Thursday, May 25, 2017

California's Great America introduces Red, White & Brews

Great America is introducing an ambitious new event this Memorial Day weekend with an encore the following week. Red, White & Brews features 25 different craft beers, American cuisine, local wines, live music from Bay Area bands, the San Jose Brew Bike for transportation, and a fireworks show.

Food options be more than just be hamburgers and hot dogs. They are going all out with true Americana cuisine--brisket sliders, bacon wrapped chicken hearts, corn ears with chili powder, and bourbon peaches and cream.

Admission is included with your theme park ticket. Tasting cards are $25 for 6 savory items while craft beer and wine tasting cards are available at the same price. For more info, the full press release is below.

Instead of just plugging the event, I'll be there along with Andy Lee (our beer expert) and two of our new bloggers: Kimberly Vacca and Josh Hunter. We'll provide a full write-up next week!

The Hometown Celebration of Americana Food and Fun is May 27-29 & June 3-4

SANTA CLARA, CA – California’s Great America will add to its incredible lineup of live entertainment and festivals with Red, White & Brews, a hometown celebration of Americana food and fun taking place May 27-29 and June 3-4. Red, White & Brews will bring the Hometown Square area of the park to life with locally sourced food experiences, more than 25 regional craft brews, Northern California wines, Bay Area bands, outdoor games and kids entertainment.

Tasting cards will be available for just $25 per person (6 selections per card) to sample savory items that include jumbo smoked chicken drumsticks, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, skewered bacon wrapped chicken hearts, corn ears roasted in chili powder and lime juice, and tombstone sliders with shaved brisket. There will also be a delicious dessert choice between an innovative apple pie, bacon and cheddar parfait or a traditional strawberry shortcake with the tasting card.

Craft beer and wine tasting cards, $25 per person for six, six-ounce samples, will feature renowned and niche microbreweries from throughout Northern California, including Gordon Biersch, Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Stone, Mendocino, Hanger 24, Lagunitas, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and many others. Wine pouring options will include William Hill, Flora Springs, J. Lohr, White Oak, Concannon and more.

Unique food items for sale individually in and around the Hometown Square area are: a brisket mac and cheese conewich with crispy brisket tips, crispy onions and BBQ sauce; red, white & blue funnel cakes topped with strawberries, vanilla ice cream and blueberries; tantalizing bourbon peaches and cream with cinnamon cream and candied walnuts; cinnamon dessert nachos, which are fried tortillas paired with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and caramel syrup.

For an additional fee, the San Jose Brew Bike will tour guests through the park each day, providing up to 15 friends the opportunity to view Great America while sipping and cycling (with a designated cyclist at the wheel). Hometown Square entertainment will feature oversized board games, free balloons for kids, giant Adirondack chairs for lounging and photo opportunities, and more.

“Red, White & Brews will create a vibrant, dynamic atmosphere inside the park and showcase the region’s incredible food and drink possibilities,” said California’s Great America Vice President & General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “Red, White & Brews joins Taste of Orleans and Fiesta Hispana as wonderful reasons to visit the park multiple times each year. 

An outdoor stage will be constructed in front of the Great America Theater where four local bands will perform rock, country, and bluegrass music throughout the day. Adding to the live entertainment, dueling pianos will be positioned in the gazebo, intensifying the outdoor atmosphere.

The entire festival will take pace under the thrills of Patriot, the park’s new floorless roller coaster experience featuring a nine-story drop where riders’ feet dangle inches above the track.

Red, White & Brews is free with park admission.

California’s Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FUN.”  In addition to Great America, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, two water parks, one indoor water park, and five hotels.  Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Urban Villages are on the way!

On Wednesday, May 10th, the City’s Planning Commission recommended that City Council approve two Urban Village Plans: the Valley Fair/Santana Row Urban Village and the Winchester Boulevard Urban Village. These Urban Villages are located on the west side of San José and include developments such as the Westfield Valley Fair mall, Santana Row, and properties along Winchester Boulevard.

