Noe Valley Voice June 2010

Hayride and Petting Zoo Get Top Billing at the Summer Fest

By Heather World

Missed the hayride at the Harvest Festival last October? Then be sure to catch the next stage on Saturday, June 19, when the horses return to 24th Street for the inaugural Noe Valley Midsummer Festival, sponsored by the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association.

Riders can hop aboard the horse-drawn wagon anytime between 3 and 6 p.m., starting at Walgreen's on Castro Street near Jersey. The coach will travel east along 24th Street, then loop back around to the Castro junction.

But this will be no usual spin around the block, says David Eiland, co-owner of Just for Fun and an association member. The free hayride will do pickups at two other spots on 24th Street, where the merchants have corralled a bunch of fun activities for both children and adults.

"This is a whole family event, and we are very excited to be presenting it for the first time," says Eiland.

Stop one will be the Whole Foods Market parking lot, which is hosting an organic gardening demonstration. Alongside the garden experts will be local beekeepers, who'll talk about the bees and share samples of their honey. Meanwhile, kids can get busy on creating a sidewalk mural, with free chalk provided by the group Chalk4Peace.

Stop two will be the Noe Valley Ministry parking lot (also known as the farmer's market), which will offer face-painting and--the festival's big draw--a petting zoo.

Little Explorers Mobile Petting Zoo promises to bring an assortment of animals to pet, feed, and brush. Don't be surprised if you see angora goats, baby doll sheep, miniature potbelly pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, or ducks.

"Animals are always cool," says Eiland. "Kids of all ages want to go to a petting zoo."

Music at the festival comes courtesy of the teen girl band The SHE'S, performing in front of Real Food Company's storefront across from Whole Foods. Two roving musicians, flamenco guitarist Ryan Garcia and accordion player Renée de la Prade, will play on the street corners. Fair goers should be sure to stop by Noe Valley Bakery, which is offering a free cookie to celebrate the day.

The party is organized by the association's newly formed events committee. Its purpose, says Eiland, is to energize the neighborhood, as well as 24th Street.

"We want to bring the Noe Valley community together," he says. "[The festival] is going to be a very happy event for everybody. Hopefully, we'll have nice weather too."

Committee member Cindy Wilson--of Wilson West, a Noe Valley-based event management firm--also has volunteered her talents to the day's festivities.

"The idea is to provide the community some fun activities while shopping on 24th Street," Wilson says.

She says that in addition to Whole Foods and Zephyr Real Estate, two new kids on the block--Circle Bank and La Boulange--have donated money for the event.

"I think they realize community is a big part of the Noe Valley experience," Wilson says.