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Solano Stroll Comes Sept. 9: Details (and Poll) Here

Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for an alert when we write about Solano Avenue and the Stroll; details about our popular annual photo scavenger hunt are forthcoming.

Merchants and residents along the avenue are gearing up for the 2012 Solano Avenue Stroll, to be held Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

(Albany Patch is a Stroll sponsor.)

This "mile-long block party" will celebrate its 38th year in Albany and Berkeley with the theme "Step into the Future."

The theme, said Executive Director Allen Cain, "represents the new horizon in front of us and how the world has changed because of exponential advances in technology."

A free shuttle will be available on Marin Avenue and to the event from the North Berkeley BART station. 

Says the : "The fun begins at 10 am with the opening of Solano Avenue businesses and Stroll booths and the kick-off is the theme parade with about 100 groups. After the parade, you can visit one of 50 entertainers, 50 food booths, 150 juried arts and crafters, state of the art mechanical rides, and 150 community non-profit and government organizations, not to mention the unique and popular professional services, restaurants, and shops already here on Solano Avenue."

A range of cuisines will be available to revelers, from Armenian to Chinese, Italian to Vietnamese, Mexican, Mediterranean, Mongolian, French, Indian, barbecue and vegan.

Features this year include a special area for children with giant slides, carnival games "and maybe even wizards and elves"; on the east side of Solano, visitors can check out the Green Zone to find "tips about simple changes you can make at your home or business to reduce global warming, displays of green technology."

The event is alcohol- and tobacco-free. Learn more about the shuttles; free bike valet parking; public transportation options; and much more on the Solano Avenue Association website.

Read more about the Stroll on Albany Patch here. See the ; we had more than 300 submissions from community members. Stay tuned for details about this year's photo scavenger hunt.

Tim Q. Cannon August 30, 2012 at 11:34 PM
my 2 semi-uptight guidelines for the Stroll....going downhill, or uphill, stay to your right...kids and adults who want to congregate in groups, move to the side, don't park your huge group in the middle of the street.....ok..3rd one: Pinkman..come back to the stroll..you make everyone smile.
Emilie Raguso August 30, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I've never gotten to see Pinkman. I hope my luck will change.
Senior A. Titude August 31, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I've lived here more than 30 years and how the stroll has changed!! First few years it was all local, most organizations and some food, hardly any goods vendors. And I ran into neighbors from one end to the other. Now it's so big I rarely recognize anyone but it is still enjoyable (although I can only stand it for short periods). It's just different, not so much a community celebration as a Bay Area event. Good for local business though, I suppose. I'm interested in checking out the Albany/El Cerrito Key Route event to see if reminds me more of the early Stroll. One thing I learned is to park my car on the street and not move it on Stroll day; I'm half a block from Solano ;-).
Suzanne Forbes September 07, 2012 at 08:52 PM
This year T324 is doing a free kids activity at our booth- free temporary tattoos! Come see us in front of Flowerland on the 1300 block (between Pomona and Ramona) and get your little guys all tattooed up!
Gary Tang September 08, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I will be in the parade helping the little kids doing lion dance.
Suzanne Stroh September 08, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I used to go every year starting from the very first year. Now there are just too, too many people! It's a mob scene.
Walk In Closet September 09, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Make sure to stop by Walk In Closet, 1820 Solano. We will be having a pop upmart show and a trunk show featuring Berkeley natives Show Me Your MuMu! Live it love it shop it
Danny Chester September 09, 2012 at 04:55 AM
4Cats Arts Studio will be making our Stroll debut, come see us right near Little Star Pizza!
Steve Chervitz Trutane September 09, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I'll be at my TeamHuman.org booth located in front of Mechanics Bank next to Starbucks at Colusa. Here's some info about what I'll be doing: http://teamhuman.org/stroll.html
William W. Smith September 09, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Who are the musical acts? Schedule?
William W. Smith September 09, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Oops...found the info, thanks, Emile!
Susan Miller September 09, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I used to go, but the whole thing has just become a nuisance. My last visit was ended rapidly when three dogs got into a fight in the middle of the street. Their owners were powerless to drag them apart. The smokers were clueless about the nuisance they were creating. Friends who live near Solano hate the crowds and the mess they leave behind. The City crews clean up Solano but they do not go down the side streets to pick up the litter that goes on for blocks away from the event. Parking is a disaster -- for a green event it sure draws in a lot of cars. Why is there no parking at GGF and a shuttle to the event? No, I don't go to the Stroll.
Margaret Tong September 10, 2012 at 04:45 AM
I really want to like the Stroll. But I spend all my time trying to walk safely and I don't see all the vendors. People stop abruptly right in front of you. I'm concerned I'll step on a dog or a child. This year I saw only one person I knew. The music was painfully loud. Yes, it's well organized and tomorrow Solano will be restored, but it's not fun anymore. Why does the music have to be so LOUD?
lubov mazur September 10, 2012 at 05:15 AM
I agree. It's TOO LOUD. i would like to be able to enjoy the music without having my fingers in my ears. Musicians, please take this advice: just because you have a volume knob on your amplifier doesn't mean you have to turn the volume all the way up.
Amy Smolens September 10, 2012 at 05:40 AM
@Susan, I've lived 1/2 block from Solano (on Kains) for 20 years and love the Stroll. I remember the Brazilian dancers parading by my house one year! Sorry I didn't see this beforehand, but the article didn't mention that there are two locations providing free Bicycle Valet Parking at the Stroll. Albany Strollers & Rollers is set up in the pumpkin patch lot and parked 183 bikes today. East Bay Bicycle Coalition is set up at Wells Fargo @ Colusa - don't have a number of bikes they parked but I'm sure it was plenty. So combined with the shuttle from North Berkeley BART there are other ways to get there other than driving. @Lubov, yes, the music is LOUD! The Boy Band two booths from ours was a bit much, but the teens and tweens seemed to love it!
Margaret Tong September 10, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Aye, lubov. I'd say the Solano Stroll has become more of a Solano 'Shove.' Too much BBQ smoke, too much of everything. I'm impressed, tho, how civilsed it all is, as we just shove our way past each other. Too many outside food vendors. There were stalls I wanted to visit, but couldn't talk to the people, whether political or selling something, because of the loud music right next
Ross Stapleton-Gray September 10, 2012 at 05:51 AM
I enjoyed it. And was amused to see that the poor Atheists had been stuck next to the Intactivists. I imagine they had a lot to talk about.
Eve A. Ma September 10, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I like the Solano Stroll. Went this year just to see the parade, since I had work to do.
Agi Tator September 10, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Went and left in an hour. Music too damn loud, same food vendors with boring to crappy (yet expensive) foods. Lots of church and political booths. Some fitness and service company booths. Remaining retail booths are the same predictable ones you find at any other fairs selling the same predictable type of jewelry, clothing and artifacts. Also the 'line up for half hour, pay a bundle, ride a few minutes' kids carnival available.
lizzie September 10, 2012 at 07:40 AM
i cant go because i wont be able to go home for many hours (no parking at my house).
Jenny Craik September 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I agree about the volume! I really wish the organizers of the Stroll would give the individual bands sound limits and make sure they stick to it. We wanted to sit inside Little Star Pizza yesterday but there was a ridiculously loud band across the street and we couldn't hear each other speak. We ended up getting slices to go, and the Little Star person couldn't even hear our pizza slice order. My ears were ringing by the time we escaped.
Ross Stapleton-Gray September 10, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Driving my daughter to her carpool just a few minutes ago, and I see lots of litter in the streets still. I remember walking up Solano the morning after last year's event, and being surprised at the almost total lack of evidence that an epic street party had occurred the day before.
Peggy McQuaid September 10, 2012 at 02:53 PM
It should be noted that the Stroll is subsidized by the City of Albany. The March 19, 2012 staff report to Council shows Public Safety for the Solano Stroll The City provides a number of services to the Solano Stroll at City expense. In 2011, the estimated staff time costs per the Master Fee Schedule: Fire – Paramedic Unit 2 persons/8 hours each = $ 2,044 Police – 9 officers/1 dispatch person/10 hours each = $12,775 (does not include 3-4 volunteer reserve officers that will be used) Public Works - Friday (before Stroll) 3 persons/8 hours each = $ 1,746 Sunday (Stroll day) 6 persons/12 hours each = $ 5,238 Materials (estimated) $ 1,225 TOTAL $23,028.00 The City also gave the organizers a $5000.00 allocation for the Stroll. The Solano Stroll is not a City event, rather it is an event which occurs in the city and is run by a private organization. Why are it held to a different standard than City events, services, and programs? The City’s own “Dinner with Albany” and Art and Green Festival were not subsidized with City funds, but rather by sponsors and vendors. Council approved this level of Stroll support through 2014.
You Enjoy Myself September 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM
What we really need is San Pablo Stroll, from Hercules to Oakland. But they'll never do it. You know why? Because it makes too much sense.
Kirsten Schwartz September 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Oh, that's right. I didn't go this year, and this was one reason it was easy to forget to go: the volume of the music. LOUD is not the word for it! LOUD and ANNOYING!
Senior A. Titude September 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I fine-tuned my Stroll participation and maybe this will help some locals. Go early, either at 10 to watch the parade or by 11 am at the latest. You will still be able to walk and hear and enjoy everything. Leave no later than noon. Come back around 4:30 to grab a bite for dinner and remind yourself why going early was a good decision. I usually scope out the food places on the early visit and walk up Marin and cut over to my chosen food destination later in the day. Quick in and out. Since much of the Stroll is the same each year, it's just enough time this way to visit some favorites (like the Greyhounds) and check out the few new things while you breeze by the stuff you already saw in previous years.
Susan September 10, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I wouldn't be caught dead there. It used to be a lovely local event. It is out of control and enormous. Very commercial and just plain out of control. As the dog lover that I am, dogs are stepped on and there's no room for them. They should not be there.
lubov mazur September 10, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Same for me, If I leave I can't come back.
lubov mazur September 10, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I had no idea that the Solano Avenue Association did not contract with or reimburse the city for services. Considering the city surplus of $4000 for the year, and the upcoming special election at $80,000, is providing free services to an event that closes a lot of retailers for the day on Solano a good idea?
Dorothy Coakley October 04, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Although we tend to go to the Stroll every year, we missed 2012 as I was out of town. Nonetheless, it remains one of my favorite locale events, second only to EC's grand Fourth of July/WorldOne Fest. (We stroll *downhill*...see my Yelp review for details.) http://www.yelp.com/biz/solano-stroll-berkeley#hrid:EG8AjMezMANhN8mU-T3BRg

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