It’s a Christmas in the Park miracle. The beloved San Jose holiday tradition was facing the possibility of a very blue Christmas when news broke that Orchard Supply Hardware was closing stores nationwide. Orchard Supply had been the supplier of the event’s 550-plus community trees, as well as a $25,000 sponsor.
But faster than you can say “jolly old elf,” Jim and Suzanne Salata of Garden City Construction swooped in to say they would provide a $15,000 sponsorship this year that could cover the entire cost of the trees, depending on what the final price tag turns out to be.
Christmas in the Park Executive Director Jason Minsky said he was very grateful for the Salatas’ quick offer to make sure the nonprofit event, which opens Nov. 23 at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, wouldn’t be on the hook shelling out more money for the trees. He also said it was “highly likely” that Lowe’s, the parent company of OSH, would sign on as a sponsor this year at a level close to Orchard’s commitment.
Minsky reached out to Lowe’s after learning OSH was dropping out as a sponsor and found them receptive to the idea. Did a petition drive and email campaign in some San Jose neighborhoods urging Lowe’s to fulfill Orchard Supply’s obligation to Christmas in the Park make a difference? Who knows, but it sounds like the big box home improvement store would rather not play the part of Scrooge this year.
CULTURAL CELEBRATION: Mexican Independence Day is Sunday — that’s right, it’s not Cinco de Mayo — and the festivities planned at the Mexican Heritage Plaza sound absolutely delicioso.
The School of Arts and Culture is hosting the inaugural Chile, Mole, Pozole, a celebration of traditional food, family recipes and art. A dozen families will prepare homemade salsas using locally grown vegetables and tell the stories behind their creation. Mexican restaurants — and we have more than a few good ones in the Santa Clara Valley — will serve the staples of mole, a flavorful sauce used in Oaxacan dishes, and pozole, an often spicy soup made with hominy, meat and other ingredients.
Of course, there will be music, dance and art presentations throughout the family-friendly event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave. Vanessa Shieh, interim executive director of the School of Arts and Culture, said the plaza’s location in East San Jose, with its rich Latino heritage, makes it the right place for such a celebration. “Food and art-making serve as powerful and effective bridges to one another,” she said. Tickets are $5, and kids 12 and under are free.
RAISE A GLASS TO FREEDOM: Clandestine Brewing in San Jose is one of about five dozen craft-beer makers taking part in People Power Beer, a campaign launched by the ACLU to champion voting rights between July 4 and Election Day, Nov. 6. Going back to Sam Adams — the patriot, not the beer — brewers hold a special place in our revolutionary hearts and certainly the craft-beer movement has parallels to other grassroots campaigns against monolithic institutions (even if they do have good commercials).
The breweries involved — including Alvarado Street in Monterey and Fieldwork in Berkeley — will produce different beers that share a name, People Power, and donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the ACLU.
Clandestine brewer Adrian Kalaveshi says their version will be a Classic American Pilsner, with a malt using 20 percent corn, which sets the style apart from its European origins. In conjunction with the beer’s release, Clandestine will hold a voter registration drive Saturday at its brewery and taproom at 980 S. First St. “At Clandestine, we believe that voting is an important fundamental right and we want to help spread that message,” Kalaveshi said in an email.
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