the festival grounds. For Caltrain and SamTrans schedule information, call 800-660-4287 or visit www.caltrain.com or www.samtrans.com. For VTA information, call 800-894-9908 or visit www.vta.org.
Street Closures/Vehicle Parking/Bicycle Parking
Santa Cruz Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from El Camino Real to Johnson Street for the two-day festival. Parking will be available in the parking plazas adjacent to Santa Cruz Avenue, on side streets surrounding the festival area, and at the Caltrain station on Merrill Street. The Rotary Club of Menlo Park will be offering bicycle parking in the Coldwell Bank parking lot at 930 Santa Cruz Avenue. Bicycle parking racks are also available at several locations on Santa Cruz Avenue.
No Pets, Please
Pets are not allowed at the festival. For the safety, comfort, and courtesy of your pets and festival-goers, please leave your pets at home.
The festival will be held on July 20-21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Santa Cruz Avenue from El Camino Real to Johnson Street in Menlo Park. Admission is free.
For festival information, call the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce at 650-325-2818 or "like" our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ConnoisseursMarketplaceMenloPark.