Festival of the Arts returns to downtown Palo Alto

Police: Expect traffic delays, road closures this weekend

Tens of thousands of art enthusiasts and revelers are expected to turn out for the 35th annual Palo Alto Festival of the Arts this weekend, transforming University Avenue into an open-air gallery.

More than 300 artists and crafters from across the country will show off their work at the annual showcase on Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Palo Alto police are warning of "significant traffic delays," advising commuters to "budget extra time if you need to travel around the area" of University between Webster and High streets.

University will be closed between Webster and High on Saturday and will remain closed until about 11 p.m. on Sunday, according to police.

Streets running north and south between Hamilton and Lytton avenues will also be closed to traffic during the same time period. However, Cowper and Emerson streets will be open during the overnight hours on Saturday to allow north-south traffic to pass, police said.

Some artisans will bring their furniture and home goods to the arts festival, including Sandy Kreyer, a ceramics artist from Long Beach, and Cathi Borthwick, a blacksmith from Arizona.

The arts festival will also feature local food vendors, live music, fine art purveyors, food and wine booths, kids' activities and the poplar Italian Street Painting Expo, a showcase of 60 artists creating chalk art on asphalt canvases on Tasso Street. Funds raised by the expo benefit the Palo Alto's nonprofit Youth Community Service.

The event is sponsored by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recommends that festivalgoers bring tote bags for easy transportation of purchases. Festivalgoers are also encouraged to use public transit or ride a bike. However, free parking is also available within a block or two of the festival site, with parking for disabled patrons in all city lots.

The city will provide free Crosstown Shuttle rides to the event. The Palo Alto Shuttle service will run every half hour from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the festival.

The Palo Alto Weekly is a sponsor of the festival. For more information, go to

Going to the festival? Submit your photos here, or tag us on Twitter and Instagram.

Related content:

• To see a social media collection of photos from last year's festival, go to the Weekly's Storify page.

Photo gallery: 30th annual Palo Alto Festival of the Arts


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9 people like this
Posted by Thankful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2016 at 11:46 am

All of the artists that paint the street on Tasso are volunteers. They spend two days on the ground making masterpieces that will be washed away at the end of the event. All of their efforts are in support of their sponsors and in support of Youth Community Service.

Thank you to the volunteer artists for your time, talent, dedication and support for the Italian Street Painting Expo.

2 people like this
Posted by bil rayburn
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 27, 2016 at 6:25 am

comment on "Thankful's" Post.....

Please help me understand.

What, exactly, does this mean?:

"All of their efforts are in support of their sponsors..."

How does that literally translate into something concrete?

2 people like this
Posted by SHut it down
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 27, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I am shocked, shocked that peoplr are not against this festival. This will bring more that 100k people into town. All that traffic. Now if palantir was sponsoring it......

1 person likes this
Posted by parent
a resident of Monroe Park
on Aug 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Good idea to encourage families to bike to the festival. Will there be a secure bike parking lot like many of these types of events provide?

4 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Who chooses these artists? So many of them think they are artists but they are not, school children have more imagination and skills than some of these artists.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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