Showing posts with label plaza de cesar chavez. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plaza de cesar chavez. Show all posts

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Plaza de Cesar Chavez has some new amenities

Just in time for nicer weather, I noticed a few new features in Plaza de Cesar Chavez yesterday. There are two outdoor table tennis tables that look really nice along with fancy lounge seating. Several kids were already playing in the fountains even though it was not a very warm day.

The additions felt very welcome and will inevitably be popular with the college students that are moving into the former Fairmont Annex tower across the street. I also like that the colors chosen match and compliment The Tech Interactive museum.

Hopefully we'll see more surprises like this in parks throughout Downtown San Jose.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Breeze of Innovation Updates

Urban Confluence has been collaborating with Plaza de Cesar Chavez stakeholders on building a world-class landmark for the city in the heart of Downtown San Jose. The goal is still to place the winning concept, Breeze of Innovation, somewhere in Plaza de Cesar Chavez. In 2024, the organization will share an updated version of their vision--which was teased in the email below from Steve Borkenhagen. He's the Executive Director for the project (side note that he is also one of the key people responsible for the San Pedro Square Market's success and has owned several restaurants Downtown).

Some of the updates to the project will include elements that will dramatically honor Cesar Chavez and elevate San Jose events of all kind. The email specifically mentions Christmas in the Park and the San Jose Jazz Festival. I'm really excited to learn more about the possibilities of how Breeze of Innovation can further activate the park and add a new defining element to the Downtown San Jose skyline.

If you want to contribute to the project, the link is in the message below.

Dear Friend, 

Creating a dynamic city center involves lots of blood, sweat, and tears. In 2023, we’ve worked hard to collaborate with our fellow Plaza de Cesar Chavez stakeholders on plans to dramatically improve the most historic piece of property in San Jose. In 2024, we want to take the next step.

Great parks are the secret sauce for successful downtowns around the world.  For more than two centuries, Plaza de Cesar Chavez has been waiting for us. This is our chance to finally take Downtown San Jose to the next level by working together with our city's diverse and amazing citizens for the greater good. 

Along with many others who are deeply committed to Plaza de Cesar Chavez, we will reveal our shared vision for the park in the next six months. This vision will include Breeze of Innovation, elements to dramatically honor Cesar Chavez, and vastly improved park infrastructure that will amp up and elevate events of all kinds -- including Christmas in the Park and the San Jose Jazz Festival.

The mission for 2024 is tightly focused; we plan to join with the family of Cesar Chavez, concerned citizens, park event producers, and neighbors to begin to dynamically improve Plaza de Cesar Chavez and maximize the joy experienced by all park visitors.

Downtown leader Gary Dillabough says: “Sometimes to create an exceptional place, you need a catalytic event or a catalytic project. Our belief is that the Breeze of Innovation is that project.”

Will you please continue to support our game-changing project for downtown San Jose? 

Your donations will help us create this inspirational vision for Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Please donate HERE or by mailing a check to Urban Confluence Silicon Valley, P.O. Box 720813, San Jose, CA 95172.

Your financial support is deeply appreciated.

Please call Steve Borkenhagen any time with questions and comments.

Happy New Year!

Urban Confluence Silicon Valley

Executive Director Steve Borkenhagen

Please take a moment to watch this video of Mayor Matt Mahan as he discusses Breeze of Innovation. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Silicon Valley Pride 2017

This is going to be one of those better late than never posts! The Silicon Valley Pride festival is still going on today until 6pm at Plaza De Cesar Chavez in Downtown San Jose. Admission is only $5, kids are free, and I'm sure it will be a blast.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Roots reggae band Katchafire leads off 2017 Music in the Park season in San Jose on June 28th

Blues Traveler, Brenton Wood and WAR dates also set

SAN JOSE – Music in the Park, presented by Metro kicks off its 28th season on June 23 with New Zealand-based roots-reggae rockersKatchafire.

Island reggae artists One-A-Chord from Monterey Bay, Mango Kingzfrom the Bay Area, and guest reggae DJ Robert Rankin from San Jose open the show, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, off Market Street in the center of downtown San Jose.

Katchafire, a five-piece all-Maori band formed in 1997, is regaled as one of the most cherished, original live reggae bands in the world.  Roots reggae artists at their core, Katchafire also integrates R&B, funk, dancehall and pop themes into their live playing.  Most recently they put out a single Burn it Down and offered Stir It Up on a recent tribute to Bob Marley, in the wake of four studio albums, multiple awards and platinum

Also coming to Music in the Park this summer:
  • July 20:  Grammy-winners Blues Traveler, one of America’s favorite jam bands, celebrating their 30th
  • Aug. 3:  Brenton Wood brings his chest full of R&B hits up from Los Angeles to perform for his South Bay audience. Wood will perform in lieu of Bootsy Collins, who was previously announced but had to cancel for medical reasons.
  • Aug. 25:  WAR, self-described as “The Original Afro Cuban Jazz Rock Blues band.”  Hit parade includes “Why Can't We be Friends,’ “Low Rider,” “Cisco Kid,” “The World is a Ghetto” and more classics.  Eric Burden of the Animals co-founded the band in 1969.
All shows include local openers.

Advanced tickets are $10 per adult and free for 12-under when accompanied by an adult.  Tickets and information are available at www.musicintheparksj.comDay-of-the-event admission will cost $15 per adult.

Music in the Park is produced by the San Jose Downtown Association and supported by the City of San Jose.  Other major sponsors include:  Deloitte, Coors Light and Ballast Point.


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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Elvin Bishop headlines 36th Annual Fountain Blues Festival presented by Metro

If you are a fan of Blues music, mark your calendar for June 24th. Silicon Valley's longest running music festival is coming to Downtown San Jose and features an amazing lineup of musicians including Elvin Bishop and Bettye LaVette. All sorts of supporting events will also be hosted throughout Downtown (list below).

To feed your appetite, the festival has Southern food from Poor House Bistro, Smoking Pig BBQ, and Seymert's along with a full assortment of craft beers. 

Tickets range from $20 to $75. For more info, check out the press release below or head over here.

San Jose, CA – Silicon Valley’s longest running music festival returns to downtown San Jose’s Plaza de Cesar Chavez, June 24. Back for a 36th year, Fountain Blues Festival Presented by Metro, supported in part by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose, will feature performances by well-known blues musicians and craft beer tasting from over 20 fan favorite craft beers. Fountain Blues Festival provides a one-of-a-kind, laidback atmosphere that is perfect for blues fans and musicians alike.

  • Legendary blues guitarist, songwriter and singer Elvin Bishop
  • Three time Grammy nominee R&B singer Bettye LaVette
  • "The West Coast Godfather of the Game" blues vocalistFillmore Slim
  • Dynamic front man & traditional blues harp player Aki Kumar
  • Soulful vocalist, guitarist and prolific songwriter Maxx Cabello, Jr.
In addition to an impressive lineup of local blues artists playing the SJZ Mobile Boom Box Stage before and between main stage acts – courtesy of Silicon Valley Blues Society, festival promoters are bringing the Brews to the Blues – festival goes can sample over 20 craft beer selections Abita, Allagash, Ballast Point, Drakes, Elysian, Faultline, Firehouse, Firestone, Golden Road, Lagunitas, Lost Coast, North Coast, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Stone, Tilt, Wildcide Hard Cider and more.

“We support blues musicians by facilitating live performances of blues music for seasoned and emerging artists while providing programs to expose and promote blues music to a broader music community; says Fountain Blues Foundation President Bob Gonzalez. “It’s gratifying to be a part of something so positive in a cool downtown San Jose location.”

Southern inspired food will be featured: Poor House Bistro (New Orleans staples); Smoking Pig BBQ; Seymert's (catfish); Nita B's Tasty treats (cobblers and funnel cakes); Crab Fiesta; and Carmen's Taqueria (South of the Border favorites). Picnic-style games and cool fountain for families to enjoy - kids 12 and under are free with paid adult.

General admission tickets are $20, VIP tickets $75 and can be purchased at There’s VTA light rail stations nearby and free bike valet 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. near main entrance, courtesy of Silicon Valley Bike Coalition.

  • SundayJune 182 – 5 p.m.: Tebo’s Howlin’ Wolf Revue, San Pedro Square Market, 87 N. San Pedro Street, San Jose. FREE.
  • MondayJune 197 – 10 p.m.: John Nemeth CD Release Party, The Studio at Poor House Bistro, 91 S. Autumn St., San Jose. Donations welcomed.
  • TuesdayJune 207 – 10 p.m. Aki’s Downtown Jam, Poor House Bistro. FREE.
  • WednesdayJune 215 - 6 PM: Make Music Day: Fountain Blues Foundation board member Ned Kraft will lead free harmonica lessons. The first 75 lucky participants will receive a free harmonica, Discovery Meadow (West San Carlos Street at Woz Way, San Jose) FREE.                         
  • WednesdayJune 21, 8 p.m.: Matt Schofield with A.C. Myles and Terri Odabi, Club Fox, 2209 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets:  $20 general admission / $35 VIP
  • Thursday, June, 22, 6 – 9 p.m.: Big Blues Week Jam with special guests and hosted by Chef Ramon, Poor House Bistro, donations welcome
  • Friday, June 236 – 10 p.m.: Jerry Miller Band (founding member of Moby Grape) at Poor House Bistro, FREE.
  • Saturday, June 24, 9p.m. – midnight: Post Fountain Blues Fest special event with Daniel Castro Band, The Studio at Poor House Bistro. FREE to Blues Festival attendees who show their Fest wristband, or $20 donation to Fountain Blues Foundation at the door.


