Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween 2022!! + Halloween in the Park (Part XIV)

Happy Halloween everyone, hope you have a blast tonight! This might be the first Halloween in 3 years where the event is back full-force! Halloween is my favorite "holiday" of the year. It's the one day where you get to interact with your neighbors and the wider community. The level of creativity in decorations and costumes is also the most eclectic and interesting out of all the holidays for me--whether that's for trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, or work events.

Usually in October we have a wish-list post for Halloween in the Park. The idea is to build on the momentum that Christmas in the Park brings to San Jose each year and create something of similar scale for the month of October with Halloween in the Park! A lot of the infrastructure such as wiring, lighting, and booths might even be able to be shared between the events. The goal would be to make Downtown San Jose the epicenter of October Halloween experiences.

Below you will find brainstorming ideas we have collected for this concept so far over the years. Please have a look and provide your feedback and suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

The largest draw to Downtown San Jose for many years now has been Christmas in the Park. It has continued to grow year after year and brings in visitors from all over the Bay Area. It's economic impact is substantial and helps keep many Downtown businesses and restaurants alive.

What would you think about a similar event for Halloween? Picture Downtown lit up in orange and purple with elaborate Halloween displays assembled by local artists. Perhaps infrastructure could even be shared with Christmas in the Park (e.g. retail booths). A strong event in October would help maintain traffic between the summer months and Christmas in the Park. 
Here are the ideas we have so far:
  • Animated Halloween Displays
    • Created by local artists
    • Analogous to the Christmas displays that attract many families during Christmas in the Park (almost half a million visitors)
    • Family friendly so that everyone can enjoy it (PG/PG13, perhaps around the same level as Great America Halloween Haunt)
    • Halloween Lighting
      • Orange, purple, and green LED lighting on trees
      • May be possible to use new programmable LED lighting that can go from Halloween colors to Christmas colors with the push of a button, allowing the lights to stay up for Christmas in the Park as well and reducing setup/take-down costs.
    • Halloween Food
      • Booths with candied apples, chocolates, candy, pumpkin seeds, etc.
      • Food trucks
      • Trick-or-treating station - a free piece of candy to anyone wearing a costume any day in October (could also be used to hand out promotional flyers for Downtown events/businesses/resources)
    • Retail Booths selling Halloween items, for example:
      • Artwork (paintings, glass pumpkins, etc.)
      • Home decor/crafts like candles
      • Light-up hats/necklaces/bracelets
      • Costumes
      • Zombie/Halloween make-up station 
    • Halloween-themed Carnival Games
      • Pirates of Emerson and Candlelighters (Fremont) do a good job of providing family-friendly games themed around Halloween
      • A handful of children's rides could also be added to the Paseo and reused for Christmas in the Park
    • Interactive Art
      • Subzero/ZERO1-style, but with a Halloween spin.
      • Halloween-themed video game kiosks and/or arcades
    • Pumpkins
      • Instead of the sponsored Christmas trees in Christmas in the Park, how about decorated Pumpkins (can even be Styrofoam so there is no mess/decay)?
      • Pumpkin carving station for families. 
      • Pumpkin carving contest.
    • Costumed Entertainers
      • Walking around the area, not necessarily scaring people but adding to the ambiance and providing photo opportunities for families
    • Haunts / Mazes
      • Would be ideal if these were nearby, perhaps in vacant retails spaces, surface parking lots, the San Jose Convention Center tent, or at SJSU.
      • Could partners with one of the established San Jose haunt providers such as Deadtime Dreams or The World's Largest Haunted House.
    • Potential Events
      • Zombie-O-Rama can be used to kick off Halloween in the Park (late Sep. / early Oct. time-frame)
      • Zombie Crawl
      • Dia De Los Muertos Events
      • Halloween/Dia De Los Muertos Bike Party
      • Horror Movie Trivia Contest
      • Weekly horror movie screening (perhaps in the Circle of Palms area?)
      • Costume Ball
      • Pet costume contests and pet-friendly events

      Tuesday, October 25, 2022

      SJDA Annual Meeting 2022

      Scott Knies' final State of the Downtown address can be watched in full below. He outlines several initiatives that he was not able to complete in his 34 year career at the SJDA such as creating a new Downtown Plan, cleaning up our streets from those that suffer from mental illnesses and addition, and doing something about old and deteriorating buildings Downtown that have not been maintained by their owners. He also introduces the SJDA's new CEO, Alex Stettinski.

