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The East Bay’s largest annual festival, the Solano Stroll in Albany and Berkeley, has been canceled due to concerns over the novel coronavirus health emergency, organizers announced.
The event, normally held the second Sunday in September, is an East Bay tradition started in 1974 that annually attracts an estimated 250,000 to the Solano Avenue business district in the two cities.
The Solano Avenue Association, the business group that organizes the event, said the cancellation was a joint decision by both cities in consultation with the Alameda County Health Department.
“We take this step for the safety of everyone who enjoys and participates in the stroll: our festival guests, the performers, and off-Solano vendors, the on-Solano Avenue businesses, their staff, the staff of the cities of Albany and Berkeley, the staff of the police and fire departments that are crucial to the event; and many, many more people involved in the production of the Solano Avenue Stroll,” the association said in its announcement.
“The worldwide pandemic has proven to be a perfect storm of calamity that makes it impossible to safely hold large events while devastating the businesses our event is designed to help,” the association said. “We recognize the loss of human life that has resulted from this pandemic and are trying to do everything we can to avoid contributing to the spread of this infectious disease. We are hopeful for a 2021 Solano Avenue Stroll.”
The Solano Stroll joins numerous other Bay Area events that have been canceled or postponed this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
Across the Bay, organizers of the Downtown Summer San Rafael farmers market also announced a suspension of their event on Fourth Street “due to the lingering effects of COVID-19,” the city and the Agricultural Institute of Marin announced.
The Agricultural Institute of Marin operates two other year-round farmers markets that remain open. A Thursday market is available from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael, while a Sunday market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3501 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael.
Both markets have adopted social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.