Virtual WineFest: Tasting Fundraiser by the Los Gatos Rotary!

Los Gatos Rotary Virtual WineFest & Auction 2021The annual CrabFest is postponed until next year, but the Rotary Club of Los Gatos has some new plans for 2021. Save the date for Saturday, January 30th at 5pm!

“Don’t be crabby come ‘wine’ with us.”

That’s the slogan for this year’s fundraiser, also called the Virtual Crab WineFest & Auction! This year’s main event centers around a local wine tasting guided via Zoom by professional winemaker and Los Gatan, Left Bend Wine‘s Gary Robinson. A Wine Tasting Kit for two is provided via curbside pickup 1-2 days prior to the event, which will contain 5 tastings, 1 full size bottle, and gourmet snacks. Live streamed entertainment, including a performance by the San Jose Youth Symphony, 2 door prizes, and a silent auction are served beside this deluxe wine tasting experience. And as always, proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations.

Virtual WineFest & Auction

Registration is now open through the Los Gatos Rotary website. Check the Virtual WineFest & Auction event page for ticket sales, event details and updates, to view the silent auction catalogue, contact the event team, or donate directly to the fundraiser. Each ticket is for a two-person tasting experience at a cost of $150.

The event is also posted on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce event calendar with easy links to save the date on your virtual calendar and view a video promotion for the event.

Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

21st Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP holiday event page 2020
22nd Annual Fantasy of Lights logo, from the SCCP event page.

The 22nd annual Fantasy of Lights show at Vasona Lake County Park begins soon! Occasionally people call me to ask about it – please note that I do not run the event – I am only posting information about it. Full info can be found on the county’s park website, linked below.

22nd annual Fantasy of Lights

When: The Fantasy of Lights runs from Friday, December 4th to Saturday, December 30th, 2020 from 6 – 9pm. This year there will be no Fantasy of Lights Walk-Thru, an opening tradition, only the drive-through spectacular. As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day.

Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue) Los Gatos, CA

How much: Tickets must be purchased in advance available online through EventBrite. Cost is $20 – per vehicle. One household per vehicle! As of this writing, November 30th, all dates and times for the 2020 Fantasy of Lights are already sold out!

More details:

Please visit the Santa Clara County Parks page for the Fantasy of Lights to get more information and updates on this event.

This year the pandemic is bringing changes on this holiday tradition. However, the socially-distant nature of this event has made it especially popular in 2020! As mentioned above, there will be no walk-through event, no bus admission, limit to one household per vehicle, and nights will run an hour shorter than last year to comply with the mandatory curfew. Visitors health and safety is given top priority for this event!

The annual Holiday Train ride with the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad does not appear on the BJWRR calendar, and it is unclear whether it will be open for operation during the Fantasy of Lights Season. (In summer I learned the railroad was closed under the directive for Amusement Parks, however their social media pages show that they planned to be open the weekend of November 21-22, so they may be operating under different sector currently.) Check their social media or contact BJWRR for information on operations.

More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event – I’m a Realtor in Los Gatos, I’m not in charge of this venue! Please contact the SCC Parks Dept and check out their website for the Fantasy of Lights! The Vasona phone number is (408) 355-2201.

Please visit Live in Los Gatos for year round events, neighborhood information, photos around the town, interesting real estate market data, haunted places and the occasional historical tidbit.

 

Los Gatos is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays, but it’s also a great place to live year round! If you are interested in buying a home in Los Gatos (or selling one), please contact me, Mary Pope-Handy. I’m both a Realtor in town and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy & sell homes here and throughout the west valley.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, here are a few things to know!
Buy a home in Los Gatos (info on neighborhoods, school districts, homes for sale to browse online, links to important local sites & info)
Relocating and buying a house in Los Gatos
Los Gatos real estate on Facebook
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

What’s New? Changes and Re-Openings in Los Gatos

Open Sign NeonSpring has stretched into summer and while closure protocols remain in place, the Town of Los Gatos has been progressively re-opening.

