If you've never explored Oakland's Chinatown, this weekend's Streetfest is a great opportunity to visit. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24. It's free and easy to get to from BART's Oakland City Center/12th Street Station.
This year's festival celebrates the Year of the Rat. Small businesses and community organizations from around California will showcase foods, arts and crafts and unique Asian products. There'll also be entertainment on three stages and a Cultural Village presented by the Oakland Museum of California. Performances will include diverse Asian ethnic arts, such as Chinese lion dances, Japanese taiko drumming, martial arts demonstrations and Tahitian dances. Cultural village activities will include calligraphy, origami and face painting.
You can wander among the booths to check out the food-art carving (how DO you turn a watermelon into such a delicately lacy sculpture?), compare the pearl teas or pick up a good-luck token, whether your tastes run to high-end art and jewelry or ceramic beckoning cats.
Oakland Chinatown Streetfest is located in downtown Oakland in the Chinatown district, covering 10 city blocks from 7th Street to 11th Street and from Broadway to Harrison Street. For more information, including maps and a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.oaklandchinatownstreetfest.com/