A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Oak Meadow Park

Pumpkin Train at Oak Meadow Park

The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad is getting into the Halloween Spirit!  Costumes are encouraged!  Get all the details at

http://bjwrr.org/pumpkin-train-at-oak-meadow/

Or, find information on the BJWRR calender page.

pumpkin train - Pumpkin Train at Oak Meadow Park

Los Gatos Park Dance

musical notesNeed something to do on Labor Day weekend? The Los Gatos Park Dance is back during the holiday weekend – the 5th annual at Oak Meadow Park. The first year over 2000 people attended and it’s been growing ever since!

Los Gatos Park Dance Details

Cost: FREE – courtesy of the Los Gatos Community Foundation

Date & Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 5:00 – 7:15pm

Location: Lyndon Bandstand, Oak Meadow Park, Los Gatos

Same musical lineup as the last couple of  years: The Johnny Neri Band opens for The Houserockers (a Los Gatos band).

What else: to get a good spot, arrive early! Bring a picnic supper. Beer and wine are allowed with meals (no other alcohol). Bring layers, as it cools down once the sun sets. Prepare to dance on the lawn, so wear comfortable shoes and watch out for gopher holes as you leave – they can be hard to spot in the dark.

Parking at Oak Meadow Park is free to town residents, but if you’re a local, you know that it fills up fast. You can park on nearby public streets if that happens, or try Vasona’s parking, which will cost a little.

 

Learn more about Music in the Park and the Dance through the link: http://lgmip.com/

dance - Los Gatos Park Dance

 

Happening Saturday at Oak Meadow: Flapjacks & Railroad Tracks

BJWRR-Flapjacks-Breakfast_W300H237-cThis Saturday, June 11, 2016,  the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad (which runs from Oak Meadow Park through part of Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos) is hosting a fun, affordable pancake breakfast from 8-10:15am, involving a hearty meal of flapjacks, sausage & a beverage plus the train and carousel will be open early. It’s a great fundraiser to support the small guage railroad, and kick off the summer schedule for both attractions.

For more information and details, please have a look at the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad website, and the event page.

If you’re on Facebook, find and “like” the Facebook page for the BJWRR.

(This article originally published June 7, 2007, and again May 2, 2012 but updated with current dates and info.)

Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks

Kids sailing at VasonaSomething is always happening at the big and beautiful, 150 acre Vasona Lake County Parkand adjacent 12 acre Oak Meadow Park (belonging to the Town). These sister parks are connected and share the Los Gatos Creek, meandering trails, the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad at Oak Meadow. The parks enjoy beautiful scenery, both within the many acres and also looking up at the coastal range that separates this valley from the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a wonderful place for a family or company picnic and is often the site for beginning races, walk-a-thons, and other charitable causes, and it’s also the location for many cultural festivals throughtout the year. Most recently, there was an enormous, two day Iranian/Persian New Year’s Festival called Norouz that drew several thousand people from all over Silicon Valley. The San Jose Mercury News covered it and had a great little video on their website on this event, take a look! As you can see, Vasona and Oak Meadow aren’t just a couple of nice parks, they’re places for the community to gather, enjoy themselves and nature and to do it in a gorgeous spot.

Here are some of the regularly scheduled, annual events at Oak Meadow and Vasona that invite us to enjoy some recreation time there:

 

June & July: Vasona Vibrations (free concerts Saturdays 5-7pm)
July & August: Shakespeare in the Park
August: In the Park After Dark Movie Week
Saturday evening on Labor Day Weekend: Los Gatos Park Dance (begun in 2013)
September: Screen on the Green
October: Halloween Train Rides (Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad)
December: Fantasy of Lights

And because these are parks, there are great learning opportunities and classes available there too. The Parks and Recreation Department offers sailing lessons – as you can see from the pic, my kids enjoyed these a few years ago (and may teach there this summer too). Paddleboats can be rented in summer as well. A hands-on approach to introducing kids to nature is provided by the extremely popular , which recently enjoyed an expansion at Vasona.

Historically, these parks are interesting too and there are some things you might not know about them. Continue reading

The Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival

Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival 2014 Presentations

2014 Los Gatos Shakespeare FestivalThe Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival again comes to town at Oak Meadow Park with three plays, two from The Bard and one more contemporary play, care of the Festival Theatre Ensemble. In 2014, viewers will be treated to productions of Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, and the Pirates of Port Royal (written by by George Farquhar and adapted by Bruce W. De Les Demier, whose name is synonymous with the Festival Theatre Ensemble).

The three week season begins on Friday, July 18th and ends Saturday August 9th. All of the shows in Los Gatos begin at 8pm. For those unfamiliar with the venue, it is out of doors and as the evening progresses it gets chillier – so dress in layers! (You will not be sitting on a lawn, though: there are seats!)

Additionally, the Festival Theatre Ensemble hosts an evening of stage combat as a fundraiser to support the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad. “Fight for the Train” takes place on July 31st. This is really fun for little kids especially. (My daughter was a theatre major in college and it sounded like “stage combat” was her most enjoyable course.)

For kids interested in the stage, there is a camp, too, Camp Shakespeare! Read the details here: Continue reading

The W.E. "Bill" Mason Carousel at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary on July 10, 2010: Join in the Festivities!

July 02, 2010

carousel shadow(1) - The W.E. "Bill" Mason Carousel at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary on July 10, 2010: Join in the Festivities!The W.E. “Bill” Mason Carousel is celebrating its 100th Anniversary on July 10th between 11am and 2pm and you’re invited!  There will be special events happening and rides will be “by donation” only. Also, return again July 26th for Billy Jones Day!

