Crowds at last year’s Solano Stroll. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Crowds at last year’s Solano Stroll. Photo: Nancy Rubin

SOLANO STROLL The East Bay’s largest street festival celebrates its 44th year on Sunday as entertainers, food booths, scores of government and non-profit agencies, craft displays, and mechanical rides animate one mile of Solano Avenue from the top in Berkeley to the foot in Albany. The Stroll kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m., which this year includes a stroller brigade (“no baby required”) as part of the Save Alta Bates campaign. Nearly a quarter of a million participants are expected to throng the avenue. There’s a free shuttle from North Berkeley BART, numerous convenient bus routes, disabled parking and free bicycle valet parking at 1245 and 1800 Solano Ave. (see details on the Solano Stroll website).  Sunday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Solano Avenue.

HURRICANE SAM If you’ve been to The Back Room you probably encountered founder Sam Rudin, but on Friday night you can see him in his musical guise as Hurricane Sam, celebrating the third year of the intimate downtown Berkeley music venue. Hurricane Sam and the Hot Shots – led by Sam and bass guitarist Steve Evans – will perform their high-octane jazz/blues. Oh, by the way, why “hurricane?” You might think it’s Sam’s driving, energetic piano playing. Actually, it’s because his first gig under his own name as a bandleader, aged 24, was on a cruise ship. After one day at sea, a hurricane struck off the North Carolina coast, destroying all of the band’s equipment. A nickname was born. Friday, Sept. 7, 8 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.

WEST SIDE STORY Do you really need an excuse to see West Side Story? Here are three: the greatest opening credits sequence of all time (that opening whistle!), extending your celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, and you can pay tribute to Berkeley’s own Rita Moreno (one of only 12 EGOT winners ever). You can have all that and more at Sunday’s free showing on BAMPFA’s brilliant outdoor screen.  When you’re a Jet… Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. Sunday, Sept. 9, 4 p.m., BAMPFA, corner of Oxford and Addison streets.

MAKER’S ROW Fourth Street unveils its new Maker’s Row on Saturday morning. The line of small wooden booths provides a space for a rotating array of eight locally based makers to display their products. Among the artisans who will be at Saturday’s opening are handmade wallet maker Ostri Studio, clothing and textile company Wild East Imports, recycled pet clothing and accessory company Four Paws Leathers, children’s clothing maker Eden and Zoe. Lina Shatara Designs will manage Maker’s Row. Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m., Fourth Street, between Hearst and University.

CRYING TIME The Freight & Salvage is heralding Sunday night’s tribute to George Jones as a “boot-stomping celebration.” Oakland’s own Crying Time, together with pedal steel legend Bobby Black, celebrate the King of Country. Jones has number one hits in four different decades and “helped to define the art of singing country music.” Sunday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m., Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 University Ave.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

Celebrating soul with Linda Tillery in Berkeley
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Le corbeau’

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...