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Big Bad Barn Dance fundraiser coming to Folger Stable

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Big Bad Barn Dance Fundraiser set for Folger Stable

The “Big Bad Barn Dance and BBQ” is coming to the Historic Folger Stable in Woodside’s Wunderlich Park later this month and community members are invited to reserve their spot by clicking here.

The fundraising event will run from from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, at Folger Stable, 4040 Woodside Road. Hosted by the Friends of Huddart & Wunderlich Parks, it will feature local musicians, a live dance caller, catered BBQ, and local craft beer and wine in a beautiful, historic setting. Free shuttle service will be provided from Woodside Elementary.

“This fundraiser supports the Folger School History Program, Meet a Mini horsemanship program, the Folger Stable Museum, Nature Hikes for Youth, Healthy Hikes, and more,” organizers said. “This year we are also raising funds to save the unique 1874 Dairy House in the historic district.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring a table of friends to the fun for $1,500 or purchase general admission tickets for $150 each.

For more details, go here.

Photo of Folger Stable courtesy of San Mateo County

Eco-friendly Bird e-scooters now available to Redwood City residents  

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Eco-Friendly Bird E-Scooters Now Available to Redwood City Residents  

Redwood City residents looking to get around town without the assistance of a car, bike, or bus have a new option: e-scooters.  

The city and Bird, an electronic bike and scooter service, have partnered to bring some 250 e-scooters to residents in the downtown area. Redwood City joins some 400 other cities across the United States and Europe in participating in Bird’s e-scooter program. Last year, the city adjusted Chapter 8 of its municipal code to allow operators like Bird to take up shop on its premises.  

“We welcome Bird to Redwood City and look forward to offering community members a new, eco-friendly, and fun way to get around. Whether shopping and dining downtown or just taking a ride to the library or a park, residents, and visitors will now have a new way to get there,” City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz said in a press release. 

To book a scooter, residents must download the Bird app, sign up, locate a scooter near the app’s map, and then secure it. Once riders find their scooter, they will scan its QR code and take off on their adventure.  

To help those in need, Bird is offering a 50 percent discount on rides to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans, and senior citizens. Health Care workers and emergency personnel can also get up to two free rides a day by emailing a copy of their medical identification card, name, and phone number to 

Austin Marshburn, Head of City and University Partnerships at Bird, said in a press release: “We applaud the City of Redwood City for their commitment to offering convenient, environmentally friendly, and reliable transportation options to residents and visitors.” 

The City and Bird will assess ridership use in the next few weeks and then readjust scooter drop-off points to suit residents’ needs better. Eventually, the city would like scooters in areas like Red Morton Park, Target, and the apartment complexes along El Camino Real. 

Photo credit: Bird

San Carlos Block Party to bring music, games, beer and wine to Laurel St.

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San Carlos Block Party set for Sunday

A block party this Sunday, July 17, will bring music, games, beer, wine and more to the 600 block of San Carlos.

The San Carlos Block Party will run from 4-8 p.m., which will remain closed after the weekly Farmers’ Market.

“Stop by your favorite restaurant and order take out to eat at the community tables in the street,” organizers said. “Dance to 80’s and 90’s hits, purchase beer and wine from the Parks & Recreation Foundation of San Carlos, and play fun lawn games!”


Blood banks in major need of donations

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Blood Banks in Major Need of Blood

Blood banks across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties need your blood, and you can get some swag in return.

Right now, several donation centers across the Peninsula and South Bay regions are calling on everyone, especially universal donors (Type 0-), to give. Many of the collection groups are incentivizing people with giveaways.


This non-profit operates two facilities, one in San Mateo and one in San Jose. Donors who come to give July 1–9 receive an exclusive Flippin’ Awesome Donor grilling apron while supplies last* And will be entered to win 1 of 3 $3,000 prepaid gift cards.**

Make an appointment here

Donors to all these centers should be in good health with no cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms. They should eat well before donation, drink fluids, and bring their photo IDs to the centers.

