With Ken Martin

GREAT CHRISTMAS, QUIET NEW YEAR: I hope everyone had as nice a Christmas as Patty and I did.

Our entire family only gets together for Christmas every other year and this was the year. It is always great for us to have all of our children (four of them) and their families gathered up in one place. Since it doesn’t happen as often as we would like, it is a very special event for us.

A jolly guy in a red suit with a bunch of reindeer dropped off a 2005 Hemi-powered Inferno Red Dodge Magnum station wagon. Patty smiled and said “Merry Christmas”. Great car. Everybody needs 340 horsepower!

New Year’s Eve was quiet. Patty and I went out for a nice dinner and returned home to discover that midnight was ‘way past our bedtime. One thing that I have noticed is that, whether or not we celebrate its arrival, the New Year is always there the next day. It’s been that way for years, ever since I can remember!

GOOD MEAL, GOOD DEAL, GOOD CAUSE: Mark your calendar now for Sunday, February 6. That is the date that the Buon Tempo Club Relay for Life Team is holding another Pasta Feed fundraiser to support their efforts on behalf of the American Cancer Society. Their goal is to raise $5000 for the cancer society and they still need some help.

All this takes place at the Moose Lodge on Rutledge Road. At $5.00 per person, it’s the best meal deal in town. If you want to attend and help this worthy cause or would like more information, call Rich Gorham at (510) 483-3779. I’ll remind you again later on.

A UNIQUE EVENT: January 28 is the date for an event totally unique to Castro Valley. That is the date of our third annual “Light the Lights” concert to benefit our new Performing Arts Center now being built at the high school.

I have been asked why all the fundraising when the construction is being paid for by bonds. The answer is that only the building construction is covered by the bonds. Funds being raised now will go toward all the internal furnishings that will be needed to make this a first-class facility, such as curtains, lights, and hundreds of other items.

To me, this concert is the Castro Valley highlight of the year. The beautiful performances by our combined middle and high school choruses and orchestras can only be seen at this once-a-year concert. In addition, the icing on the cake is the appearance of some prominent local entertainers. This year it is Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, a group that has appeared all over the world, as well as at many Bay Area venues. “Swing” is their style and they are great.

Until recently, I had not heard any of Lavay Smith’s music and was unable to find any of her CD’s at the local music stores. I went into her website hoping to possibly find some sound bytes. Unfortunately there were none but her e-mail address was there. I e-mailed her telling her of my plight. I received a return e-mail from her saying that she would send me a CD. Now that shows some class! Thanks, Lavay!

You won’t want to miss this totally unique event. Tickets are available now at the Castro Valley Adult School office on Alma Avenue. For information, call 537-8117. Get your tickets now!! Don’t miss this outstanding, truly once-in-a-lifetime show!!

Got an interesting event coming up? Got a club happening going on? Contact Side Trips at or 727-9296.