BRENTWOOD -- As the Starry Nights in Brentwood concert series continues to draw around 2,000 attendees most Friday nights during summer, a City Park Quasquicentennial Celebration is in the works for Aug. 16.

The celebration of City Park's 125th birthday will coincide with Brentwood's popular summer concert series and the city's Playday event. Additionally, the park's rose garden will be dedicated to its founders, James T. and Josephine L. Sanford.

"We are looking forward to a fun evening full of music, games and activities," said Brentwood Parks & Recreation Commissioner Blythe Lind. "It will give us a chance to celebrate our community and City Park, which is truly a special place."

In March 1888, Josephine Sanford honored her late husband's wishes by dedicating the land as a public park in the heart of downtown Brentwood. According to the city's website, the park site was formerly known as Brentwood Grove until 1935 when the a park council was established.

A temporary story walk at the upcoming event will highlight details of the park's history.

"The land, eventually known as City Park, has seen and undergone many changes, but throughout it all, this park has always remained a place for the community to gather in the center of the city," Brentwood Recreation Supervisor Sue Barry said.

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor said it would have been difficult for anyone to predict how important City Park is to the community today, after a major revamp along with the construction of the new City Hall and Community Center.

"It is a family-oriented and great city park," Taylor said. "It is important to recognize the people who made it come true."

Taylor noted that changes to City Park were controversial a few years ago, but he added that the public criticism has "mellowed down." In the meantime, Taylor said that the park has become a source of civic pride with public art, better accommodations for events and a popular water feature for children.

As part of the event, the city also plans to serve refreshments, sing "Happy Birthday," host games for children that are reminiscent of different eras throughout the park's history and educate residents on the time period when the park land was dedicated.

Informational plaques will also be installed to honor the Sanfords within the rose garden and provide information to the public on the park's rich history. According to Taylor, some of the park's original rose bushes in the rose garden also have a long and interesting history.

Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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