Weekender: The Top Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

Three-Day weekend! Here’s what you’re doing:

East Bay Pride Festival
When Oakland Pride returned in 2010 after a six-year hiatus, the response was overwhelming: Organizers estimate that 30,000 people gathered downtown for last year’s resurrection of the former East Bay Pride Festival, which ran from 1997 to 2003; some media reports put the attendance figure closer to 50,000. The high turnout was indicative of East Bay residents’ demand for a large and cohesive LGBT celebration of their own, and so far, it’s looking like that momentum will carry over to the second Oakland Pride, on Sunday, September 4. Though it’s similar in scope and scale to last year’s event — featuring a similarly varied musical bill, with singer and Dreamgirls star Jennifer Holliday, soul diva Thelma Houston, locals LaToya London and Martin Luther, and a host of other genre-spanning acts — this year, Pride has nearly doubled its vendor list and drawn more than $21,000 in donations and sponsorships. This year’s theme is “We Are Family,” which came about largely because last year’s gathering drew a large number of families with children. (Consequently, a parking lot at 20th and Franklin streets will be designated this year as a supervised children’s area, with face painting, snacks, and other kid-friendly activities.) Centered at 19th and Franklin Streets, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., $5-$10. 510-465-7433 or OaklandPride.org. — Casisie Harwood

International Cannabis and Hemp Expo
Expect tens of thousands of cannabis fans to flood into Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on September 3-4 for the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo 2011, which is expected to include three hundred to four hundred industry vendors; dozens of food trucks; and appearances by guest celebrities, experts, and politicians from the movement. According to IntCHE’s government relations coordinator Salwa Ibrahim, this weekend marks the first time a city has closed streets for such an event: “It’s a big deal for Oakland,” she said. Indeed, the event, which was previously held at the Cow Palace in Daly City, will likely attract massive foot traffic to places like Cafe Van Kleef and Flora, not to mention an estimated 30,000 attendees. The expo will feature an open-air “215” area for medical marijuana patients (though city officials were adamant that no smoking could occur on the plaza grass itself, and the event is alcohol-free). Proceeds go to Americans for Safe Access, California NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project. — David Downs

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