Connoisseurs' Marketplace set for July 21-22Menlo Park's annual mid-summer festival, Connoisseurs' Marketplace, will celebrate its 26th year on Friday and Saturday, July 21 and 22, with art, music, food and drink, chefs' demonstrations, a collector car show, and tons of fun for kids.
The festival is expected to draw thousands of visitors to downtown Santa Cruz Avenue. Hours for the free event are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
The event was launched in 1987 by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce to showcase local businesses, particularly the restaurants. Today, a host of vendors sell food from around the world, ranging from quesadillas to tandoori chicken.
The juried art show, gourmet foods, premium wines, and a chefs' demonstration tent set the festival apart from most other street fairs, says festival co-chairman Rick Ciardella. "Connoisseurs' Marketplace is Menlo Park's signature event."
Some 250 artists and craftspeople will exhibit their work in ceramics, glass, fine art, photography, sculpture, jewelry, leather, metal and wood.
Two days of live music will include a lineup of eight bands playing a mix of classic rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, funk and dance music. The free Saturday Twilight Concert will feature the 12-piece Big Dig band from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Fremont Park.
Celebrity chef and cookbook author Joanne Weir will make a guest appearance in the demonstration tent at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Local chefs from Left Bank, Trellis, Bistro Vida, Menlo Grill, Carpaccio and Menlo Hub will prepare their specialties during the two-day event.
There will be a microbrew and wine tasting tent.
The AutoVino Collector Car Showcase will return with a display of world-class automobiles, according to Buff Giurlani, owner of Menlo Park-based AutoVino.
The kids fun zone will offer bounce houses, carnival and train rides, a climbing wall, plus music, games and prizes with the Radio Disney Road Crew.
Santa Cruz Avenue will be closed to traffic from El Camino Real to Johnson Street for the two-day festival. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22. Admission is free. No pets are allowed.
Visit miramarevents.com or call Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce at 325-2818 for more information.