SF ​Marathon, Drag Racing And Garlic Festival At Top Of Weekend Events

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Photo credit Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

If it didn’t already seem like summer is whizzing past in a blur, this ought to do it: It’s already time for these familiar Bay Area summer events: the San Francisco Marathon, Oakland’s Art and Soul Festival, and the roaring NHRA dragsters in Sonoma. Accompanying them on this weekend’s calendar will be the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the 'Up Your Alley' Street Fair in San Francisco's SOMA, and a music festival in Redwood City's Courthouse Square.

On the transit front, the VTA is running bus to replace light-rail service that some travelers will want to take into account,


Fri, Jul 26 (10am-7pm); Sat, Jul 27 (10am-8pm); Sun, Jul 28 (10am-6pm): The Gilroy Garlic Festival takes place at Christmas Hill Park, about a mile-and-a-half west of Hwy -101. Ticket price includes festival admission, shuttle transportation, three stages of musical entertainment, cooking demonstrations, Gourmet Alley, Children’s Area, etc. Parking fee is $15 per vehicle per day, with regular shuttle buses running from the parking lots to the festival grounds.

  • Pro tip: Driving directions are here. Don’t use your GPS app, because many streets around the park will be blocked off. There will be plenty of officers directing traffic and lots of signage, including overhead signage on Hwy-101 once you’re approaching Gilroy. And if you’re a plan-ahead, advance-purchase type of person, the Garlic Train will get you there from CalTrain’s Diridon Station via shuttle bus.
  • Areas and roadways affected: in Gilroy: Hwy-101, Monterey Road, 10th Street, other streets leading to/from Christmas Hill Park.

Fri, Jul 26 starting at 9pm continuing all day Sat and Sun, Jul 27-28:  Due to ongoing light rail rehabilitation work, VTA will operate bus bridges on the Blue Line (901) and Green Line (902) as follows:

  • Blue Line passengers will use a shuttle bus between the Civic Center and Children's Discovery Museum stops
  • Green Line passengers will be diverted onto buses for service between Civic Center and San Fernando. 
  • Pro tip: Take VTA at their word when they say light rail travelers this weekend should allow for additional travel time. 


Sat, Jul 27 and Sun, Jul 28 from noon-6pm: Art and Soul Festival takes place in Downtown Oakland, featuring live music and dance on four stages, including headliners Estelle on Saturday and Fantastic Negrito on Sunday; blues and gospel showcases; family fun zone; artisan marketplace; and a wide array of food and beverages.

  • Pro tip: Take BART to 12th Street/Oakland City Center and as you exit the station, you’ll be right at one of the festival’s entrance gates, at 14th Street and Broadway. If you still want to drive, $5 parking is available for 1,000 cars at the City Center West Garage, 12th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
  • Areas and roadways affected: With the festival bounded by 11th Street, 16th Street, Broadway, and Martin Luther King Jr Way, there will be congestion throughout Downtown Oakland.


Sat, Jul 2 from noon-8pm: Redwood City’s Courthouse Square hosts the PAL Music Festival. Along with live music, there’s food, art and craft vendors, and a kids’ zone. Festival is admission-free and helps support PAL’s educational and recreational summer programs for children. 

  • Pro tip: From CalTrain’s Redwood City station, it’s a quick 2-to-3-minute walk to Courthouse Square. Several SamTrans bus lines also serve the Square, and as for driving, if you’re so inclined, Redwood City doesn’t lack for downtown parking garages


Sun, Jul 28 from 5:30am thru early afternoon: The annual San Francisco Marathon will begin from the Embarcadero and Mission Street at 5:30am, with staggered starts until 6:30am. The race route loops through Fisherman's Wharf, the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, Haight and Mission District, Mission Bay and back to the Embarcadero.

  • Pro tip: If the course description makes it sound like the race will be disruptive to traffic patterns throughout the whole northern and middle tiers of the city, that would be a resounding “Yes.” Anyone traveling in San Francisco on Sunday morning should go here and review the enlargeable course map and list of suggested detours. You may also want to go to MUNI’s Weekend Traffic and Transit Advisory and scroll down to see their writeup of the event’s impact.
  • Areas and roadways affected: Among many areas affected by the race will be the Golden Gate Bridge. The roadway will remain open, but from 5am to 10am, the east and west sidewalks will be closed to accommodate marathoners. A free shuttle bus will transport bicycles and pedestrians across the span; details here.

Sun, Jul 28 from 11am-6pm: San Francisco: In the South of Market area, the Up Your Alley Street Fair takes place on Dore Street (“Dore Alley”) between Howard and Folsom Streets, continuing on Folsom from 9th Street to Juniper Street, and on the adjoining block of 10th Street. This is an adult event whose organizers expects to host nearly 15,000 fans of leather, rubber, whips, BDSM gear, punk and biker personae, etc..

  • Pro tip: The “footprint” of this event is tiny compared to that of the San Francisco Marathon, but still, there will be some South of Market street closures all day.
  • Areas and roadways affected: Street closures in place from 5:30am to 9pm will include: Dore Street from Howard to Sheridan Streets; Folsom Street from 9th to 11th Streets; and 10th Street from Howard to Harrison Streets.


Fri, Jul 26 thru Sun, Jul 28: Sonoma Raceway hosts the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Yes, it’s the second-weekend-in-a-row of drag racing at the raceway, this one part of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
  • Pro tip: Since public transit options to the raceway are limited, the best tips are simply to get an early start on the roadway, listen to KCBS Radio’s traffic reports, consult your realtime traffic-conditions app, and think about how expensive it would be if your car had to have nitro fuel and parachute-assisted braking.
  • Areas and roadways affected: Highways 37 and 121; possibly lower Lakeville Highway.