"Shop in the Laurel" mural with text in bold and painted windows with foliage.
"Shop in the Laurel" mural in East Oakland's Laurel district promotes buying from local businesses. Credit: Amir Aziz

The heatwave currently hitting Oakland is expected to last until at least Friday, which means there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors this week. Whatever you do, don’t forget to follow Alameda County’s COVID guidelines and mask up if you find yourself in a crowded outdoor area or indoor public space. As of today, 74% of Oakland residents 12 years and older are fully vaccinated, but hundreds of new cases are still being reported across the county daily.

As usual, we’re highlighting only outdoor and virtual activities in our weekly event roundup. If there’s an event you think we should feature, email me at azucena@oaklandside.org, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Here’s this week’s roundup of local happenings to check out. 

Fall Fest in the Laurel

The Laurel Street Fair was put on hold due to the pandemic and won’t be returning in its full form until next year, but residents can still enjoy a smaller-scale version of the event for one day each month through the end of the year. The themed event series, which launched last month, has four more to go: “Fall Fest” on Sept. 25, “Tricks and Treats” on Oct. 30, “Small Business Saturday” on Nov. 27, and the “Santa Stroll” on Dec. 18. During this Saturday’s event, MacArthur Boulevard will be closed off between 35th Avenue and High Street to allow vendors to set up on the street, and over 10 musical performances will take place in the parking lots of local businesses spread throughout the festival grounds. Other businesses will open up their backyards to host DJs. Expect plenty of outdoor pop-up sales, activities for kids, and discounts from shops in the area. 

Saturday, September 25, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., free, Laurel District, MacArthur Boulevard (between 35th Avenue and High Street).

Original Pattern Brewing Company presents: Oktoberfest 2021

Oktoberfest is coming early, thanks to the folks at Original Pattern and their yearly beer fest that takes place the last weekend in September. If you RSVP online, you’ll have a chance to win some Original Pattern swag. Stop by the tasting room in Jack London Square this weekend to sample German food bites, the brewery’s newly released Festbier lager, and sounds by Polkageist West. 

Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Original Pattern, 292 4th St.

Oakland Heritage Alliance Walking Tour: Butters Canyon

Hiking fans can break a sweat while learning some Oakland history during this guided exploration at Joaquin Miller Park. Participants will learn about the geology of Peralta Creek and the surrounding Oakland hills, and about the Peraltas who were among the first Spanish settlers in the area. The hike will be led by Dennis Evanosky, a writer and the publisher of the Alameda Sun. So pack a water bottle, put on lots of sunscreen, lace up your hiking shoes and learn more about the efforts of the Butters Canyon Conservancy.

Sunday, September 26, 10 a.m., $15-$20, Oakland Heritage Alliance, Joaquin Miller Road and Butters Drive.

Bo Pimpat, manager at Daughter Thai Kitchen (6118 Medau Pl.) Credit: Daniel Swafford, Montclair Village Association

Salsa Mondays (Classes and social dancing for all levels!)

Whether you want to learn how to salsa dance or are a pro and miss dancing, this weekly Monday event is for you! If you are a new dancer, the beginning level class begins at 6:30 p.m. Already familiar with the steps and rhythm? Then check out the intermediate class at 7:30 p.m. You can pay for a single class or for 10 classes at a discounted rate. This outdoor dancing class takes place at the Brooklyn Basin Township Commons. What’s better than some dancing at sunset? Remember to wear a mask and be mindful of others’ comfort levels when dancing too close. 

Monday, September 27, 6:30 p.m., $15-$125, Salsa Mondays, Township Commons, 288 9th Ave.

Montclair Village Restaurant Walk

Business owners throughout the Town have been eagerly waiting to get more patrons into their shops. Montclair is no exception, and many restaurants in the neighborhood will surely be glad to see this local tradition come back after an 18-month hiatus. If you are a foodie or just want to support local restaurants, purchasing a “passport” will allow you to sample food from each of the 15 participating restaurants. Some include beverages. Your contribution will also support a fundraiser for  Montclair Lions Club Charities including Skyline High School, Montera Middle, Montclair Elementary, Joaquin Miller Elementary, Thornhill Elementary, and participating youth sports and community service groups. The family-friendly event will feature live music and vendors spread around the shopping district—a perfect excuse to skip dinner at home and head out to support local restaurants while tasting delicious food.

Tuesday, September 28, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., $30-$55, Montclair Village, 1980 Mountain Blvd. 

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.