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Art, music, and a boat parade on Oakland's spruced-up waterfront.

Oakland's changing waterfront livens up the first weekend in September. Besides an outdoor arts and music festival, a parade of boats celebrates the arrival of a historic presidential yacht.

Even if you can't make it to the September 3 and 4 festival, the waterfront in and around Jack London Square, at the foot of Broadway, is worth a visit to view recent improvements. All are part of a $125-million project that has already produced general sprucing up, a plaza, new pathways, and a big parking garage. Soon another garage and a pedestrian overpass to Broadway will make parking and access to the square easier. A 32-shop pavilion is nearing completion, and a hundred more retail outlets are being built. A path links the square to nearby Jack London Village, which has 20 shops, 3 restaurants, and parking.

Two days of art and ships

Arts Explosion takes place on Labor Day weekend, from noon to 9 Sunday and

noon to 6 Monday. Events begin Sunday when you can sail on a World War 11 Liberty Ship, the Jeremiah O'Brien, as she chugs from Oakland into the Bay to meet the presidential yacht Potomac ($20, $7.50 ages under 12); for time and reservations, call (415) 762-2277 or the ship at 441-3101.

From noon to 6 both days, the Liberty Ship opens for tours at Howard Terminal ($2, $1 under age 12). From 10 to noon Sunday, a parade of boats on the estuary welcomes the Potomac.

Afterward, you can view the yacht at Jack London Square; no boarding is allowed, as the ship is being restored. Built in 1934 as a Coast Guard cutter, the 165-foot Potomac became Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential yacht in 1936. Guests included royalty and heads of state. It later was used as a research vessel, police ship, and private passenger ship. The Port of Oakland purchased the Potomac in 1981, and a $2.5-million restoration, funded by a nonprofit association, began.

She should be open to the public some time next year.

On Sunday night, a fund-raising dinner on board the Jeremiah O'Brien benefits the restoration; for tickets ($150), call (415) 839-7533.

On Sunday and Monday from noon to 6 in the just-finished food pavilion on Jack London Square, a free art exhibition displays works by 62 East Bay artists. On the plaza out front, music groups perform, and booths sell drinks.

Just a few blocks south, Estuary Park features music (blues on Sunday, jazz on Monday) and dance performances. Hours are noon to 9 Sunday, noon to 6 Monday. There are also art programs for children, mural painting, demonstrations by some 21 artists, and exotic food booths. Sunday, a fireworks show starts at 8:45. Admission to events in the park is $3, free for ages under 12.

On festival weekend, a water taxi ($2) runs between the park and the square. Or stroll the waterfront path, which now runs all the way from Estuary Park to Clay Street and the attractive Franklin D. Roosevelt Pier. You can park in the new garage at Jack London Square or at Jack London Village.
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Title Annotation:Arts Explosion
Date:Sep 1, 1989
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