Buddhist blessing, art, music & more set for East Richmond Heights Fest

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Festivalgoers at the Easrt Richmond Heights Art & Music Festival in 2019

By Kathy Chouteau

It’s not every day that a summertime event kicks off with a blessing from Tibetan monks, but that’s exactly what will happen Sat., Aug. 6, when the “2022 East Richmond Heights Art & Music Festival” returns.

The festival, celebrating its fourth incarnation and run by residents, runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. between Cypress and Elm Avenues in front of the Gyuto Foundation Buddhist monastery in the East Richmond Heights neighborhood—and will feature artisan and food vendors, musical entertainment and other delights.

The blessing by the Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Gyuto Foundation will take place at 12 p.m. under the “Sweet Performance Tree” at Bernhard and Elm Avenues, according to festival founder Natalie Kniess.

As its name suggests, the tree will also serve as the center of the festival’s live musical performances, including Leonard Sweet and friends performing blues tunes; guitarist and vocalist Peter Josheff; folk duo Mark & Maryann; Jennifer Jupiter; the Fairies; Aaron Ableman; and Dynamite Dave and the Detonators—to name a few musicians.

Along Bernhard Ave., 25 local artisan booths will be set up, among them, Alan Krakauer’s nature photography; Lauri La Pointe’s handmade jewelry; Anne Wolf & Sarah Sirchuck’s succulent fundraiser, Selma’s Pantry selling granola and John Bry of Perfusion Winery with a tasting.

Serving up festival eats Saturday will be the Kona Ice shaved ice food truck, Loaded Chicken food truck and the Brazuca Acai food truck, which offers Brazilian sandwiches, acai bowls, hotdogs and drinks—with additional food trucks a definite possibility, per Kniess.

The Gyuto Foundation’s monks open up their beautiful campus overlooking Wildcat Canyon during the event for festivalgoers to explore and use the restrooms. Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who Kniess said is “a big supporter of the event,” will also be on hand to make a few remarks.

“I think what makes it really unique and special is that we’re at the foot of the amazing Tibetan monastery…Together we create a really beautiful day that is free to the vendors and participants,” said Kniess about the neighborhood festival.

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Artisan Booths at past East Richmond Heights Art & Music Festival
Opening blessing at East Richmond Heights Art & Music Festival by Gyuto Foundation Buddhist monks. Pic courtesy of Alan Krakauer