The purpose of Urban Village Plans is to guide new job and housing growth within Urban Village areas and to guide the preservation of existing neighborhoods. San José is projected to grow by over 400,000 people by the year 2040; in order to accommodate for this massive growth in population, the City created the Urban Village concept as part of the Envision San José 2040 General Plan update in 2011. In addition to facilitating this growth, Urban Village Plans will guide the characteristics of future development including buildings, parks, plazas, public art, streetscape and circulation. The Winchester Urban Village Plan sets a capacity for 2,000 jobs and 2,200 housing units, and the Santana Row/Valley Fair Urban Village Plan sets a capacity for 8,500 jobs and 2,635 housing units to the year 2040.

These Urban Village Plans are the fruition of over two years of community engagement, of which included online surveys, community workshops, and discussions between City staff, developers and community stakeholders.

City Council will vote on June 27th to approve or deny these Urban Village Plans. If adopted, residential, commercial, office, and mixed-use development will be able to move forward within the boundaries of the Urban Villages. This area of the city is VERY HOT right now for both office and residential development, so we can expect many development proposals within these areas if the Plans are approved.

Other Urban Village Plans currently under development by the City include the West San Carlos Street Urban Village, the Stevens Creek Boulevard Urban Village, the East Santa Clara Street Urban Village, and the South Bascom Urban Village.

To learn more about Urban Villages, please check out the City’s Urban Village webpage.

Winchester Boulevard Urban Village Land Use Map

Valley Fair/Santana Row Urban Village Land Use Map

Introducing Kimberly Vacca

Today we have some amazing news. After our 8th Anniversary post, several awesome people volunteered to contribute to The San Jose Blog! This means positive changes are in store starting with an increase in the number of weekly posts. We are going back to a daily post Monday through Friday and will work towards having posts on the weekends as well by the end of this year.

Our mission of making our community a better place is the same, but the story will now get told from different perspectives as each blogger has a different background, interests, and writing style. I think this will provide a far more holistic view of where San Jose is today and where we would like it to go in the future.

Without further adieu, we are very excited to introduce our first new contributor. Kimberly Vacca is a recent San Jose resident having moved here from Florida in 2015. She was drawn to San Jose for work, but made the final plunge thanks to San Jose's great weather, outdoor exploration opportunities, high quality of life, and diverse people and food. She works as a city planner for the City of San Jose and is immensely inspired by her progressive, forward-thinking peers who strive to positively impact our growing city. As a city planner she works on creating land use policies that will facilitate the high-quality built environment that San Jose is passionately trying to achieve. In her spare time, you'll find Kim bicycling through both urban and natural landscapes, having a beer at a local brewery, hiking the Santa Cruz mountains, or stuck with her nose in a book.

Kim's first post for The San Jose Blog will go live in one hour!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Color Run Dream Tour comes to San Jose, Saturday May 27

SAN JOSE (April 26, 2017) – The Color Run®, the largest 5k event series in the world, will bring its 2017 tour theme, The Color Run Dream Tour, Presented by Lay’s®, to Arena Green East—Guadalupe River Park onSaturday, May 27, kicking off at 8:00 a.m. The Color Run Dream Tour will create a world where anything is possible, unicorns are real and foam clouds make everything better. The 2017 theme will make Color Runners’ dreams a lot more colorful with unforgettable music, color throws and an all new Lay’s® Poppables™ Foam Zone and Dream Wall. The San Jose run will benefit the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: San Jose, an inspiring event to support all people living with diabetes.

“We want The Color Run to bring happiness and health to people’s lives, and even be the motivator that kicks off Color Runners’ healthy lifestyles. We are excited to come to San Jose and give Color Runners the opportunity to step into a dream with us and enjoy a 5k that inspires people to get out and be active with their friends and families, all while having a blast!” said Louis Wills, The Color Run’s event director. “Our participants will experience an all new Lay’s Poppables Foam Zone and Dream Wall, fresh photo opps, giant unicorns, tons of color and even more music across the whole course on our Dream Tour.”

