PITTSBURG -- On East Sixth Street, a Jimi Hendrix look-alike was bringing the iconic guitarist back to life with a spot on, high-decibel rendition of "All Along the Watchtower." Across the street was a food vendor selling alligator on a stick. A few blocks south, the Pittsburg High marching show band was preparing to march up Railroad Avenue.
The 29th annual Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival had something for everyone and all the senses Saturday. There were more than 100 craft vendors and more than 40 food tents. There was live music on three stages, a kids play area and a relentless sun.
Just a hot lick away from the Hendrix impersonator, Donna Morey's petting zoo was doing a brisk business.
"This is a very nice event. That's why I came back here," said Morey, who owns My Pony Party and Petting Zoo with her husband. They live in the Yosemite area, and take their animals to 15 events per year.
"I like the food here," said Morey, whose petting zoo menagerie included baby goats, a pig, miniature ponies, a miniature bull and an alpaca. "The people are awesome. We started here last year. People are coming back and finding us."
Monica Couture, special events coordinator for the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, said that in much the same way festival attendees keep coming back to their favorite vendors, those vendors keep coming back to the Seafood and Music Festival.
"We're just a little bit limited on Railroad Avenue," she said. "We might think about using some of the side streets to grow it a little bit further. But certainly we had vendors knocking down our doors trying to get into the festival. I think it's become almost as big as the Gilroy Garlic Festival."
As far as Nikki and Mike Karimzad were concerned, they had the best seat in the house for a time Saturday morning -- in the shade and just across the street from the Hendrix act. The Brentwood residents said they had attended the festival once before, when it was held in a field. They said they liked the downtown location better.
"We like the music, the venue," Nikki Karimzad said. "There's an Hispanic group over there. You go down there (toward East Eighth) and it's garlic heaven. I keep looking for Dungeness crab in a shell," she said, laughing.
Couture said she hears the same kind of feedback from attendees.
"They like the variety of food that we have," she said. "Also we have some great vendors with some really unique items. I know there have been relationships with some of the vendors. We have one in Oregon that people call for to make sure they're coming back."
Couture said the festival's community feel comes in part from the hundreds of volunteers who help make it happen.
"We have an amazing community," she said, "and the volunteers that we have are exceptional. They know this festival, they've been doing it for years. We could not have done this without them."
If you missed it Saturday, or want to experience it again, the festival will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. today on Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg's Old Town, between East Third and East Eighth streets.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/garyscribe.
What: Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival
When: Sunday, Sept. 8
Time: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Old Town Pittsburg on Railroad Avenue between East Third and East Eighth streets
Cost: $10 for adults
Attractions: Food and craft vendors; live music; kids play area and petting zoo