Elvin Bishop: A lot has happened since guitar legend Elvin Bishop released his last album, 2014’s Grammy-nominated Can’t Even Do Wrong Right. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and soon after into the Blues Hall of Fame. He won the Living Blues Award for Best Blues Album Of 2014 and three 2014 Blues Music Awards: Album of The Year, Song Of The Year (for the title track) and The Elvin Bishop Band took the award for Band Of The Year. 

Now, Elvin–along with his friends, guitarist/pianist Bob Welsh and percussionist/vocalist Willy Jordan–launches The Big Fun Trio. Preparing for one of the first live gigs with his new trio, Bishop told The San Jose Mercury News, “Every time I pick up the guitar, something new comes out of it. I guess you’d call me a late bloomer. When you get to be my age, you’re not expecting to be progressing or coming up with any new ideas, but for some reason, I’m lucky enough that that’s what’s happening to me.” His new album – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio – is among his very best musical ideas ever. The music is rootsy, spirited and soulful, performed by serious musicians hell-bent on having a good time.

Bettye LaVette: Three time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette is no mere blues singer. She is an interpreter of the highest order. Whether the song originated as country, rock, pop, or blues, when she gets through with it, it is pure R&B. She gets inside a song and shapes and twists it to convey all of the emotion that can be wrought from the lyric. Her career began in 1962 at the age of 16. Now 71 years old, she is still performing with the ferocity of a woman half her age. Her voice has only gotten better with age. She is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 60s and is still creating vital recordings today.

Fillmore Slim: He grew up on a farm picking cotton and plowing the fields utilizing a mule. As a youngster, he discovered music from his grandmother. He moved to the Los Angeles area in 1955, performing with his band Eddie and the Blues Slayers; he relocated to San Francisco opening shows for the likes of BB King and Dinah Washington; his first single released in the late 50ʼs, was a song entitled ‘You Got the Nerve of a Brass Monkey’ on the Los Angeles based Dooto record label.

This VIP of the music and underworld would go on to be revered by the members of the hip hop world including Snoop Dog, 50 Cent, Big Daddy Kane and MC Lyte. Among other celebrated musicians, he has toured with Joe Tex, Harmonica Slim and Little Willie John, performed with Sly Stone and T-Bone Walker, and recorded with Joe Louis Walker, Bobbie Webb and Rick Estrin. “Fillmore Slim” continues to master his gift of storytelling as singer/guitarist/songwriter. He is currently working on his 7th blues c.d. titled “Playa’s Ball” on the Mountain Top Label.

Aki Kumar: Dynamic frontman and harp player Aki Kumar is a rising star among the next generation of SF Bay Area blues artists. A master of the amplified Chicago blues sound, Kumar inherits his style from the harp legends of the 1950s and 60s. Aki has a unique voice in the blues, blending elements of blues harmonica pioneers of yesteryear with a signature sound of his own.

Born and raised in Bombay – India, Kumar established his mark on the West Coast blues scene starting in 2009 as frontman of the SF Bay Area’s highly acclaimed blues outfit Tip of the Top. His latest venture, The Aki Kumar Blues Band, involves several Bay Area blues luminaries and has been the culmination of his journey through American roots music. The band performs vintage blues with tremendous skill and energy and is guaranteed to entertain audiences across all venues, from intimate listening rooms to large festivals.

Maxx Cabello, Jr.: The American music flame will never go out as long as young artists such as Maxx Cabello Jr. take the torch and keep it burning. This young amazing guitarist, soulful vocalist, and prolific songwriter, hails from the streets of the San Francisco Bay area where he is turning heads and bending the ears of the most jaded veteran musicians and music aficionados. Straight out of the South Bay, this quiet-spoken young man turns into a powerful and captivating artist when he begins to play the guitar. We expect his star to be on the rise in the musical sky before long.

