“Good Time Faire” at St. Philip Neri

A Good Time Faire, reminiscent of an old-fashioned county fair, takes place this weekend as a benefit and celebration for St. Philip Neri School, St. Philip Neri Church and St. Albert the Great Church in Alameda.

The school, at 1335 High Street, will be the venue of the event, which is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, September 16

There will be games for all ages, a variety of delicious food to choose from (including Filipino booth) and some surprises, organizers say.

Raffle tickets are being sold for $1 to $20. Prizes include a Sony Bravia 40” 1080p HDTV, two Dell Streak tablet computers, and a gift basket from the Alameda Theater (with movie passes, snacks, gift certificate to a local restaurant).

After 9 a.m. mass on Sunday, September 18, the parish will celebrate a pancake breakfast in O’Brien Hall.


Elks Host Night of Fun, Charity

Alameda’s Elks always have lots going on – but this week, they’ve scheduled a very special event, according to their exalted ruler Susan Timney.

“Something new is coming to the Lodge. On Friday the 16th, the Comedy Machine will be appearing at The Hard Rack Café,” she wrote in the latest Elk’s bulletin.

“This event will have a real comedy club feel to it with the show being held in the newly renovated Rathskellar! Please come out and support this and all Hard Rack Café events to help raise money for our Charity Fund,” she added.

The comedians set to appear at the Lodge, located at 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, are Andy Kern, Brendan Lynch and Reggie Steele.

Tickets are $20 and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.


Local Egret Colony Thriving on Bay Farm

In the spring of 2011, Bay Farm residents enjoyed the return of an egret colony, with both snowy and great egrets nesting in a pine tree on the main lagoon, according to resident Reyla Grager. This has been the pattern over the past four years, she says, adding that the snowy egret is the official bird of Alameda.

The great egret is considered a federally threatened species, according to Grager, while the smaller snowy egret is listed as endangered – though it’s thriving in Alameda. (She explained issues affecting egrets in the area in the most recent issue of “The Gull’s Call,” a Harbor Bay publication.)

A count in the Bay Area recently found 29 egret nests, including the Bay Farm colony.

Residents who find injured baby or other birds, should contact members of the Bay Farm Nature Connection, including Graber, who can be reached at 510-865-6645.

The Bay Farm birding group is hosting its first bird-watching walk on October 15. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at Coffee & Tea Traders in the Harbor Bay Landing shopping area.


It’s Already October at Local Pub

Oktoberfest 2011 starts early in Alameda.

The Speisekammer at 2424 Lincoln Avenue (at Park Street) is already celebrating the festival today, Sunday, September 11, and will continue to do so for the next three Sundays (September 18, September 25 and October 2).

In addition to beer (of course), there is music and dancing with the Golden Gate Bavarian Dance Club.

There is also a jumpy house and other activities for kids,not to mention German food, which the restaurant is known for.

The music, dancing and fun takes place from 12 to 7 p.m., and there is no cover charge.

The crowd builds up pretty fast, especially if the weather is nice — like today, so guests are advised to arrive early if they’d like their own outdoor table.


9/11 Activities Scheduled for USS Hornet

Today — for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the USS Hornet in Alameda is celebrating Patriots Day, and the facilities are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

September 11 marks the final day of Patriots & Heroes Week. In appreciation for their service, “first responders” with proper I.D. and their immediate families have received complimentary admission to the museum (from Sept. 5-11). This includes firefighters, law enforcement agents, and rescue personnel.

The USS Hornet will stage its next Living Ship Day as a 9/11 remembrance event on September 17.

On Saturday, visitors can experience an aircraft carrier in action, witness simulated flight operations, ride an aircraft elevator, sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and participate in a special mission briefing. In appreciation for their service, firefighters, police officers, Coast Guard personnel, and other emergency responders with I.D. and their immediate families will receive complimentary admission to the museum on this day, too.

Discounted admission coupons (Groupon, kgb, GotDailyDeals, etc) are not valid for this event.


New Pet Shop Not Just for Cats & Dogs

Business owner Cynthia Schorle and her daughter Madison Leonesio, a junior at Encinal High School, have tended to a wide variety of pets over the years and have done their homework on caring for many a fine feathered and furry friend.

“We’ve owned and raised dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, ducks, turtles, frogs and fish, said Schorle, who has lived on the Island for about 20 years. “After spending so much time doing research on animals, we thought this was an idea to pursue, so we sat down 18 months ago and did a business plan.”