Safe Summer Reading

Socially distant opportunities are ever-expanding. The Town Library is working hard to circulate your summer-reads safely. Residents can now check-out material online with safe patio pick-up for books, CDs, and DVDs. Virtual services include online classes and remote storytimes in addition to the virtual library services already in place.

Summer concerts have gone virtual, too, at least for Jazz on the Plazz.

Back in Business

Unfortunately, increasing virus spread has led to a rollback on opening many indoor services. Outdoors, however, there’s plenty to do!

Back in May the Town Council began work and the April-approved reallocation of $1.9M in surplus to bolster local COVID-19 economic recovery. Some of this has been used to help create the outdoor expansions into temporary parklets.

If you haven’t been downtown recently, it’s all hustle and bustle with the new setup. Patio dining is now available at many of your favorite restaurants. Personal services including hair salons, cosmetologists, nail salons, and barbershops are now also open for business – outdoors and by reservation only. The weekly farmers market is still open for business every Sunday.

While indoor malls remain closed you can still enter shops in outdoor malls or at standalone stores, so window-shoppers, follow the posted rules and enjoy stalking the shelves!

Re-Opening the Outdoors

Los Gatos Collage Re-OpeningTrails and parks remain open with social distancing requirements. Boating on Vasona Lake is open with plenty of safety protocols in place. County parks have yet to reopen playgrounds, water fountains, and group picnic sites, according to their website, so keep that in mind when you plan a Vasona visit. Town parks have reopened some sports equipment (such as tennis courts), and playgrounds, picnic tables, and BBQ areas are all open for use. The Town of Los Gatos is accepting picnic site reservations online again.

To keep track of what’s open and what’s changing in the Town of Los Gatos, check the Town Department Updates page, the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Open Businesses page, or contact individual businesses for details.

Remember that the best practice is still to remain home as much as possible. When not possible, follow all safety protocols, wear a mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands often.

We Got This LG!

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce is working hard to keep local industry strong!

We Got This LG!You may have seen signs in lawns or someone wearing a shirt which reads “We got this LG!” in bold letters. This is a campaign run by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, which is working non-stop to support the many local businesses that are affected by the pandemic.

The upbeat message of this campaign is to stay positive and to strengthen community spirit! If you love strolling through downtown Los Gatos, or you’re missing your favorite shop, you can still support many of these businesses from a safe social distance so that when you’re able to come back, they’ll be there, too. But it’s not just lawn signs and t-shirts. We Got This LG! is introducing events like the Shop Local Raffle and a Mother’s Day Virtual Gift Shoppe to incentive’s shopping and introduce locals to more Los Gatos businesses.

Of course, to join the campaign you’ll want to know what’s open. The Chamber is keeping track of that, too, and has provided information on which shops, restaurants, and even services that are providing socially distant experiences.

The restaurant list is your one-stop-shop, which offers hours of operation, delivery vs curbside pickup information, links, and phone numbers. (Their list is much more extensive than my Takeout Food for Shelter in Place from March!) Check out the merchants page for information on pickup or mail delivery on practically everything: wine, clothes, toys, fresh flowers, gallery artworks, and craft supplies! Under “Other Services” are a collection of service-providing local businesses that are providing remote or curbside options, such as online fitness classes, curbside or delivery repairs, and tele-consultations. On the essential services page you can find out what’s open for your essential needs in Los Gatos.

Beyond the campaign, the Los Gatos Chamber continues to be an essential resource to businesses as well as for customers and clients. Take a look at their calendar and you can see there are Digital Marketing Webinars, virtual mixers, and classes to help members manage the changing market. The Chamber is also supporting FeedtheNeed (aka #FEEDtheNEEDBAYAREA) to help bring free hot meals where they are needed most: seniors, displaced employees, and medical workers. You can find out where meals have already been distributed in Los Gatos and donate to the cause though the link.

