Whether you’re single, the parent of an elementary school kid or someone of any age who’s just looking for a great way to volunteer their extra time, this week’s event roundup has something to offer.

A couple of reminders as you make plans: Businesses in Alameda County can now choose for themselves whether or not to require masks indoors, so be sure to check in advance or carry a mask if you’re unsure. And remember to bring a paper or digital copy of your vaccination card, as the city of Oakland is still requiring proof of vaccination for many indoor establishments

As we continue to navigate the changing requirements, you can assess your level of risk by checking out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new tool for tracking COVID-19 transmission levels. Alameda County’s transmission level is categorized as “low.” 

Is there an event that you think we should highlight? Email your questions and comments to azucena@oaklandside.org

The Oakland Magic Circle presents the 2022 Magic & Comedy Gala

Mario the Maker Magician is part of this year’s Oakland Magic Circle Magic & Comedy Gala. Credit: The Oakland Magic Circle

The Oakland Magic Circle is a nonprofit club dedicated to the art of prestidigitation—performing magic tricks as entertainment. It’s the oldest independent magic club west of the Mississippi and has operated since 1926. The club hosted its first in-person gala before the pandemic earlier this month at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center. Magic fans who were unable to attend now have the chance to check out a recording of the show, which featured five different award-winning magicians. Everyone who purchases a ticket will also get a bonus gift: 50% off tickets to see “Jay Alexander Mind Tricks” at the Marrakech Magic Theater in San Francisco. 

The video is available until Sunday, March 20, and is $20 to watch online. 

Speed Dating at Sobre Mesa

This one is for the single folks out there who are ready to venture out into the dating pool but don’t want to re-download dating apps. Your ticket to this matchmaking event—hosted by Sobre Mesa co-owner and chef German Nelson in collaboration with the folks at dating app Why Knot Me and Staple Concepts & Events—includes a complimentary drink, appetizers, and two to three pre-selected dates (you must submit a short video indicating your dating preferences before the event). Get ready for cocktails, music, games, and maybe a love story.

Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., $60, Sobre Mesa, 1618 Franklin St. 

The return of Salsa by the Lake

Salsa by the Lake (SBTL) returns this weekend at Snow Park. Credit: Isaac Kos-Read

This event was updated on March 16.

Salsa by the Lake, the popular outdoor dancing event originally started in 2007 by husband and wife dancers Isaac Kos-Read and Mary Massella, went into hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. Since going dark, other similar events have popped up around town, including at Brooklyn Basin. To kick off Oakland Marathon weekend, Salsa by the Lake is making its grand return, this time to Snow Park, which is home to the Oakland Marathon’s “Celebration Village,” and will feature a kids zone, vendors, and a beer truck. Alvaro Batista will teach a salsa dancing class at 4 p.m., DJ Dark Rum will spin at 4:30 p.m., local Cuban band Pellejo Seco will perform at 5:30 p.m., followed by another DJ set to close out the event.

Friday, March 18, 4 p.m to 7 p.m., free to attend, Snow Park, Harrison, and 19th Street, Lakeside Drive.

Alphabet Rockers book launch at Fairyland

Grammy-nominated hip-hop group Alphabet Rockers debuts “You Are Not Alone,” their first-ever children’s picture book, at Children’s Fairyland. Credit: Children’s Fairyland

Grammy-nominated hip-hop group Alphabet Rockers co-creators Tommy Shepherd and Kaitlin McGaw are celebrating the release of their first children’s book You Are Not Alone, a picture book that empowers kids to love themselves and their identities, stand up to hate, and have each other’s backs no matter what. The event celebrates a new partnership between Alphabet Rockers and Children’s Fairyland, with support from East Bay Booksellers and Visit Oakland. These local organizations are coming together to spread a message of belonging and standing up against hate. In addition, children will be able to participate in giveaways, dancing, and more. There will also be a book signing with the hip-hop duo.

Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m., $13, Children’s Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave.

Volunteer to plant a tree

Portraits of High school students Tiara Wilkerson and Cali Carson of the Keep Oakland Beautiful Youth Advisory.
Last year’s Keep Oakland Beautiful Youth Advisory members, Tiara Wilkerson (left) and Cali Carson (right), planted over 100 trees in Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz

This event was updated on March 16.

Last year, members of Keep Oakland Beautiful planted around 150 trees all over Oakland with the help of volunteers. Already this year, the organization has received 325 tree orders to help offset the impact of carbon emissions, and, on March 26, those fruit trees will be planted in the yards of Oakland residents to offset the paper collectively used at Oakland Tech and Bishop O’Dowd high schools. Keep Oakland Beautiful is looking for volunteers to help, and they need a final headcount by March 24. Tree-Plenish, a national organization partnering with Keep Oakland Beautiful, suggests volunteer groups of 2-4 people. Next weekend, the groups will meet at Bishop O’Dowd High School to pick up the trees and be assigned planting locations. The shifts will last between 2 to 3 hours.

Sign-up before March 20 on the Tree-Plenish website

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.