As participants enter the magical course, they experience the classic Color Zones and the brand new Lay’s Poppables Foam Zone, where they’re surrounded by dreamy colored foam or “clouds” as they run through the most colorful dream of all. The Dream Tour is filled with even more vibrant music across the whole course, radiant new colors, giant unicorns and the Dream Wall—a new addition to the course where runners spray paint their dreams on the wall to be seen by all. After crossing the Finish Line, Color Runners enjoy the Finish Festival, where they party with the Runicorn, dance, find unique photo opportunities and join in on massive color throws every couple of minutes.

Each Color Runner receives a custom race kit, including a limited-edition Dream Tour race shirt, a Unicorn Finisher’s Medal, embroidered headband, fun temporary tattoos and a color-in runner’s bib—to inspire participants to decorate and color their runner’s bib. An option to upgrade race kits to receive additional gear is also available with the deluxe registration package. Participants can color it up with more accessories, clothing and fun dream inspired items at The Color Run store.

Event:                 The Color Run Dream Tour, Presented by Lay’s in San Jose
Date:                   Saturday, May 27
Time:                   8:00 a.m.
Location:            Arena green East—Guadalupe River Park
     340 West Saint John Street
     San Jose, CA 95110
Tickets:               Team | $34.99
                             Individual | $39.99
     *Prices to increase closer to event

The Color Run announces a new partnership with Lay’s®, who will be the 2017 presenting sponsor for the 5k paint races in North America. Lay’s is delighted to add even more vibrancy to The Color Run through flavorful and fun experiences that will uplift participants throughout the day, including experiential activation and free product samples. To learn more about Lay’s®, you can visit

The Dream Tour marks the sixth anniversary of The Color Run. The tour will be making stops all around the globe and is anticipated to visit more than 27 countries worldwide in 2017. Registration for The Color Run Dream Tour, Presented by Lay’s in San Jose is open until the start of the run. To register or for more information about The Color Run Dream Tour, Presented by Lay’s®, visit, Join the #Happiest5K and the #DreamInColors journey on social media by following The Color Run on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

About The Color Run®
The Color Run is the largest event series in the world and the first of its kind. Founded in 2012, the number one goal of The Color Run is to produce the ‘Happiest 5k on the Planet’ giving participants an unforgettable experience. With no winners or official times, The Color Run celebrates healthiness, happiness, and individuality, helping participants achieve their fitness goals by providing a fun, un-intimidating running environment. To learn more about The Color Run, visit The Color Run Website#Happiest5k #DreamInColors

The Color Run is a product of Bigsley™ Event House, a leading creator of experiential events including: The Color Run Night®, Pumpkin Nights, Dam Train Race, Electric Run® and Soul Pose™.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Loving Day 2017 - June 10th, 11-3pm in SoFA

One of San Jose's biggest strengths it its diversity. In fact, we are statistically the most diverse metro in the United States. It gives us a unique culture with a better perspective of challenges around the globe as well as the wonderful opportunity to access traditions different than the ones we grew up with. The more diverse we are, the stronger our culture and society will be.

Loving Day is a celebration of the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in the US. Shockingly, this happened only 50 years ago with the case Loving v. Virginia.

San Jose's first event in honor of Loving Day will take place on June 10th at Parque de los Pobladores from 11am-3pm. There will be music, dancing, arts and crafts, a food truck, and plenty of good times. For more info, head over to the San Jose Loving Day Facebook page.

Friday, May 19, 2017

San Jose Funding Roundup

Several San Jose companies have announced new funding rounds in the past couple months. This typically means more jobs, which also benefits our local economy, as well as exciting new product launches. Below are the beneficiaries of our venture capital ecosystem.

Outset Medical - Medical devices startup that created a portable kidney dialysis machine. They just raised $76.5 million in a Series C round. Outset is headquartered at 1830 Bering Drive near the airport.

Visier - Business intelligence startup that makes workforce analytics software for HR departments. Visier raised a $45 million Series D round and is located at 650-550 S. Winchester Boulevard.

CNEX Labs - They build solid-state storage controllers and software for the next generation of data centers. They just raised a new round of $13.2 million and the funding round was led by Microsoft Ventures. CNEX is located at 2880 Stevens Creek Boulevard.