About Fountain Blues Foundation

It all started in the spring of 1981 with a sold-out concert at the San Jose Civic Auditorium by the rock group, Ambrosia. San Jose State University Associated Students wanted to do a Free-of-Charge show to repay their fans for their support during the year. The board of directors decided on a blues festival format for the following year. In 1982, John Lee Hooker and the Coast to Coast Blues Band was hired to headline, over 2,500 people came and the rest is history.

Fountain Blues Festival is organized to preserve and promote blues music. Preservation activities take a variety of forms, including live performances, broadcasts, lectures and community education about the history of the blues, culminating in the annual Fountain Blues Festival.

The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supports blues musicians by facilitating live performances of blues music by seasoned and emerging artists; providing programs to expose and promote blues music to the broader music community; providing education for musicians, including mentorships and music industry experiences that promote professional artistic exchange; partnering with local venues and merchants to promote a community that supports the blues art form.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

CityDance San Jose starts tonight

CityDance San Jose is a series of free professional dance instruction at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The first lesson is this evening and the party continues every Thursday for the next seven weeks. Music will be provided by local bands and there will be plenty of dancing and good times after the lessons. An added bonus is a beer garden and food trucks from 5:30pm to 9pm.

Each week features a different type of dance--from Salsa to Bollywood to the Argentine Tango. Check out the schedule below:

  • Sept. 1 – Salsa, instruction by Eddie Valdez and music by Los Boleros.
  • Sept. 8 – Country Two-Step, instruction by Michelle Crozier and music by Country Cougars.
  • Sept. 15 – Hustle, instruction by Eddie Valdez and music by Alfie and XS.
  • Sept. 22 – East Coast Swing, instruction by Lesley McIntosh, music by The Fabulous CruiseTones.
  • Sept. 29 – Bollywood, instruction by Joti Singh, music by DJ Puran Singh of KGS Entertainment featuring Gagan Singh Dholi, Dhol Player.
  • Oct. 6 – Argentine Tango, instruction by Conor McClure and music by Tangonero Trio with Claudio Ortega and DJ Steve.
  • Oct. 13 – Foxtrot, instruction by Hans Schmidt and music by The Serenaders.
  • Oct. 20 – Rumba/Merengue, instruction by Michelle Crozier and music by The Alison Sharino Band.

Oh, and while you are at Plaza de Cesar Chavez don't forget to try out The Swings.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, July 15, 2016

San Jose hosts "The Swings"

Starting on August 4th, you will be able to enjoy "musical swings" in Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The swings are an award-winning interactive art project that combines both exercise and music. As you swing, you will trigger musical notes. When multiple people coordinate their swings, they can generate melodies.

Musical Swings will be in Plaza de Cesar Chavez for the next two months and are available from 10am to 10pm daily. There is no fee to use the swings.

This project was sponsored by the Knight Foundation, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of San Jose Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, the San Jose Downtown Association, San Jose Jazz, The Tech Museum of Innovation, ZERO1, Team San Jose, Adobe, Applied Materials, and City View Plaza.

Source: SJ Economy News

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spring in Plaza de Cesar Chavez

Arguably the #1 benefit that came out of the Super Bowl for San Jose was a vision of what Plaza de Cesar Chavez could become. We did an excellent job of making the park a place where people would want to hang out. If we can do it for visitors, why not do it for San Jose residents? That is exactly what is happening right now.

Plaza de Cesar Chavez is going to be "reactivated" throughout May and June with comfortable seats, games (ping pong, cornhole, etc.), fancy LED lights, and food trucks. Lunch will be served in the park from 11:30am-1:30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Dinner will be available from 5pm-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Hopefully lot's of people will participate and they will keep this going throughout the summer as well!


Eat, relax, sit and play at Plaza de Cesar Chavez this season! Whether you grab a bite for lunch and dinner, step outside of the office and hold your meeting in Plaza, or simply act like a kid and play a game of cornhole or ping pong - our outdoor patio style seating, market style lights, and lush grass areas are a perfect destination to unplug and socialize.

