Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights (Light Festival)

2022 Fantasy of Lights in Los GatosThe 24th 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.

24th annual Fantasy of Lights:

Get your tickets now, they sell out fast! Entry with prepaid tickets only!

What: The Fantasy of Lights

When:

Walk-thru Weekend Dec 3 & 4, 2022 from 4 to 9 pm

Drive-thru Nights Dec 6 – 30, 2022 with 30 minute slots from 6pm to 9:30pm

Open rain or shine. As always, the Fantasy of Lights is closed on Christmas Day (Dec 25).

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.

Walk through cost is $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 4 – 12, and free for 3 and under (tickets still required for free entry!)

Drive through cost is $20 per regular vehicle (up to 12 passenger capacity), $50 per oversized vehicle (13+ passenger capacity).

More details:

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

Please check the county’s page for this event.

More questions? PLEASE do NOT call me about this event. 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 (contact information in the sidebar). I’m both a Realtor based in the Town of Los Gatos and a resident myself, working full time in helping nice folks to buy and sell homes here and throughout the west valley and greater Silicon Valley communities.

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
Monthly Los Gatos real estate market update
Los Gatos real estate market statistics & trends for houses
Los Gatos realty trends and stats for condos & townhouses

 

 

 

Where to buy the Los Gatos cat statues?

Where can you purchase the ubiquitous Los Gatos cat statues for your own home or yard?

At times, these can be hard to find, but recently we spotted them in two places and wanted to share that info with our readers.

 

Los Gatos Cat Statues from Summerwinds Nursery and Pottery Planet

You’ll notice that they are not exactly alike, but similar. Oddly enough, both are on the same street, though in adjoining towns.

Where to shop for the Los Gatos cat statues:

The image on the left is from the SummerWinds Nursery in Campbell.

The photo on the right was taken at Pottery Planet.

I phoned the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce to see if they are still selling them, as they once did, but was told no. However, the nice woman I spoke with let me know that they can also be found at Natural Creations.

Happy shopping!

SummerWinds Nursery,  2460 S Winchester Blvd, Campbell, CA 95008. https://www.summerwindsnursery.com/

Pottery Planet, 15796 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95030. https://www.potteryplanetlosgatos.com/

Natural Creations, 108 N Santa Cruz Ave A, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (flower shop, no website)

 

How quiet is that neighborhood?

HowLoud.com - image of a noise heat map for Los GatosRecently one of our clients shared with Clair and me a website for assessing how loud or quiet a location is. It was news to me that such a site existed, and I wanted to share it with our readers. We have grades or scores for schools, for crime, for quality of life – so why not a score for how quiet or loud a neighborhood or location is, too?

The website is  How Loud, and you can find it at HowLoud.com.

How Loud works something like a “heat map” but here the hot areas are the noisiest ones. The darker the blue (or perhaps black?), the quieter it is said to be.

Scores for quiet or calm versus noise

The lowest score possible appears to be 50, but I don’t see anything with that grade.

When I checked the noise level at the airport, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, at 1701 Airport Blvd, San Jose, CA 95110, it was a 65. Jim and I chuckled a little bit about that and wondered why it didn’t rank the lowest possible number?  The lowest scores I found were near the airport and both were at 63.

This works well to identify general areas and how quiet or noisy there are. When you zoom in to the micro level, such as a house directly on a busy road versus one next door or two doors down, I’m not sure it’s quiet as accurate. I checked a few pockets where I know homes on slightly busier roads versus more internal ones in the same neighborhood and the scores were the same. That isn’t accurate. It will be louder if your home is directly adjacent to the street with more traffic.

You’ll need a precise address to use How Loud

You must put in an exact address to find out the noise level score; it will not accept intersections,  you cannot click on a spot on the map and get the grade. That’s the main flaw with the website.

On the plus side,  you do not need to sign in to use it.

Virtual WineFest: Tasting Fundraiser by the Los Gatos Rotary!

