Looks like clear sailing for San Jose’s Viva Calle this weekend

Planning out an event like Viva CalleSJ isn’t easy. You have the usual challenge of closing miles of streets to vehicles, getting the word out to businesses and residents along the route, and organizing entertainment. And, then, of course, there are always those little details you might miss or can’t plan for.

But everything’s looking good so far for this Sunday’s edition, “Willow to Roses,” which invites walkers, cyclists and skaters to take over the streets and explore a route that connects San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden, Willow Glen and San Jose State University. After months of unusually strong rain and windstorms, the forecast calls for sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s.

There will be “activity hubs” at each endpoint, featuring DJs, live bands, folklorico dancers, food trucks, bike repair clinics and even the San Jose State Marching Band. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you can get more information at www.vivacallesj.org or on its Instagram page.

VivaCalleSJ’s “Willow to Roses” route will close streets to vehicle traffic April 23 from the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden to downtown Willow Glen to the south and San Jose State University to the east. (Courtesy photo) 

San Jose joined the “open streets” movement with the first Viva CalleSJ in fall 2016, but this weekend will be only the fourth to take place in the spring — and each of the three previous have had their own quiddities. In May 2019, an unexpected rainstorm soaked the streets but didn’t stop crowds from coming out, though many took shelter in neighborhood businesses during the heaviest rain. The Viva Calle planned for May 2020 ended up as a virtual event because of COVID-19. And the one held last May 1 had some May Day marchers irked that the route included Santa Clara Street, watering down their visual impact as they paraded on the street surrounded by bikes and strollers.

In planning Sunday’s event, Ed Solis — recreation superintendent for San Jose’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services department and the city’s Viva Calle czar — managed to dodge another conflict. The popular Nikkei Matsuri festival is also taking place Sunday in Japantown, starting at 10 a.m. While the historic neighborhood and business district has been a popular spot for an activity hub, the festival — which draws thousands of people — meant it couldn’t be part of the route. And that was further complicated because the Japantown 5K fun run/walk precedes the festival Sunday morning, so some coordination was required to make sure drivers weren’t detoured by the run onto downtown streets that also were being closed for Viva Calle.

COSPLAYERS IN SAN JOSE: If cosplay is the thing you most enjoy about conventions like SiliCon or Fanime, you might want to check out Costume-Con 39 at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose this weekend. The annual gathering aimed at costume makers and wearers — both original designs and others drawn from history or pop culture sources — will include a trio of special guests and competitions during the April 21-24 run.

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