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San Jose groups get creative with offbeat event venues

Last weekend, jazz fans gathered amid vintage fire equipment and vehicles for San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest Kickoff fundraiser at the San Jose Fire Museum downtown. The next night, hundreds of Opera San Jose fans enjoyed a magical evening at a former grain warehouse downtown, and the Humane Society Silicon Valley held its dog-friendly Fur Ball at PayPal Park .

This is a growing trend in Silicon Valley as nonprofits and arts groups incorporate unusual and interesting locations into fundraisers and celebrations.

And while I’ve attended some spectacular and memorable events in hotel ballrooms, it’s refreshing to see these groups expand beyond the usual suspects.

The San Jose Jazz High School U19 All-Stars band performs during San Jose Jazz's Summer Fest Kickoff fundraiser at the San Jose Fire Museum on Friday, May 10, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
The San Jose Jazz High School U19 All-Stars band performs during San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest Kickoff fundraiser at the San Jose Fire Museum on Friday, May 10, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Veggielution’s annual Feast fundraiser was held at both its Emma Prusch Agricultural Park Community Farm and SoFA District Street. The San Jose Museum of Art’s September Gala takes place outside the museum in the Circle of Palms, Cancer CAREpoint moved its annual Garden Party to various beautiful locations throughout the Valley, and when the San Jose earthquakes kicked off their 50th anniversary season, the team did it. in San Pedro Square.

What really struck me about the San Jose Jazz and Opera San Jose events was that many guests said they had never been to the San Jose Fire Museum or the James Grain Warehouse, the space beautifully rustic where Asiel Design hosted the event. night markets last summer.

The rustic decor of the James Grain Warehouse served as a backdrop as guests mingled before dinner at Opera San Jose's Magic Made Real Gala, May 11, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
The rustic decor of the James Grain Warehouse served as a backdrop as guests mingled before dinner at Opera San Jose’s Magic Made Real Gala, May 11, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

We have a plethora of interesting spaces in the Valley, from parks and arenas to museums and even sprawling private residences. Having these offbeat spots in the mix keeps things interesting, and we’ve got a reputation for loving that around here.

SPARTIAN PRIDE: San Jose State’s commencement ceremonies will take place this week, and along with the 7,600 students who will receive their diplomas, two Spartan alumni will receive honorary doctorates.

Ken Noel — who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology from San Jose State in the 1960s and a doctorate in political science from UC Berkeley in 1980 — will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the College of Science social. Noel co-founded the United Black Students for Action at San Jose State, was a founding member of the Olympic Committee for Human Rights, and also worked with the College Commitment Program, which helped to recruit students who might not otherwise have access to a degree. University education.

And Rod Diridon Sr. will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the College of Business. Diridon – former Santa Clara County supervisor and executive director emeritus of the Mineta Transportation Institute – earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business in the early 1960s. He continues to be a voice on transportation and climate issues in the Bay Area and statewide.

GOOD TIMES IN GILROY: Hard rock supergroup Kings of Chaos, made up of former members of Guns N’ Roses and bands like Cheap Trick and Megadeth, will lead a four-band lineup at Day on the Ridge in Gilroy on May 26. residence on Eagle Ridge, which makes it a cross between a backyard barbecue and Coachella’s VIP stage, and has raised more than $440,000 for St. Joseph’s Family Center, a food pantry in Gilroy.

And if you’re wondering what the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association did without a festival, they’ve planned a sold-out golf tournament and garlic pasta night for this summer. But they’re also bringing back Gourmet Alley for this event, so if you’re craving the stinking rose, you might want to check it out. Tickets are $150 and are available at dayontheridge.com.

FROM TEARS TO ACLUSIONS: You must be prepared to experience a range of emotions and events if you work at the majestic California Theater in downtown San Jose. Last weekend, at least one usher was moved to tears, as were many in the audience, by Symphony San Jose’s powerful “Passionate Puccini” concert, which featured vocal soloists Jenny Schuler, Gary Simpson and Ben Gulley, as well as Symphony San Jose. Choral.

San Francisco 49ers alumni gather on stage at the California Theater in downtown San Jose for the Dwight Clark Legacy Series, a fundraiser for the Golden Heart Fund held on Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
San Francisco 49ers alumni gather on stage at the California Theater in downtown San Jose for the Dwight Clark Legacy Series, a fundraiser for the Golden Heart Fund held on Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Then, last Thursday, there was even more emotion associated with the cheers of 49ers fans during the Dwight Clark Legacy Series. About 20 former 49ers – including Ronnie Lott, Harris Barton, Jesse Sapolu, Keena Turner and Eric Wright – filled the stage to lengthy applause. And that was even before linebacker Dre Greenlaw received the Dwight Clark Award and a quartet of 49ers QBs — Brock Purdy, Steve Young, Alex Smith and Jeff Garcia — sat down for an onstage conversation with Matt Maiocco from NBC Sports.

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