Los Gatos Rotary Club Virtual WineFest & Auction 2022While the annual CrabFest is postponed another year, the Rotary Club of Los Gatos is continuing a new tradition with their 2nd annual Virtual WineFest & Auction! Save the date for Saturday, January 29th at 5pm!

This year’s event centers around gourmet bites and Argentinian wines (or try the non-alcoholic selection) guided by sommelier Joe Chiodo. Tickets include a Wine Tasting Kit for 2 with curbside pick-up from Rootstock Wine Bar prior to the event. Evening entertainment includes a live performance by Lavender Fields.

And as always, the main event is the charity auction! Proceeds benefit the Rotary Charities foundations, and this year the “Raise the Paddle” auction item benefits Los Gatos House of Hope, West Valley Community Services, and Peninsula Food Runners to help fight hunger and food insecurity locally.

Virtual WineFest & Auction

For ticket sales, event details and updates, contact the event team, or donate directly check the Los Gatos Rotary website and Virtual WineFest & Auction event page. Each ticket is for a 2-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.

The Cornucopia Fruit Stand

Edit (10/15/2021): Sadly, Cornucopia looks like it is permanently closed. What may have been Los Gatos’ last permanent farm stand closed it’s doors this winter after tree sales and the property sold in February. On Facebook the family has bid farewell with a “Thank You” with many more from patrons and business associates in reply. The large property so close to El Camino and Netflix will likely be intended for development. We will miss you, Cornucopia Fruit Stand!

Original Article (10/27/2019):

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.

Read more

Ming Quong: a Los Gatos Monument

Ming Quong Arch appx c.1940
Children playing beneath the arch at the entrance to the Loma Alta Home around 1940.

At the end of Loma Alta Ave in the foothills sits the Los Gatos campus of Uplift Family Services, formerly Eastfield Ming Quong (EMQ) Family First. Tucked away among quiet residential streets, this unassuming establishment often goes unnoticed by locals, but it has deep roots in this Town and across the Bay Area, and especially within the Chinese community.

Origins: “Radiant Light”

Discriminatory laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) took their toll on US Chinatowns. Organized crime took hold in US Chinatowns and with it, human trafficking. Tong kidnaped Chinese women, smuggling them through the Golden Gate and into prostitution and slavery. In the late 19th century, Presbyterian missionaries in San Francisco began an effort to help the victims, women and children, escape to safety.

This undertaking expanded, providing safe houses and orphanages: Chung Mei (“China America”) Home for boys and Ming Quong (“radiant light”) Homes for girls.

Read more

The Promenade: Strolling Downtown Los Gatos with Live Music this Summer! 7/1 – 8/12, 2021

Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce: The Promenade Thursdays poster
Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce poster for the Promenade!

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce invites the community to celebrate summer together with free live music all summer!

Thursday Promenades in Downtown Los Gatos

There’s a party in downtown every Thursday Promenade beginning this week! Every Thursday evening, 3pm to 8pm from July 1st to August 12th, the stretch of North Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Los Gatos between Main St and Bachman (that’s from Dolce Spazio to Andalé for the foodies) will transform into “the promenade.” The street will be open to foot traffic, and two stages will bookend the promenade with live musical entertainment!

Bands will begin performances at 4:30pm on the North Stage (Bachman), and at 5:30pm on the South Stage (Main), with entertainment from a different group each week. See the lineup (and any changes) on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce calendar, the Thursday Promenades page linked above, or Camber of Commerce social media pages.

Drivers, plan to reroute around this stretch of N. Santa Cruz Ave on Thursday nights. While there is usually plenty of parking along the old rail line behind the shops, it tends to fill up with festival traffic, so schedule in some extra time for parking. If you’re coming for the event, consider traveling by bike, or using a ridesharing service if you plan on patronizing any of the bars or brewery!

As someone who regularly attends free summer concerts in Los Gatos, which were mostly canceled earlier this year (and the Fiesta de Arts / Wine Walk postponed until September), the Promenade is music to my ears!

So invite your friends to eat, drink, play, and stroll the night away!

Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce: Thursday Promenades Live Music Schedule 2021
Musical lineup, taken from the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Click to see the original post.