Thousands made their way down Solano for the annual Stroll Sunday. Photo: Alan Tobey.

Thousands of Berkeleyans and other East Bayers turned out for a parade and a near-endless variety of music, entertainers, cause-related stalls and food at the 36th annual Solano Stroll yesterday.

The stroll kicked off with a parade, which meandered out of Fresno and Colusa Avenues just after 10 a.m. was headed by fire engines from Berkeley, Albany and Kensington. Close behind was an AC Transit zero-emission vehicle with Mayor Tom Bates and a host of cars with various local politicians.

Berkeley High cheerleaders put on a good show.

But the politicians are decidedly a sideshow at the Stroll. The real fun of the parade are the various pre-schools, dance groups, theater troupes, marching bands and special interests of all sorts — a fencing club, Berkeley High School cheerleaders (left), Taiko drummers, free Burma campaigners, Berkeley lacrosse, and on and on — who pour down Solano Avenue in a lengthy stream.

Once the parade had passed, thousands ambled up and down the avenue, dipping into the stalls of 150-odd arts and crafters, 50 food vendors and nearly 200 community and governmental organizations.

Berkeleyside’s favorite? I could have spent a happy afternoon just listening to Soul Power. What a great band.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...