Palo Alto's social calendar packed in September | September 7, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 7, 2012

Palo Alto's social calendar packed in September

Dozens of community events are underway

Palo Alto residents looking for something to do in September will not find the search difficult. The month is packed with community events, from charity bike rides to forums with candidates seeking election in November.

Next weekend kicks off with the first in a series of League of Women Voters of Palo Alto events aimed at educating the public on candidates and ballot measures in the Nov. 6 election. Information is available at

On Saturday, Sept. 15, the six Palo Alto City Council candidates vying for four open seats will discuss their backgrounds, qualifications and views on city issues from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Road. The event is free and open to the public.

The candidates for council and Board of Education will also be on hand at the Midtown neighborhood's Ice Cream & Issues social on Sunday, Sept. 16, at Hoover Park (see Around the Block column on page 7 for details).

For those looking for a less heady way to spend the day, Sunday's Gran Fondo and Echelon Challenge will combine bicycling and food at an Italian-inspired bike ride and festival in downtown Palo Alto.

Italian professional cyclist Michele Scarponi will headline this year's Gran Fondo (Italian for "big ride"), which features courses of 30 miles, 75 miles and 95 miles.

The two longer courses take riders over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean before looping back to Palo Alto. Elevation changes of thousands of feet will challenge riders.

Participants not looking to spend hours on a bike seat can take part in the Echelon Challenge, a 0.6-mile loop around downtown Palo Alto for walkers, joggers and cruiser bikes.

Hunter Ziesing, executive director of Echelon, the San Francisco-based nonprofit hosting the event, estimates that up to 1,200 people will participate this year.

More than 40 charities are expected to benefit from fundraising by Gran Fondo and Echelon Challenge participants. Information on the event can be found at

Later in the week, candidates vying for seats beyond Palo Alto — specifically the state Senate and Assembly — will speak to why voters should elect them. The League of Women Voters forum will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park.

The following weekend will play host to planes, balloons and dogs, among other activities.

At Palo Alto Airport Day on Saturday, Sept. 22, kids ages 8 to 17 years old can fly for free in a small aircraft, taking off from the airport at the eastern end of Embarcadero Road. Tours of the Federal Aviation Administration Control Tower will show how air-traffic controllers work to keep the skies safe and orderly. The aviation open house, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will also feature various aircraft and exhibits.

Information is available at

That evening, Light the Night, a benefit walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, will take place in and around Palo Alto High School. Organizers expect up to 750 people for the event, a fundraiser for research and support.

One of the signatures of the walk are lit helium balloons, carried by walkers to symbolize their connection to leukemia or lymphoma: white for patients and survivors, red for supporters and gold for those walking in someone's memory.

"The combination of balloons being lit and the reasons for carrying them — it's a very meaningful evening," said Jeff Scanlan, one of the event organizers. "There's a story surrounding each balloon. People are able to connect with people they've never met before. There's always a story."

Though last year's walk raised $80,000, the goal this year is $130,000, Scanlan said. Palo Alto's is one of 200 walks taking place around the nation.

Given the city's proximity to Stanford University, where the work of about a dozen blood researchers is partially funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Scanlan said he is optimistic that support for the nonprofit could grow.

The event will start at 5 p.m. with food and activities. The two-mile walk to downtown Palo Alto and back will begin at 7 p.m. There's no registration fee to participate, but those who raise $100 receive a wristband for food and a T-shirt.

Information is available at

Additional events taking place on Saturday, Sept. 22, include Quakeville (see story on page 7), the annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, the Vital Aging Conference sponsored by Peninsula Volunteers' Little House in Menlo Park, and Responsible Dog Owner's Day at the Palo Alto Animal Shelter on East Bayshore Road.

The following week will see events including the Palo Alto International Film Festival, the Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and the Palo Alto Black and White Ball.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia Sanders
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

On September 15 there will be a gala celebration for the 80th birthday of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre. Tickets are available through

Like this comment
Posted by
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm

The Palo Alto Children's theatre Gala will be a great event. You should not miss it. Enjoy the great wine and support this great 80 years old organization.

Like this comment
Posted by Annette Puskarich
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

September 14th Event
The Climate Reality Project presents Climate Crisis and Solutions
How will climate change affect food, water and energy supply? How will it impact your family's health? What must be done to create a resilient local economy and community? Time for solutions.
Friday, Sept. 14, 7:30-9 p.m. Elizabeth Seton School Auditorium, 1095 Channing Ave., Palo Alto

Dr. Latshaw, retired physicist, received his PhD in physics from Stanford University. In this Climate Reality Project presentation, he will explain the science behind the crisis, describe potential local and national impacts, and offer solutions which must be implemented soon for the benefit of future generations. Come learn what you can do and how to take action.

There will be an opportunity to meet with organizations with ideas and projects to mitigate global warming. Light refreshments. Ample parking.

Sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto

Acterra; Bay Area for Clean Environment (BACE); Catholic Diocese of San Jose; Catholic Community at Stanford; Chamber of Commerce-Palo Alto; Citizen’s Climate Lobby; Collective Roots-East Palo Alto; Community Environmental Action Partnership - Palo Alto; Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (Palo Alto); St. Thomas Aquinas Parish-Palo Alto; Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter; Transition Palo Alto

Like this comment
Posted by Annette Puskarich
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Another event...
Film Series, starting Sept 14

This Friday September 14th, 2012 Films of Vision and Hope is back with a great new series called Digging for Solutions. This series has a special focus on soil and how essential it is for life and health. Below you can find the listing of films in the series--we hope to see you there.
Films of Vision and Hope
Digging for Solutions

World Centric 2121 Staunton Ct., Palo Alto
Meet and greet (and Oct. 5 potluck) 7 P.M.
Films and discussion 7:30 - 9:30 P.M.

Friday September 14 -Transition 2.0
A story of resilience and hope in extraordinary times. You'll be inspired and moved by these stories of people around the world who are responding to uncertain times with creativity, solutions and engaged optimism, inspired by Transition principles of building local resilience to address the great challenges of our day.

Friday, September 21 - Dirt!, the Movie
This fascinating film tells the story of tells the story of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet.

Friday, September 28 - First Millimeter: Healing the Earth
Learn about the possibilities of about Holistic Management, a system of land management that can improve our farming and ranching processes, reduce carbon emissions, and heal the earth. The first millimeter of the earth is the top soil that is often lost to erosion, and which livestock, properly grazed, can help restore to health.
Special guest: Sallie Calhoun from Paicines Ranch, chair of Holistic Management International
(Web Link).

Friday October 5 - 100 Mile Potluck Plus Sonatas of the Soil - starts 7pm
Bring a dish to share, with local ingredients, if possible!

Films of Vision and Hope promotes positive solutions to environmental and social problems affecting our world. Provocative films, great discussion, and opportunities to connect with others who want to make a difference.

Sponsored by Transition Silicon Valley, Transition Palo Alto, and World Centric

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

That photo illustration (#2) for Airport Day looks pretty interesting.