It's common for street fairs to follow the same format of food and drink purveyors, arts and crafts vendors, and family-friendly street performers replicated in indistinguishable iterations at festivals across the US. Still, some fairs succeed in standing apart -- and the Laurel Street Fair (MacArthur Blvd. and 35th Ave., Oakland) is a good example. The thirteenth annual fest spans three blocks, featuring everything from a fashion show and flash mob to a classic car show and music performances by The Marcos Silva Quintet and other local acts. It also coincides with the final event in the illustrious Oakland-based soul singer Valerie Troutt's Laurel Pop-Up Series (3832 MacArthur Blvd.), which includes an impromptu choir, dance lessons, and art-making from noon to 5 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 11. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free. LaurelDistrictAssociation.orgfree
Restorative justice programs may offer the best new hope for reducing violence in Oakland schools and the city overall, but their future funding is uncertain.