Stanford Blood Center

Stanford operates donation centers in Campell, Menlo Park, and Mountain View and holds mobile blood drives in Milpitas, Pleasanton, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. People who donate between now and July 31 will receive one free “Grateful for Life” collectible tie-dye t-shirt!

Appointments can be scheduled online at, via our SBC mobile app, or by calling 888-723-7831. The center’s website updates each day with the most needed blood types.

San Jose Red Cross

Red Cross takes blood donations at its San Jose Red Cross Blood, Platelet, and Plasma Donation Center. The organization is entering July donors into a raffle for Shark Week merchandise, and anyone who donates before July 10 will receive a Red Cross-labled tote bag.

People can schedule an appointment at

Menlo Park gets its own nightspot

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Menlo Park gets its own nightspot

By  Vlae Kershner

It’s gotten harder for Menlo Park residents to complain there’s nothing to do after dark.

The Guild Theatre at 949 El Camino Real has been reopened as a place for live entertainment. The single-screen movie theater opened in 1926, became famous for midnight showings of “Rocky Picture Horror Show,” and transitioned into an art house. But business declined with the dominance of the multiplex and it finally closed amid widespread regrets in September 2019.

This story appeared in the March edition of Climate Magazine.

The nonprofit Peninsula Arts Guild stepped in to buy the property and won all necessary approvals from the city in a whirlwind 4½ months, said Arts Guild President Drew Dunlevie, a Menlo Park resident.  “We aren’t developers, just residents who wanted the project. We told the City Council, ‘If you want it, take it.’ To their credit, they took it.”

Construction was completed within 2½ years of the closure despite the pandemic and supply chain disruptions.

The Venue Debuts

About 150 supporters attended the reopening night event in late February. Appropriately, the first performer was a Menlo Park resident, singer-songwriter Reid Genauer, formerly of Assembly of Dust. He called it “a palatial and wonderful new venue.”

The main performer was Wobbly World, a seven-piece Bay Area international music band led by “Segovia on acid” electronic flamenco guitarist Freddy Clarke, who took the state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system up to high decibels.

Dunlevie thanked the crowd.  “Silicon Valley gets a lot of s— with the TV show but there is so much philanthropy here.” More than 30 donors, mostly couples, contributed more than the $35 million needed for the renovation.

The outlines of the old movie house are still visible, but with three levels instead of one. Interior designer Ken Fulk retained the classic look with touches like a chandelier in the shape of trumpets. The main level includes two dance floors as well as seating, the control panel, and a disability seating area. The mezzanine has seating and an open area. Both levels have full bars.

Décor elements include burgundy plush seats, old-style lamps, and brass railings. Still to arrive was a massive burgundy main-stage curtain and side wall curtains, somewhere in the supply chain. Capacity ranges from around 200 for all-seated shows to about 500 for standing room only. The newly dug-out basement houses an elaborate green room for performers with a big-screen monitor, lounge seating, and a washer/dryer.

Local Entertainment

Dunlevie said all types of music would be booked. “We’ll try anything.” The idea is to provide Peninsula residents with a convenient alternative to San Francisco venues like the Fillmore. “We love those venues, we’re just tired of having to go for everything.”

In March, the first show open to the public featured Grammy-winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper. It drew more than 350 people from as far away as Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco, Dunlevie said. The highest ticket prices during that first month were for Three Dog Night, booked for two weekend nights, appropriate for the “One Is the Loneliest Number” vintage rock band.

While the Arts Guild puts on only live events, the space also will be usable for media presentations once projectors arrive. For example, it could be rented out to film festivals and pay-per-view sports events. The Guild has hired an experienced general manager in Tom Bailey, a Stanford graduate who has worked at the Fillmore and other local venues and was most recently GM at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.

The goal is to operate at cash-flow neutral or better based on ticket and bar sales. Still, “If we need to raise a few bucks, we’ll be able to do it,” Dunlevie said.

