PG’s Good Old Days celebrates 50 years of fun.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Believe it or not, Pacific Grove can get loose. It just takes a nine-block-long, 240-vendor, music-soaked festival like Good Old Days to do it.
Moe Ammar, president of the PG Chamber of Commerce and event organizer for the last 15 years, can offer plenty of evidence.
Take police officers breaking the law to incite a crowd, for instance. “Five years ago, without our knowledge, four members of Los Angeles motorcycle [skills] team decided to stand on their bikes with their bikes moving. You just don’t see that.”
Or the impromptu risqué performance starring the former mayor, Sandra Koffman. “During the fireman muster, they would suddenly spray the mayor and the City Council with their hoses,” Ammar recalls. “She was really a cute mayor in her wet T-shirt.”
Of course, a flood of good wholesome family-oriented fun still dominates the annual rain-or-shine spectacular. Great local bands play nonstop for nine hours on six different stages. The mass of vendors descending from 12 states make for the biggest turnout for any festival in the county. Rides, rock-climbing and games convert the PG Post Office into a full-blown carnival.
And for its 50th edition, PG has planned its most dynamic festival yet. Here, some other highlights to look for:
THE MONTEREY COUNTY BANK STAGE | Lighthouse and 16th, all day Sat-Sun
One live band constitutes a party. Forty-some musical acts makes for an embarrassment of Good Old fun. Music starts around 11am (and as early as 10:30am) both days at stages scattered throughout the downtown area, but the most impressive lineup lands at this stage, where Saturday summons the Chicano All Stars (12:20-1:50pm) and John “Broadway” Tucker (4:15-5:30pm), among others, and Sunday showcases Red Beans and Rice (12:15-1:45pm), Trusting Lucy (2:15-3:15pm) and Cachagua Playboys (4:45-5pm).
HANDS ON EARTH DAY DEMONSTRATION | Jewell Park, all day Sat-Sun
Compost exhibits. Solar info. Container garden demos. Electric bicycles. Water cistern displays. Free AMBAG energy audits. Environmental art. And that’s not even the half of it—16 exhibits fill up the park across from the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum. Not bad for a first-time event.
CALIFORNIA POLICE ATHLETIC MOTORCYCLE COMPETITION AND SUMMER GAMES | Pine Avenue between Fountain and Carmel, 11:45am-2:30pm Sat
The first time the Good Old Organizers sanctioned this wildly popular affair, the participants assured them there would be no crashes. To the delighted surprise of the audience—“The crowd gets really excited when a police officer goes down,” says Ammar—that’s exactly what transpired. Don’t expect an encore, just a classy-and-brassy test of their ability to synchro-ride.
SHALL WE DANCE STUDIO SHOWCASE | Shall We Dance Studio, 17th and Lighthouse, noon-5pm Sat-Sun
A Salsa Dance Contest (1pm Sat) and a Swing Dance Contest (4pm Sun) anchor a full boat of boogie at the ocean-gazing dancefloor at SWD. A celebrity panel of judges, scoring for originality, timing, footwork and adherence to dance patterns decide who gets the shiny perpetual trophy.
FIREMEN’S MUSTER COMPETITION | Front of the PG Post Office, 1:30pm Sun
Here’s a real smokin’ rivalry: Fire Department vs. Fire Department. Today all the local departments lug boa-constrictor hoses and hustle through “bucket brigade” relays. Everybody that attends digs this annual crowd favorite. Not everybody stays dry.
GOOD OLD DAYS complete schedules can be found at pacificgrove.org or in this issue’s special pullout.