Malcolm X Festival
Location: San Antonio Park
Phone: 510-533-6629 East Side Art Alliance
Pricing: Free to get in, food and crafts range $-$$$
Hours: A Saturday before or after Malcolm X's birthday in May, 11am- 7pm
Description: This is probably my favorite festival of the year! Every year in May, the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival is put on at San Antonio Park in Oakland by East Side Art Alliance. You have to continually check their website for updates about the date but it is usually the Saturday that is as close to Malcolm X's birthday (May 19th) as they can get it. This festival keeps getting better every year for me and the older my daughter is the more she can sit back and enjoy it and so can I! There is a main stage in front of a rolling grassy lawn that has jazz, singing, and dance performances. Then there are a few side court stages that have rap and different types of dancing. There is a court that has all vendors selling their local craft goods from jewelry, to bags, to photo prints, to clothing, and even this year we saw a hair braiding stand! Then there is another court which is the food court. You can get whatever you want to eat and then go enjoy it on the lawn while you watch the performances. All around the circumference of the lawn are more craft vendors peddling their goods- and I mean goods! It is hard to know what to buy without circling a few times because there are so many goods!!!!
Highlights: I love this event because it is a positive community event! Everyone is relaxing having a good time! I love the food stand - A Taste of Africa, the wait is sometimes longish but the food is worth it! Try the vegetarian or fish plates, you won't need to eat for the rest of the day! I also love all the hand crafted earrings everywhere, I am a sucker for unique handmade earrings and this festival gives me my fix. Also it is at a park so if your little one gets bored you can take them to the play park area.
Tips: Bring a blanket to sit on on the lawn so you can chill and eat while listening to the music. Bring cash for the vendors. Most of the vendors now take cards but not all and you do not want to miss out on something you love because you didn't bring enough cash. Also leave enough time in the day, you'll want to be here for hours. Don't come too late and don't have to leave too early. A couple of years in a row I have had prior commitments and highly regretted that I had to leave or couldn't get there until later.