Monday, July 12, 2010

More Free Stuff at The Fountains

Whoo-hoo! Fourth of July fireworks and concerts in the park. Yup – it’s summer all right! I love the laid-back atmosphere of summer concerts. A warm breeze, a cold beer, and groovy tunes. Ahhhh… Many SAC folks know about Cesar Chavez Park and the Friday Night Concerts (for a list of concerts at CCP click here), but there are a number of other free concert series that run all summer long throughout the valley. One i attended recently was at The Fountains in Roseville.

The Fountains shopping and dining center are still relatively new yet i have avoided it like the plague because – well – there are a lot of exclusive shops there. By exclusive i mean shops i can’t afford. But the lure of free music brought me around and i found my feet wandering into the center late one Saturday evening.

And i’m sorry now that i let my prejudice keep me away; i was snooty about being snooty. Prejudice = missing out on cool stuff. Even if you don’t shop or take advantage of the restaurants, it’s a beautiful place to just wander around. The landscaping – yeah i’m a geek and notice things like that – is beautiful and well-maintained. There is even a large fire pit – which i am certainly going to dig come Autumn. And two things that i’m always looking for in a center and usually don’t find – trash cans and lots of whimsical seating areas.
OK – snicker if you want – but i was happy to not have to wander all over for a trash can to toss my empty water bottle. And the hits don’t stop coming – The Fountains also have a train car ride for the kids. It’s rather cute. My friends tried to talk me into riding it, but i opted out. Hard to believe, i know. But there were other things that had caught my attention…

Yes, the crowning glory of the center – the fountains. Splashing, sparkling, bubbling, lusciously wet fountains. While there are several water features on the property, the central fountain is the most interesting and fun. So maybe it doesn’t rank up there with the Bellagio in Vegas, but it certainly has its own charm.

My first impression made me think of a fountain floating in the clouds. Along with the multiple water jets, colored lights, and music, the fountain boasts a huge set of very fine misters along the inner lip of the pool. It’s a beautiful and welcoming sight – people are drawn into the cooling mists like magic. Advertisers all across the world wish they could get that kind of publicity – the ability to draw in every person without garish signs, promotions, or the Internet. About the only thing that would get more attention are the words “free” followed by the words “chocolate” or “sex.”

But for me, all the above is bonus material; the real reason i came was for the music. On July 3rd i caught the show for Sacramento Blues Revue and was lucky enough to get a front seat. What a blast! A fine line-up of talent – from vocalists to the horn section and lead by Rick von Geldern – energized the crowd. People clapped, whooped, and sang along. It was a fantastic way to start the Fourth weekend.

The following week another blues band hit the stage – Pinkie and Blind Resistance. The name alone piqued my curiosity so i met some friends early and we got a front row seat. We weren’t disappointed. This band plays some wicked blues. I loved their raw and soulful sound. And the harmonica player – wow! Trust me, you’d just have to see and hear this guy to believe it. Words won’t suffice. Pinkie Rideau, their illustrious leader, was as down-home and genuine as they come – and you got it – she loves pink. The band wowed the crowd; people were dancing in the aisles and rocking in their chairs.

Now i’ve only had the good fortune to see these two bands – but if this is any example of what’s in store for the rest of the summer then i’m going to be one happy chica until the tunes stop flowing. Oh happy summer!

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