If you’d like a little more history on the Carousel, the town has a great article you can read online here.

For more information call 408 395-7433 and bookmark the site for the carousel and the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad to keep current on all of their events.

Halloween Events In and Near Los Gatos in 2009

October 27, 2009

Happy Halloween!Halloween is fast approaching, but there are still a few more events in and near Los Gatos to get you into the spirit!

At Oak Meadow Park, once again the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce is putting on the Haunted Halloween Forest and Goblyn’s Glen (to benefit the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and more). For tickets and more information, please call 408-395-7433 or visit Website.  Next two events are Friday and Saturday of this week, from 7 – 10pm.

There are many, many more Halloween events the rest of this week posted on Craigslist. If you click on the link below, it will take you to an extensive collection of Halloween events in Siicon Valley.  Scroll down to

October 26 – 31
 

South Bay:

and there you’ll find 22 items listed in San Jose, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and all over the south bay.

Happy Halloween!

 

Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival – Great Productions Again this Year!

July 25, 2009

Los Gatos Shakespeare FestivalTonight my husband, our daughter and I enjoyed a wonderful performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor, one of three shows now running at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos, courtesy of the 8th annual Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival. As with other shows we’ve attended in past years, this one was playing to a full house.

The other offerings this year are A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jungle Book. I haven’t seen them, but it is the same, strong cast (the Festival Theater Ensemble).

What is a little amazing to me is to realize that several of the ensemble members act in all three shows, which are running concurrantly. So for instance, Friday they performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, tonight was The Merry Wives of Windsor, and tomorrow night will be The Jungle Book. Although my own experience performing onstage is very limited, it seems to me that doing three shows at once is a lot like trying to study Italian, Spanish and French in the same semester: it is probably very challenging to do it gracefully, not stumble or get confused.

Photo that doesn't do The Merry Wives of Windsor justice - Los Gatos, CA 7-25-09But to watch them tonight, you’d never know that there was any other show to perform this week. All of the acting was good, with particularly stellar jobs done by Todd Wright (playing Falstaff) and Rachael Bakker (as Mistress Margaret Page). The lighting, sound, costumes, sets and everything that backs up good acting was right on target too.

Congratulations to the cast, crew, directors, producers and gazillion volunteers on another very successful run! Thanks to all of you who make this festival the newer tradition that we appreciate so much.

Some practical stuff for attending the shows:

Shows are at 8pm and last 2 hrs, 40 minutes with intermission. They do take credit cards and checks. If you want to attend all three shows, buy them as a bundle and save some money (see website for details).

Other stuff: Nice looking fleece sweaters and tshirts, as well as caps and other goodies, can be purchased and coffee, tea and cookies are available during the intermission for whatever donation you’d care to make.

Parking at the Oak Meadow lot can be iffy when the summer evenings are pleasant, as they were tonight (apparently it was foggy and cold last night!). Street parking is always a choice but it may take a little time. So to get the best seats (as you can probably tell from the photo, we were in the top row) and better parking, arrive 20 or 30 minutes early (not the 7 or 8 we did.)

And – I cannot stress this enough – dress in layers! The temperature drops considerably once the sun goes down. Bring your jacket, bring a blanket. You’ll be glad you did.

Beautiful B. E. (Bill) Mason Carousel at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos: A Beloved, Haunted Spot

June 23, 2009

W.E. (Bill) Mason Carousel at Oak Meadow Park, Los Gatos (photo by Mary Pope-Handy)The gorgeous W.E. (Bill) Mason Carousel at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos is as historically interesting as it is beautiful. It conceals more than a surprise to two.

Built in 1915 in England, the carousel was made of horses from England and Germany (some horses made by a Frenchman too). It was a long voyage to California – it had to be shipped around the horn (the Panama Canal did not yet exist) and then it debuted at the Panama Pacific Expo in San Francisco (which began in 1915). Following the exposition, it toured around with a circus beginning in the 30s for awhile before finding itself in storage in Redwood City for an untold number of years.

Happily, though, the story doesn’t end there. In 1980 the ride was purchased by the town with $50,000 in collected donations, and then it resettled in this sweet spot among Siicon Valley parks. The wooden horses, all hand painted, were lovingly restored over several years by volunteers. Additionally, upgrades were made to the mechanical side too, bringing it up to date. The ride was name after the late Bill Mason, Sr., of the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad fame, and dedicated in 1990.

The carosoul is a great compliment to the park with its train, airplane, open space and play structures, and it’s a huge hit with kids and parents alike. Is is truly “living history” right in our own backyard.

But wait, there’s more!

The lovely merry-go-round is also haunted.

Los Gatos Ghost Tour - Haunted Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-HandyNot to worry, parents, the ghost is benign – in fact, benevolent. Nothing scary happens here and it appears that the ghost simply loves the attraction. Some employees have experienced minor events such as noises without explanation and safety belts all mysteriously appearing latched when they should have been loose, and of course, that sense that someone’s there or someone’s watching when no one is visible.

I was at the park yesterday with Annette Martin, who asked me to introduce her to some of the haunted places in Los Gatos, and this was our last stop. Later this year she’ll share her experiences of this visit in an article or book. Not to spoil her story, I’ll let her tell “the rest of the story” at that time. (But be assured, she didn’t find anything for children or parents to fear.)

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
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