Cheap Thrills Vol. 3: The Connoisseurs' Marketplace

Take a sneak peek at one of Menlo Park's biggest festivals that will take place this weekend.

One of the biggest parties on the Peninsula is coming to Menlo Park this weekend, and it doesn't cost a dime to join in the fun.

The is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Menlo Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on Santa Cruz Avenue from El Camino Real to Johnson Street. Admission is free.

Events such as this one are a great excuse to get together with friends and family, bask in what will hopefully be warm weather, and stroll downtown. This year there will be nearly 250 artists showing off their work, playing free concerts, and cooking delicious food and drink in a family friendly environment. The price of admission is free.

Sure, you could drop a few hundred dollars on art to decorate your home, or jewelry to add some shine to a summer look. And of course we encourage you to support starving artists by purchasing their work.

But you really only need about $20-$40 to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun, while enjoying a beer, or a glass of wine, with gourmet food in hand. 

Want a taste of what will be available?

See if some of the following sounds appealing: spit-roasted gyros, fried calamari with cilantro-lime sauce, barbecued oysters, crab cakes, smoked turkey legs, tri-tip and portobello mushroom sandwiches. That's just a glance at the veritable cornucopia of exquisite food that will be available for consumption.

To wash it down, there will be libations of all kinds, from microbrews to lemonade from Barrett's.

For dessert, there will be fresh parfaits, smoothies and more sweet treats from the Strawberry Company, as well as Rocco's Italian Ices. Other traditional summer fare such as funnel cakes and soft serve ice cream will be available from a variety of other vendors.

If you find the delicious foods inspiring, you can learn how to create your own at home through the chef demonstration series. Chef Gabriel Madrid of Trellis Restaurant will show patrons how to create grilled pork tenderloin with roasted garlic–wild mushroom sauce and polenta cake on Saturday.

On Sunday, Menlo Park's own Kathleen Jensen, who operates the food truck Butterscotch on the Go, will showoff her chocolate pots de crème topped with salted buttercrunch.

Here's the full lineup of chef demonstrations each day the festival runs.


If you don't stuff yourself sick and find yourself bouncing up and down from all the sugar, take that energy and use it to dance and groove.

Saturday, the Brian Ho Trio will perform their jazzy interpolation of funk, blues, Latin and soul songs. Following will be the David Martin's House Party, which will cover a gambit of classic tunes across genres from reggae to disco and everything in between.

On Sunday, to close out the festival, Classic rock band OTR will cover a list of classics from bands such as the Beatles, Santana, Chicago and many others.

To see the complete lineup of musical acts for the entire festival, click here.

Or for the crowd wanting a lil less rocking a rollin, check out the hot wheels at the car showcase, which will show off sweet, suped-up rides such as a Ferrari Daytona Spyder, or the classic 1957 Citroen Delivery Van, among others.

Fun for the kids:

And for those with children and who may think this event is not for them, fear not! The Kids' Tons of Fun Zone will be held at the corner of University Drive and Santa Cruz Avenue both days, and will offer carnival rides, face painting, a climbing wall and an interactive hula hoop demonstration.

"This is, hands down, the biggest event of the year in Menlo Park," said spokesman Tim Beeman. "It's a major community get together that brings people in from all over the Bay Area."

To find out more information about the festival, check out its Web site.

Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) July 15, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Heads up: The public works department will close Santa Cruz Avenue at 4 p.m., so cars can't drive through. It will remain closed through Sunday night.
Mark Weiss July 17, 2011 at 05:33 AM
We dug Sutherland glass, Liz Lyons Friedman prints, Ling Jones jewelry and "California Girls" cover by the David Martin Band (that's a Katy Perry song not Brian Wilson, of course).
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) July 19, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Lol Katy Perry is my not-so-secret, guilty pleasure. I hear Brian Wilson is coming to Saratoga next month.


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