The theater has never had any dedicated parking, but surface parking is available in downtown plazas within two blocks. Dunlevie expects many customers to stroll over from downtown restaurants, and others to walk from the nearby residential neighborhoods, or take Caltrain or rideshares.

For the schedule and ticket information, go to

Photos! Mardi Gras returns to Downtown Redwood City

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Photos! Mardi Gras returns to Downtown Redwood City

Sue Lehr Mitchell, vice president of the Redwood City Downtown Business Group, loves planning parties. And what better way to promote and support local businesses during a traditionally slow time — not to mention the Covid interruption — than to put on the granddaddy party of them all.

“It has been a dream of mine for a long time to bring Mardi Gras to the Peninsula.” says Mitchell.

So, after a one-year hiatus, the Mardi Gras Carnival returned to downtown Redwood City on Feb. 19. Locals were invited to put on their best beads and outfits, dine at open restaurants, specialty food booths, sip on a “hurricane” and boogie to the music of Al Lazard & the World Street Players; Howard Wiley Project; MJ’s Brass Boppers; and Grammy-nominated soul accordionist Andre Thierry. Master of Ceremonies Donald Lacy and DJ Marc Stretch kept things lively, in between the live bands.

Photos! Menorah lit in Redwood City to celebrate Hanukkah

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Photos! Menorah lit at Hanukkah Festival in Redwood City

The 12th annual Hanukah Festival, organized by Chabad MidPen of Redwood City, was celebrated Dec. 5 in Courthouse Square. The attendees enjoyed food, entertainment and games which were available preceding the lighting of the menorah by State Senator Josh Becker.  The menorah was wrapped in handmade scarves, mittens and hats to be given out to homeless people.

“Hanukah is a beautiful holiday,” said Rabbi Levi Potash. “It represents religious liberty and tolerance for all. We light the menorah which is light, and light is a symbol of goodness, wisdom and kindness.”

Photos! Hometown Holidays lights up Courthouse Square

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Photos! Hometown Holidays lights up Courthouse Square

Accompanied by parents or grandparents, happy kids with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads thronged downtown Redwood City Saturday, Dec. 4, as the annual Hometown Holidays event returned to Courthouse Square. The 15th annual celebration began at 10 a.m. and included a full day of fun—music, food, arts and crafts for sale, carnival rides and a chance to roll around in a snow lot. Crowds then gathered along Broadway to watch a parade that included costumed reenactors from the Bethlehem AD tableau, school kids, a lighted SamTrans bus, a marching band and other units, followed by the arrival of Santa Claus on a float. As darkness descended, the lighting of the Courthouse Square holiday tree provided the grand finale.

The merriment wasn’t over, though.  Shortly after Hometown Holidays ended, the Caltrain Holiday Train rolled into the Redwood City train station, glowing with thousands of lights. Families got a chance to see Santa, Frosty and other characters and listen to live music, as well as to drop off a toy donation for the Marines’ Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army, which provided the train’s brass band.

Millbrae Art & Wine Festival returns to Broadway

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Millbrae Art & Wine Festival returns to Broadway for its 50th anniversary

A Peninsula event is turning 50 and everyone is invited to the party. The Millbrae Chamber of Commerce’s 50th Millbrae Art & Wine Festival will return to downtown along Broadway this Labor Day weekend, with a host of activities planned for Sat.-Sun., Sept. 4-5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free.

The festival will take place on Broadway—located one block west of El Camino Real—between 200 Victoria Ave. and 979 Meadow Glen Ave., the Chamber said.

Festivities will include gourmet food, alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks, live music by Gary Pellegrini’s Band coupled with a Classically Cool Car Show (in the parking lot on Broadway’s 200 block) and handcrafted works for sale by 300 artisans.