They opened Alameda See Spot Run a few months ago at 2510 Santa Clara Avenue off Park Street.

The pet store sells dog and cat foods that don’t contain corn, wheat or soy, she says, as part of its inventory of about 1,500 items. The shop is open from Tuesday through Sunday and delivers. It includes a section of supplies for backyard chicken-raising. Puppy training classes are offered in the store on Sunday mornings.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Schorle tended to two rescued baby birds with food and a heat lamp. She says she learned about animal care from her father Jon Schorle, who lives in Sacramento but works in the store several days a week. “We had our own version of a zoo in our house when I was growing up,” the business owner said.

Alameda residents Alex Forbes and Julie Dana stopped in recently to get food and other supplies for their pet rabbit. “We’re excited that the store has so much for us,” said Forbes. “Some things are really hard to find.”

The Schorles say foot traffic has been good. “People are so energetic in coming in and supporting us,” said Cynthia. “It’s great to be well received.”


The Weekend Party Is On … Webster

What: Webster Street Jam
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sept. 10-11
Where: Webster Street between Central and Lincoln Avenues
Cost: Free

This year marks the 10th year in a row that the West Alameda Business Association has staged the Webster Street Jam, and live music will be performed during the event on two stages.

More than 20 groups are slated to take the stage, with a performance by the rock band The Who Too set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. “This year, 80 percent of our bands, or 16 of the performing groups, are from Alameda,” said Judi Friedman, director of operations for WABA.

“There will be a real variety of music,” Friedman explained. “We’ll have everything from rock to funk, from soul to Cowboy Jared playing for the kids. There’s also a ZZ Top cover band, Tres Hombres, along with groups playing oldies, hip hop, blue grass, jazz – a little bit of everything!”(Cowboy Jared performs at 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 10, while Tres Hombres performs at 3:15 that same day.)

The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour will have a bus with a trained staff at the Jam. Adults can have their cholesterol, blood pressure, bone density, glucose and body mass checked for no charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are celebrating the 10th Webster Street Jam by providing very important service,” said Friedman. “And, as always, we’ll have a good mix of activities, food, drinks, and plenty of local restaurants will be open during and after the Jam, too.”

Nearly 25 food vendors will be offering a selection of international food, she adds. Those attending the Jam can enjoy everything from paella to lumpias, Tongan barbeque and Hawaiian shaved ice.

R&B Cellars and Rock Wall Wine Company will be serving their wines, while the Fireside Lounge will feature several beers made by local micro-breweries. Alameda Coffee, made with St. George Spirits’ malt liquor, will be sold in the morning both Sept. 10 and 11.

The children’s section, which will be located at the intersection of Webster and Taylor Avenue, is being sponsored by the Bladium. Kids can enjoy seeing the Nose Cone from the USS Hornet, along with fire trucks and other vehicles.

“It will be a great kids’ area,” said Friedman. “There will be slides, a jumping area, arts and crafts and a petting section with animals, which is a first for us.”

Vendors and artists will showcase hand-made and other original goods, such as jewelry and clothing. And Bike Alameda will offer free valet bike parking at the U.S. Bank parking lot, at 1414 Webster St. Plus, local non-profits will share information at booths during the event, organizers say.

“The event really has a community-focused, family feel to it,” Friedman shared, even with a total crowd of 20,000-30,000 expected over the weekend. “In addition to the many offerings of food, wine, beer, music, art, gifts, and a kids’ area, WABA has a special attraction for the community,” she added, which is a special health-testing and wellness service.

Restaurants that have opened their doors recently on Webster Street include the Fireside Lounge and the 1400 Bar & Grill in the Croll Building.


Tuesday-Night Dinners for Community

Aeolian Yacht Club and High Street Station Cafe will be serving special Tuesday-night dinners over the new few weeks to benefit a local wheel-chair program, organizers say.

The venue for the community dinners is the Aeolian at 980 Fernside Blvd. (If possible, call 510-995-8049 for reservations.)

On September 6, the main course will be chicken picatta medallions ($12), along with a salad, creme brulee and other items.

The following week, on September 13, the main course will be Kahlua-braised pork tenderloins encrusted in pistachio.

The Tuesday-night dinners continue until the end of the month (at a cost of $10-$15).