      Friday, October 21, 2022

      Live music returns to St. James Park throughout October

      Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose: “Building Community through Music”.

      Every Sunday in October (Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) bring a picnic, drop a blanket on the lawn and enjoy free, all ages, high quality concerts from 3pm – 6:30pm in Historic St. James Park. There is a Beer Garden featuring Camino Brewing suds, and delicious local food trucks will be on hand to ensure a stress free Sunday evening in the park.

      In the news: Yes - you may have heard about Levitt San Jose’s struggles to break ground at St. James Park. Having dealt with a progress-halting lawsuit recently, Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose perseveres, and sets the tone for the future site of a Levitt Pavilion with this first concert series. By recognizing the magic of live music to bring communities together and activate public spaces, Levitt San Jose strives to carve out a new era for Downtown San Jose’s most historic park.

      About the Levitt San Jose Fall Concert Series: 

      Formed in 2016, Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose is a nonprofit with a mission to build community through free, all-ages, high-quality live music shows and performances on a permanent stage in historic St. James Park.

      The Levitt San Jose Fall Concert Series, presented by Madrone Ventures & Studio Current, will feature top local and national artists, giving a sneak peek of what’s to come when Levitt Pavilion San Jose joins the community of permanent Levitt venues across the country.

      We are proud to announce that the Fall Concert Series began with a performance from Antibalas on October 2nd, 3pm – 6:30pm. It’s hard to believe that more than twenty years have passed since Antibalas’s humble beginning as a neighborhood dance / protest band in the block parties and underground parties in pre-gentrified Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Over the past two decades they have evolved into what The Guardian called “one of the world’s finest Afrobeat bands” while enjoying equal renown for their cross-genre collaborations with legends of popular music. Opening for Antibalas will be Salinas locals, Quiensave. ¿Qiensave? is a Cumbia Urbana group from Salinas California with roots stretching back to Michoacán, Mexico. They create high energy dance music that has fortunately blessed them with the opportunity to travel throughout California, Arizona, Mexico, and Colombia.


      October 9th Lyrics Born, the “funkiest rapper alive” took the stage from 3p – 6:30pm. Known for weaving funk and soul into classic, boom-bap Hip Hop, his energy electrified the crowd!


      Jose James performed on October 16th. Known as a jazz artist for the hip-hop generation, José James artfully blurs the lines between traditional and contemporary jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk, pop and rock. San Jose’s own Jackie Gage will open with her velvety voice, uplifting songwriting, and transcendent music.


      October 23rd will welcome Latin Folk songstress, La Doňa from 3pm – 6:30pm. La Doña, born Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea in San Francisco, California, is a solo reggaeton singer, songwriter and multi- instrumentalist. The Chicana artist began her career at age 7 playing trumpet, and later strings and percussion in her family’s conjunto. She also played in a youth salsa band and a Balkan fusion band before synthesizing her unique upbringing in her original compositions. La Doña combines her deep roots in Latin folk traditions like corridos and rumba with the propulsive modern sounds of reggaeton, cumbia, and hip hop. Mosaic Organization will begin the show with a variety of cultural performances ranging from dance to live musical performance.


      The Fall Concert Series will close on October 30th with performances from San Jose local, Will Sprott and Orgone, whose sound draws from 1960s and 1970s-era funk and soul.


      Friends of Levitt San Jose social links: FacebookInstagram and Twitter,

      The Levitt San Jose Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which partners with towns and cities across America to activate underused public spaces through the power of free live music, creating welcoming, inclusive destinations. Presenting a broad array of music genres and cultural programming, Levitt venues and concert sites are community anchors where families, friends and neighbors of all ages and backgrounds come together. Learn more at #MusicMoves

      Saturday, October 15, 2022

      Día De Los Muertos party today

      There is a massive Día De Los Muertos celebration in Plaza de Cesar Chavez that runs from 11am to 7pm today. The event features all sorts of live entertainment including pro wrestling and mural painting. Of course there will be tons of Mexican cuisine and live music as well. More details below courtesy of the San Jose Downtown Association.

      Saturday, October 15
      Plaza de Cesar Chavez
      11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

      Día De Los Muertos, also called Day of The Dead, is a celebration of life. Día San José is a culmination of family, entertainment and (most of all) fun! Throughout the day, we sing, dance, laugh and celebrate our loved ones. 