Most importantly, remember this won’t last forever and…

We Got This LG!

Visit the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market!

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is a community treasure and gathering point for the townsfolk. Every Sunday, Los Gatans gather downtown at the Town Plaza Park area for a little shopping, casual munching and entertainment. The outdoors market iss full of organic produce, plants and cut flowers, ready made food, include delicious crepes, and often music or other entertainment. While many Santa Clara County Farmers’ Markets are seasonal or subject to weather conditions, this one is open year round, every Sunday, from 8am to 1pm (though some booths begin to break down around 12:30 or so).

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is located in Downtown Los Gatos at the Town Park Plaza on Main Street & N. Santa Cruz Avenue (Montabello Way & Broadway).  Pets are not allowed in the market, which wraps around the park on the paved roadway, but may be in the park itself.

Over the years, I’ve taken a number of photos of this local gathering spot.  Some are current images and others are 5-10 years old.

The Cornucopia Fruit Stand

Perched at a slight angle on Winchester Boulevard, the Cornucopia Fruit Stand is a celebrated remnant of the town’s agricultural heritage that you can still enjoy. Established in 1976, Cornucopia continues selling seasonal produce almost year-round. Spring and summer mean fresh fruit and veggies, and for the holidays it’s a great spot for top-grade Christmas trees.

This weekend my family and I stopped by the Cornucopia Fruit Stand in Los Gatos to stock up on some Halloween pumpkins. If you’re still looking for a squash for your porch, Cornucopia has a plethora – from Sugar Pie Pumpkins for carving to the fancy Cinderella pumpkins! And what would a pumpkin patch be without some festivity? Los Gatos’ Original Great Pumpkin Patch (as they proudly call it) is decorated with painted pumpkins (also for sale), instagrammable photo spots, friendly scare crows, and classic Halloween stand-in cutouts for the kids.

 

14288 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

Hours: 10AM – 6PM
Phone: (408) 374-6453
2019-10-27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 5 decorated pumpkins
You can also visit Cornucopia Fruit Stand on their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
2019-10-27 Cornucopia Fruit Stand Los Gatos 6 Betty Boop pumpkin

Los Gatos: a town that loves dogs

Pizza My Heart dog tie ups in Los GatosThe irony is not lost on the locals that our town is named for cats (Los Gatos is Spanish for The Cats) and yet the townsfolk and the area’s businesses seem to cater to dogs and their human friends and family.  Much  of Silicon Valley is dog-friendly, but Los Gatos seems to be especially supportive to dogs.

If you are new to Los Gatos, and you have a canine companion in your home, you may be delighted to learn that there are many places where Fido will be welcome (even if left outside).

  • A stroll down North Santa Cruz Avenue or nearby streets reveals that this is a dog-friendly community. You can’t miss the number of dog water bowls available!
  • A few places, like Wells Fargo Bank and Pizza My Heart, have leash holders.
  • Los Gatos even shares a dog park with our neighbor to the north, the City of Campbell. (Here’s a list of a number of local dog parks, not just the Los Gatos & Campbell one.)
  • Patio dining is easy to find in Los Gatos. I believe that most or all of the restaurants, cafes, wine bars,  etc. permit dogs in the outdoor areas. I’m a little surprised that the chain restaurant, Lazy Dog, has not found a way to open a restaurant in Los Gatos. As far as I know, the nearest one is in Cupertino.
  • Periodically, there are doggie events, such as the Paws & Pedals fundraiser (or in the past, the Howling Halloween dog costume party – which sadly has been discontinued).

Due to health code reasons, the Los Gatos Sunday Farmer’s Market is not one of the happenings which can welcome pets. Luckily, if you bring along a friend, it is easy enough to spend time with your pooch at the adjacent Town Park Plaza and to have someone else visit the food stalls and make your purchases for you. The same is true for grocery stores or inside eating establishments. While service dogs or other animals are welcome, pets are not, again due to health codes.