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Your weekend: Webster Street Jam

Submitted by on 1, September 9, 2010 – 4:50 amNo Comment

Contributed photo.

The ninth annual Webster Street Jam is being held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12, on Webster Street between Central and Lincoln avenues. This year’s version of the street party will include food, wine, music, art and more.

Kathy Moehring of the West Alameda Business Association, which sponsors the fair, promises a host of artisans selling their wares plus an international array of food from local restaurants plus local beer and wine, and local music. And if you’re cycling to the event, BikeAlameda will offer free, valet bike parking.

At this year’s event, the folks from St. George Spirits will offer an “Alameda Coffee” (St. George’s whiskey and Peet’s coffee with a dollop of whipped cream), and the Michael Jackson tribute band Foreverland will perform at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The association is also using the event as an opportunity to showcase new businesses coming to Webster Street. The Frog & Fiddle, a new restaurant that will offer pub food, cocktails and live music, is holding its grand opening at Acquacotta’s old address at 1544 Webster Street during the weekend of the Jam, and other businesses, including Café Jolie in the old Tillie’s spot on Webster and Santa Clara and Sweetie Café, which will offer desserts, are coming soon. The city is also in the midst of a visioning process intended to further improve Webster.

And businesses on the Street are planning events in conjunction with the celebration: Alameda Sports Cards and Comics, which is at 1515 Webster Street, is welcoming Derek McCulloch, Greg Espinoza and Shepherd Hendrix, who will be signing their book “Pug” from Image Comics from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. They’ll also have Nick Dragotta, who will be signing his Howtoons book and demonstrating a special project from the book from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s a chance for everyone to celebrate the end of summer with friends and neighbors and see what’s new in the Webster Street district,” Moehring said. It’s going to be a blast!”

In honor of the Jam (more info by clicking the link above), we asked Moehring and other West End aficionados for some fun facts about the West End. Here’s what we got:

1. Corn Nuts were invented in the West End, and the popsicle was first sold here. Frank Epperson accidentally created the former treat in San Francisco on a chilly night in 1905 at age 11, when he left his drink outside, and he began selling them in 1923 from his lemonade stand in Neptune Beach (his kids called them ‘pop’s sickle’). Corn Nuts were created by Albert Holloway in 1936. Originally called Brown Jug Toasted Corn, they were first sold to bar owners as a snack to accompany beer.

2. Skippy Peanut Butter, the Jam’s original namesake, was produced at the corner of Webster and Atlantic from 1932 to 1974 (and there’s a plaque in front of the Walgreens that stands there now to prove it).

3. The New Zealander, which will be serving its famous pub pies at the Jam, is the only restaurant in California that serves the cuisine of chef Clive Hitchens’ native country.

4. Opened in 1928, the Posey Tube is the second-oldest underwater auto tunnel in the United States (only New York’s Holland Tunnel is older). It was built to replace the Webster Street Bridge, which was sold to Sacramento County for a fraction of what it cost to build after a ship damaged it, rendering it unusable.

5. Alameda was the western terminus for the Transcontinental Railroad, with trains ending up at Alameda Point Pier beginning on September 6, 1869. The pier later became part of the Alameda Naval Air Station (and there’s a plaque commemorating the railroad, too).

Feel free to add your own fun facts in the comments section below. (And feel free to stop by and enjoy the Jam this weekend, too.)

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