2018 Hillside Festival Update
The 5th Annual Hillside Festival proved to be a real success. Almost every event was well attended and worth attending. Our president, Dave Weinstein, attended every one!
Our co-sponsor was the city’s Environmental Quality Committee. This was our first event that took place over three days, not one day as in the past, and the change proved worthwhile. It was now possible, for example, and with some scrambling, to attend every event.
It’s hard to focus on high points. Let’s mention the sweet and easygoing opening night family ramble led by Alina Constantinescu that caught just the beginnings of the sunset. And how about the excellent geology hike that was both in-depth yet informal, with much interaction between the two leaders and the group? We had two nature hikes, one by of the California Native Plant Society, and another led by the leader of Friends of Five Creeks and a former member of the city’s urban forestry committee. Each hike complemented the other.
Madera Elementary School volunteers led a rousing hike for young people, and welcomed us to visit their incredible vegetable gardens and to enjoy a remarkable farmers’ market. Richard Schwartz’s in-depth and no-holds-barred discussion of Indian and early rancho life in the El Cerrito area was riveting. Two descendants of El Cerrito’s original colonial settler, Victor Castro, came all the way down from Santa Rosa and Healdsburg to attend.
Attendance at hikes: In total, about 300 people attended the festival, several attending more than one event. Last year, we estimated, attendance was closer to 250.
We are already planning a more expansive event in May 2019. Watch for an announcement of the date. We plan to add more hikes of the type that were successful, and attract more young people by having shorter, yet energetic hikes.
Thanks to all who led hikes or organized the festival. Special kudos to our board members Pam Austin and Mollie Hazen who did an excellent job in keeping everything on track. Thanks, as well, to all who donated to pay for hillside maintenance and improvement, and to all who attended. We appreciate the great timely work of our graphic designer, Jan Byers (brochure) and printer, John Shastik. And much appreciation to Corey Mason (KECG) for the awesome PSA radio spots with Mollie Hazen – they are a good team!