Other festival highlights will include a Kids’ Zone (900 block of Broadway at Meadow Glen Ave.), an organic and green products showcase, artisan specialty treats, home and garden exhibits and health and wellness displays, according to the Chamber.

“In an effort to keep our festival attendees, volunteers, artists, sponsors, vendors and staff safe during the event, face masks must be worn at festival booths and in all enclosed areas and crowded spaces,” stated Chamber officials.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact the Chamber at For more info about the festival, click here.

Local feline wins high-five honors

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A Redwood City cat who was transformed by training from a gun-shy semi-feral into quite a pussycat has won top prize in a national competition aimed at helping shelter cats become adoptable.

Matilda, a 2-plus-year-old tuxedo cat who came to live at Whis-purr Rescue, Inc.  in March 2019, has been named the Grand Prize Winner in the Third Annual Cat Pawsitive National High-Five Day Contest. Matilda’s paw-erful performance scored a $5,000 grant for Whis-purr Rescue, which will also receive personal consultation training with Jackson Galaxy, well-known as a cat behavior expert who hosts the Animal Planet show “My Cat From Hell.”

Lucy Brock, co-founder and rescue director of the center at 346 El Camino Real, says Matilda is just one of the shelter’s 27 cats who have benefitted since they started Galaxy’s training method in January 2020. “There’s been so much change in these cats’ lives since we started,” she says. “It’s just amazing.”

The cats have been learning to do “behaviors”—not to be confused with “tricks”—such as ringing bells, spinning around, playing a piano, “nose touches,” and sitting up, in addition to “high-fiving” with an outstretched paw.

This year’s Cat Pawsitive contest kicked off March 22, and Galaxy selected the top 25 high-five finalists for the public to vote on from April 8 to 14. Among the feline few was Matilda, whose bipartite bell-ringing/high-five combo was posted online for all to see.

Whis-purr Rescue staff and supporters pushed to get out the vote for the local girl.  Matilda’s clever bell-ringing high-five won 4,997 votes, according to a news release from the organizers, who say the contest celebrates the success of the life-saving Cat Pawsitive initiative of The Jackson Galaxy Project, a program of  Greater Good Charities.

The initiative aims to save the lives of shelter and rescue cats by increasing their adoption rates. Shelter staff and volunteers are taught how to implement Galaxy’s positive reinforcement training for cats and includes “a signature move—teaching them to high-five.” To see Matilda, go here, and also the semifinalists here.

Matilda and her sister Moxie and brother Maverick were rescue cats who came to Whis-purr from Half Moon Bay at about three months old. All three were “pretty feral and didn’t want to have anything to do with people,” Brock says.

Volunteer trainer Talia Martin can’t have cats of her own (her husband is allergic) so she’s happy to spend hours at the shelter training a dozen cats. Their behavior and reactions, down to body language, posture and making eye contact, have been recorded in a binder since the training started.

Gradually, curiosity—or perhaps the scent of treats—got the best of shy or invisible cats who began to come down from cat trees to train on the floor with Brock, Martin or volunteer Sydney Leung. One of the cats wouldn’t come close enough to be petted, Martin recalls. Now he grabs her hand.

Whis-purr Rescue picked up a cat called Ryder who was going to be euthanized at another shelter because he was “too feral,” Brock says. “We couldn’t pet him. And if you went to him, he’d run. And if you did stay, he’d whack you.” So she was quite surprised one day while training another cat when Ryder came weaving in and out between other cats, rolled around and started purring.

Brock wants to get more tips from Galaxy about moving Ryder to a higher lovability level. “We want to get him homed,” she says. “It’s great in this (training) room, but we need to be able to translate it into a home environment.”

A shelter cat, she adds, isn’t the “yippy skippy cat that’s going to come and get right up on your lap,” and it takes effort to bring out the pussycat within. “They’re becoming more adoptable every day,” Brock says. “And I’m not in a hurry. I just want to make sure they get the right home.”

Photo of high-fiving Matilda credited to Greater Good Charities

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