By: Hayden Navarro
Looking for unique gifts, carnival games, rides, live music, and a whole bunch of fun? You should have visited Howard Avenue in Burlingame at the end of October! Burlingame Avenue has its annual Burlingame on the Avenue festival in August, Millbrae has their Art and Wine Festival in September, and there is a new one: Fall Fest. October 28th and 29th of 2017 marked its first year. I went to go see how it was.
After a half hour of combat with other cars for premium parking, I followed the sound of banjos to the entertainment. It was noon when I arrived, the sun warming up the October air. White tarp cabanas formed a line down the middle of the street, from El Camino to California Drive. The smell of fresh tater tots wafted through the air, accompanied by the sound of funk music and children laughing. To the north, children shrieked happily while scaling a rock wall and jumping through a colorful bouncy house maze. A small, bright train weaved in and out of carnival games, towing toddlers around while parents snapped pictures. Towards the end of the street a petting zoo displayed ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and a llama, all of which could be touched when they stopped running away from grabby children’s fingers.
At the southern end, five food trucks cooked away for the hungry peasants gathering to feast. There was something for every palate, from shaved ice to Mexican food. Several picnic tables with patterned tablecloths were arranged in rows next to the trucks across from the stage. The bands switched throughout the day, ranging from funk to folk to country. However, the sound system was a little out of wack. The vocals were too quiet, the drums too loud, and the guitars just right. The bands tried their hardest to sing through the problems, but the funk always ended up sounding a little funky.
But what about all the tents? As I stalked down the sidelines, I was astounded to find… lipstick. At least half of the booths were all based around selling lipstick, much to my frustration. The other booths were comprised of hair stylists, women’s clothing, yoga studios, meditation, leather belts, jewelry, home improvement, and of course, alcohol for the adults — Not quite marketed towards a high school student. After about an hour, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Although this may have been the first successfully-run festival on Howard Avenue, last year was a dark and stormy time for business. Fall Fest’s original debut was supposed to be last year, but unfortunately circumstances postponed the fun. A major rainstorm decided to hit Burlingame, and all of the tents and rides were soaked. The storm continued for almost a week, leading the organizers of the festival to shelve the event. But with nice weather this year, everything went according to plan.
If you are an adult looking for beers and music, or a hyper child who wants to run until nap time, Fall Fest was definitely the place to be. Lipstick lovers and yoga pros would have been in paradise. But for the bored high school student, it might have been better to find another source of entertainment. While I do not believe I will attend next year, I would highly recommend the Fall Festival to anyone who is over 35 or under 10 and looking for a good time.