Due to existing events scheduled at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, lunch and dinner dates change frequently. Please check out the dates below to know when food trucks and equipment will be available at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

LUNCH: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays: 11:30AM – 1:30PM
May: 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 31
June: 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 28, 30

DINNER: Fridays and Saturdays: 5:00PM – 8:00PM
May: 13, 14, 20, 21
June: 17, 18

Monday, February 1, 2016

Super Bowl Festivities in Downtown San Jose

Downtown San Jose is going all out for Super Bowl 50 this week! This isn't just pandering to this big event. The Carolina Panthers are staying at the San Jose Marriott and Super Bowl Opening Night will be hosted at the SAP Center. The heart of San Jose's Super Bowl 50 activities will be in Plaza de Cesar Chavez. They have installed an advanced lighting system synced to live music, a beer garden, multiple game areas, and food trucks. Downtown Ice is still going strong and there is even a NFL store pop-up shop nearby. San Pedro Square has shut down a whole street, added turf, and provided 50 nerf footballs to throw around.

There is a lot going on, and thankfully the city has provided an interactive Super Bowl 50 map for Downtown activities. Check it out over here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Plaza de Cesar Chavez Hosting Light Shows, Cafe, and Beer Garden During Super Bowl Week

Downtown San Jose has ambitious plans for Super Bowl Week. Plaza de Cesar Chavez is going to be transformed into the epicenter of South Bay festivities thanks to $150,000 in privately funded improvements (split between the Adobe Foundation and the Knight Foundation).

The trees will be lit with animated LED displays that are synchronized with both live and recorded music. There will be a new cafe and beer garden open from noon until 10pm and well as food trucks along the perimeter of the park. They will even have games for visitors such as a scaled-down football field and ping pong tables.

Some of the attractions will be used to showcase what can be done in urban parks, while some others like lighting improvements and new furniture will be permanent. That is a big win for our top park in Downtown San Jose. Hopefully we will do more events like this in the future. A permanent cafe in the middle of the park would not be a bad idea either.

You will be able to check out the new and improved Plaza de Cesar Chavez from January 29th to February 7th.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, August 21, 2015

Grammy Winning Los Lonely Boys Play Music in the Park - Aug. 28

SAN JOSE - Grammy Award winners Los Lonely Boys – the beloved brother trio of Jojo, Henry and Ringo Garza – bring their “Texican” brand of rock ’n’ roll from San Angelo, Texas, to Music in the Park on Aug. 28.

Los Lonely Boys combines elements of rock ’n’ roll, Texas blues, soul, country and Tejano. The band’s debut single, "Heaven" became a Top 20 hit, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart, and eventually won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a duo or group with vocal

Los Lonely Boys followed their initial success with two more Grammy nominations in 2006 for their album “Sacred.”  On tour in 2014 supporting their latest album, “Revelation,” Los Lonely Boys has alsoincluded a number of stops along the California coast in 2015, most of which offer tickets starting at $40.

At Music in the Park, advance $10 tickets are on sale Tickets are $15 the day of the show.  Children 12-under are free when accompanied by an adult.

Local favorite J.C. Smith Band (, which has been voted “best blues band” in South Bay numerous times, opens the show, which starts at 5:15 p.m. at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Market and San Fernando streets.

The concerts are produced by San Jose Downtown Association.  Series sponsors include:  Metro, City of San Jose, NBC, Telemundo, KQED, El Observador, Content Magazine, KFOG 97.7 SJ/104.5 SF, La Raza 93.3, Lagunitas Beer Company, J. Lohr Wines, Republic Services and Silicon Valley Bike Coalition.

This is the 26th year of the series.


Also at the event:

Kids fun including art activities

Food and drink:
    New this year – Lounge in the Park:  Mixed drinks and lounge seating in a transformed space, courtesy Method42 Productions.
    Craft Beer offerings from local breweries, including Lagunitas Brewing Co. and Strike Brewing.
J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines

   San Jose Bike Coalition, in cooperation with the City of San Jose, will provide free valet bike parking from 4:30 p.m.-9:45 p.m.
   To find the nearest parking options to Plaza de Cesar Chavez, go to

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Food Trucks Coming to Plaza de Cesar Chavez Downtown!

Moveable Feast is planning to expand to its birthplace, Downtown San Jose. The goal is to have a weekly food truck event at Plaza de Cesar Chavez every Friday. It would be a mid-sized gathering of 5-6 trucks along with live music. Moveable Feast still needs to final approval from the city, but they are confident their plan will be approved.

Ryan Sebastian, the founder of Moveable Feast, believes that these events are key to bringing more people to Downtown San Jose and making it a destination. He believes there are still many San Joseans that are afraid of Downtown, and events like this will help change that brand perception.

The best case scenario would place Moveable Feast in the park beginning this February.

Personally, I would love to see this taken a step further and have a permanent area dedicated to food trucks (and retail trucks) with daily events. There would have to be enough demand, but that could really become an anchor for one of the best urban parks in San Jose.

Source: SVBJ