Chowbotics - They make a robot named Sally that can make over 1,000 different types of salads. Chowbotics is a brand new company that raised a $5 million Series A round and have pilot robots at Mama Mia in Campbell and Galvanize's coworking space in San Francisco.

Bonus: Western Digital did not receive a new funding round--they don't need it with $13 billion of annual revenue--but they did officially move their headquarters from Southern California to San Jose (Great Oaks area off of North First Streed).


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mendocino Farms is coming to Santana Row

A super hot LA sandwich chain is opening one of their first Northern Californian locations at Santana Row. Mendocino Farms has 4.5 stars on Yelp with hundreds of reviews for almost every single one of their locations. They are a premium fast-casual restaurant with food sourced from local farms. They also serve wine and craft beers.

The 2,822 SQFT Santana Row location will be located between CineArts and the Splunk office building next to it. It will also feature a large outdoor patio and kid's corner. Mendochino Farms is scheduled to open this Fall, and I can't wait to try it out.

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 09, 2017

Opening in fall 2017, the Los Angeles-based artisanal sandwich and salad shop committed to sourcing seasonal ingredients from local California farmers is slated to open a 2,822 sf restaurant at Santana Row, nestled between CineArts Theatre and Santana Row’s newest office tenant, Splunk.

The Santana Row "Mendo," as fans affectionately call it, is designed by local architecture firm KDA and will have a modern, wine country-inspired vibe. The premium fast-casual restaurant will feature the "kid-friendliest" kids' corner and offer a full lineup of wines and craft beers on tap. It will also feature a spacious outdoor patio, an ideal sunny spot to catch up with friends and co-workers while indulging in truly irresistible sandwiches, salads and soups from the chef-driven menu.

Mendocino Farms, founded in 2005 by husband and wife team Mario Del Pero & Ellen Chen, is redefining the neighborhood sandwich shop by elevating it to a fine dining experience with premium, locally sourced ingredients. Keeping true to its mission, Mendocino Farms’ food will be sourced from farms and artisans local to Northern California. Rather than just selling sandwiches, Mendocino Farms "sells happy," creating true neighborhood gathering places for locals to come together over compelling and thoughtful food that supports the local food economy. Mendocino Farms Santana Row will be a space filled with health and warmth for adults and kids alike, a perfect addition to this popular community destination.

About Santana Row 
Offering 1.7 million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential, Santana Row is located in San Jose, California; the hub for high-tech innovation and development. Featuring 615 luxury rental homes, 219 privately owned condos, 376,000 square feet of office space, over 50 shops, 30 restaurants, a boutique hotel and a movie theatre. Santana Row is a property of (NYSE:FRT), headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, please visit

About Federal Realty 
Federal Realty is a recognized leader in the ownership, operation and redevelopment of high-quality retail based properties located primarily in major coastal markets from Washington, D.C. to Boston as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Founded in 1962, our mission is to deliver long term, sustainable growth through investing in densely populated, affluent communities where retail demand exceeds supply. Our expertise includes creating urban, mixed-use neighborhoods like Santana Row in San Jose, California, Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland and Assembly Row in Somerville, Massachusetts. These unique and vibrant environments that combine shopping, dining, living and working provide a destination experience valued by their respective communities. Federal Realty's 98 properties include over 2,800 tenants, in approximately 23 million square feet, and over 1,800 residential units.

Federal Realty has paid quarterly dividends to its shareholders continuously since its founding in 1962, and has increased its dividend rate for 49 consecutive years, the longest record in the REIT industry. Federal Realty shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol FRT. For additional information about Federal Realty and its properties, visit

Monday, May 15, 2017

Students bring street life to Fountain Alley

SJSU students are working on "functional street life" pieces to make Downtown San Jose's historic Fountain Alley district a more interesting place. They are doing an event today around lunch time to showcase scale models of potential street life activators. Examples include unique seating, planters, hanging gardens, birdhouses, mobile solar hubs, lighting, mini-parks, and stages. 

