September 30, 2008

Festival Offers Something for All

By Janice De Jesus

PLEASANT HILL--Back in her crafts-making days, Faye Donaghu frequented the festival circuit.

She knew what artists were looking for when it came to showing their art to the general public. The qualities she sought in a festival could be found in an event close to home -- the Pleasant Hill Art, Jazz and Wine Fest, scheduled Oct. 4-5.

"It's a nice downtown setting where people are friendly," said Donaghu, chairwoman of the festival, now in its sixth year. "All this matters to the artists."

The accessibility of the downtown Crescent Drive location is another plus for artists eager to show and sell their work, Donaghu said.

Artists aren't the only ones who benefit from the exposure at the festival, said Charley Daly, Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer. The event helps showcase the local region's finest wines as well as provide a venue for local musicians, he said.

"There's easy access for artists, vendors and musicians as far as setting up," Daly said.

Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival, which will feature the work of 75 artists and a selection of local wines, Daly said.

"We've doubled the size of the beverage tent and added premium beer," Donaghu said.

Another reason for the event's popularity -- it isn't just for adults, said Daly. Entertainment for kids includes face painting, magic shows, clowns and a pirate show.

Local bands scheduled to perform include Reinhardt Swing, Jambalaya Jazztet, the Delta Wires and Tee Fee Swamp Boogie Blues Band. While the booths will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, live music will continue through 9 p.m.

"The event then turns into a nice, fun, clean party," Donaghu said.

This year's festival marks a special reason to celebrate: winning the 2007 Crystal Eagle Achievement Award from the California Downtown Association for outstanding downtown revitalization. The festival, which has been Pleasant Hill's signature event since it was established six years ago, helped draw crowds to the city's burgeoning downtown, Daly said.if you go-- WHO: City of Pleasant Hill and Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce-- WHAT: Sixth annual Art, Jazz and Wine Fest-- WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 4: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. festival; 6:15-9 p.m. concert; Sunday, Oct. 5: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.-- WHERE: Crescent Drive, downtown Pleasant Hill-- COST: Free admission- - INFORMATION: Call 925-687-0700, or visit

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