      • Main Stage with continuous, live entertainment
      • Chicano Art Mercado
      • Pro wrestling in a full-size ring
      • Authentic Mexican cuisine
      • Live mural painting
      • "Native Roots" vendors celebrating indigenous heritage
      • "Lowrider Altars," presented by Blvd Bombs.

      The first 300 kids through the gates will receive a free T-shirt they can paint in their favorite colors.

      Ticket prices: $8-10 adults; $5 students; kids under 12 are FREE.

      Friday, October 14, 2022

      Champions of Magic - Contest Winner

      Congratulations to David Gauthier! 🥳🎊

      You have won 4 tickets for the internationally renowned show Champions of Magic

      For those that did not win, you can still purchase tickets over here.

      Wednesday, October 12, 2022

      October 2022 Downtown Dimension Highlights

      The October 2022 Downtown Dimension is available for download.
      This month's newsletter highlights:  
      • BART has made much progress this past month on its plans to bore under downtown to build stations along its line down Santa Clara Street to the City of Santa Clara.
      • Caltrain moved to the front of the line, claiming "dibs" on 1.1 million square feet of office development on land it owns in front of Diridon Station.
      • This year's Annual Meeting will be unique.  We provided a link in the pdf you can link to for easy access to voting for Board members and to fill out the end-of-year survey.  The electronic version of Dimension should have more links in the future.
      • Celebrate a new batch of Downtown Doors.
      • Learn more about Christina Ruiz doing what it takes to earn a nod as Groundwerx Employee of the Month
      • San Jose Marriott has a new owner, part of a huge nationwide transaction of resort and upscale urban hotels.
      • ABVE the Basics shows how to take over a kitchen to cook up modern Mexican food.
      • Businesses can buy transit passes for all its employees for a year and be reimbursed from the City Department of Transportation
      • Take a look back at our regular From the Archives feature, which offers glimpses at what was going on 10, 20, 25 and 30 years ago in downtown San Jose.

      Friday, October 7, 2022


      The San Jose Museum of Art recently unveiled artwork by SJ-based artist Juan Carlos Araujo called "Wayfinder." This work celebrates the history of lowrider culture in San Jose--which may grow now that the cruising ban is lifted.

      Auaujo's banners are installed along East Santa Clara Street between Market and 20th, connecting East San Jose with Downtown. You can find more info about the project over here.

      Wednesday, October 5, 2022

      Scott Knies: The Exit Roast

      After a whopping 34 years of service, Scott Knies is retiring his post as the executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association. He was the first hired executive for the SJDA and launched many great initiatives and events such as Music in the Park, Downtown Ice, and the Downtown Farmer's Market. 

      He's going out with a bang. A roast will be held in his honor at the Signia by Hilton (former Fairmont) on Saturday, October 29th from 6-10pm. You can buy tickets over here.

      He'll also be doing his last "State of Downtown" speech and slideshow on October 14th.

      Tuesday, October 4, 2022

      Champions of Magic Giveaway

      As mentioned last week, the internationally renowned show Champions of Magic is doing five performances at the San Jose Civic from Dec. 27 to 29. You can buy tickets right now over here starting at $69 per person... but you might be able to get those tickets for free right now. We are doing a giveaway for four tickets for the December 27th show!

      To enter the contest, all you have to do is fill out this form (below is an image of what it looks like), check "San Jose," and mention The San Jose Blog. That's it, should take 30 seconds.

      We will keep the contest open for a week and then announce the winner next Friday!

      Monday, October 3, 2022

      South FIRST FRIDAY - October 2022

      South FIRST FRIDAYS is back this week! Galleries (both permanent and temporary) will be open from at least 5-9pm. The Street Mrkt urban faire featuring artists, special performances, live music, food trucks, and a beer garden will be running in parallel until 10pm. Two local breweries--Camino Brewing Co. and the Fox Tale Fermentation Project are the stars of the beer garden this month.

      Participating venues include ANNO DOMINI, Institute of Contemporary Art, KALEID Gallery, Works San Jose, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, the SoFA Market, MACLA, Art Ark Gallery, and MACHU PICCHU.

      Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

      Click here for a preview of featured art and list of all street vendors.