The initiative should help make Fountain Alley more of a destination than it is today. The fact that this project is being worked on by local students with a connection to the city is the icing on the cake.

For more info check out the full press release below. Better yet, if you are free for lunch (12:30pm) and are in the area, swing by Fountain Alley today (between First and Second streets just south of Santa Clara Street).

Prototype project sets example for future social square

SAN JOSE – San Jose State University industrial design students showed today how Fountain Alley could look in the near future, creating life-size models that would transform the alley from avoidable place into a lively, vibrant, walkable and memorable public space.

“We are trying to bring an interest back to Fountain Alley that was lost,” said Kenneth Gordon, student, “while connecting Fountain Alley to the community in a way that makes them feel most comfortable.”

Working in partnership with San Jose Downtown Association, student teams created prototypes for seating, planters, hanging gardens, birdhouses, mobile solar hubs and lighting, mini-parks and stages in the alley, a part of a National Register Historic District.

The Design for All class gathered community input over the past five months to provide inspiration for their projects.  They used Local Color across from the alley on South First Street as a staging studio to build out their ideas.  The culmination of the semester was the display of urban-design creations for three hours on Monday.

One large structure supported wind chimes. Another model shaped to resemble a giant flower doubled as a streetlight and had a large leaf for seating.  One group working on seating has created a large canopy of swings.

In terms of solving the problems, we consider the human senses and aesthetic, and modernizing that aesthetic,” said Shafik Huffman, a student working on the bird houses and wind chimes group.

Added Alex McFadden, another SJSU student:   “We are creating community, not just bringing in the community.”

SJSU’s CommUniverCity program, which seeks opportunities to engage the local community, reached out to SJDA Street Life Manager Jason Su to offer its students’ information-gathering and creative design services, and to offer fresh perspective on Fountain Alley, said Dayana Salazar, CommUniverCity executive director.  Industrial Design Professor Leslie Speer took the academic lead and Master of Urban Planning student Nicole Guzman served as project coordinator.  Su assembled downtown residents and artists to gather ideas and arranged the work space for students.

“The Fountain Alley project exemplifies the power of collaboration,” Speer said.  “The generous donation of time and creative thinking by the local community has made this project as much of a success as the student work.”

Other recent efforts resulting in a swell of positive momentum for Fountain Alley include a beautification and cleanup project by the San Jose Sharks Foundation in April and a temporary pop-up art gallery sponsored by Knight Foundation and 8-80 Cities.

“We greatly appreciate the many bright SJSU students who offered their creativity, energy and imagination to illustrate the future possibilities for Fountain Alley as a vibrant and active public space,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.  “This project provides a great example of our community coming together to tackle challenges and create a common vision for the future.”

The District Attorney’s Community Prosecution Unit helped with designs for the renovated space.  The Office’s participation in this event is part of an ongoing partnership with SJDA and other community groups to prevent crime along Fountain Alley and improve the public safety of all residents and visitors of downtown San Jose. 

 “Someday soon only a few people will remember that Fountain Alley was a place to pass by,” said Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen.  “Now, instead of crime, we have creativity.  Instead of graffiti, we have art.  Instead of a place to do drugs, there is a place for a child to swing.  With some fresh paint, elbow grease and cooperation, we are making downtown San Jose a better place to live, work and visit.”

The DA’s Office also supported the “Phylum of the Free” mural that overlooks the alley, which represents the first dramatic improvement on the alley, created in 2015.

Rosen will join SJDA President Stan Vuckovich, and SJSU Provost Andy Feinstein in a brief ceremony Monday to acknowledge the student efforts.


About SJDA: SJDA, a non-profit membership-based organization founded in 1986, represents business and property owners and works to enhance downtown’s vitality and livability.

About CommUniverCity:  CommUniverCity is San José State University’s flagship community engagement initiative in collaboration with central San José neighborhoods and the City of San José. Each year CommUniverCity engages over 1,200 SJSU students and 8,000 residents in projects that advance community-driven goals while strengthening the community’s capacity to bring about vibrant, healthy and engaged neighborhoods.