Who knew that William Taft was our fattest president?
You had to go inside Alabasta, the flower and gift shop, to find out. First Fridays' presidential theme sent people scouring 32 downtown shops, looking for presidents among their wares.
People examined jewelry cases. They hunted book shelves. They examined swim suits and toddlers' clothing, and looked over small treasures on display tables.
Music sweetened the air from nine different musicians or groups, including 8-year-old harpist Katharine Trager and the Mountain View Day Worker Center Latin Band.
Armed with a list of participating stores, hunters had to find a minimum of eight presidents to be entered in a drawing for prizes from local merchants. Those who purchased a minimum of $25 from the participating stores could be entered into a drawing, as well.
The musicians included And Howe Trio, Woody Arnold, Henri Boulanger, The Cover Story Cover Band, Rive Gauche, Jay Mohan, Mountain View Day Worker Center Latin Band, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, and Katharine Trager.
Participating merchants included , , , Apricot Lane, , , Bubble Kids, , , , , , , , , , , Gourmet Works, JB&B Jewelers, , , Malia Mills, , , , , , , Serafino Fine Art, , and .
The First Fridays events are organized to promote downtown vibrancy, bringing a mix of people, music and fun, once a month to the business district. Restaurants stay open dring the event, and shops offer small treats and special promotional sales.
When this reporter commented that she couldn't remember a single thing about President William Howard Taft, Alabasta co-owner David Wales revealed a factoid he'd picked up during an American history course he took at Foothill College many years ago: That our 27th president required an extra-wide bathtub to be installed in the White House. (The instructor had assured his students that some of the information from his course would be great fodder for small talk at a dinner party, Wales said.)