What is 3rdThursday Cal Ave?

3rdThursday Cal Ave is a free, monthly, year-round music festival. With 3-6 bands performing simultaneously from 6-9pm, the festival atmosphere brings the community together in a joyous way on Palo Alto’s car-free California Avenue in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

3rdThursday started in May of 2023 with a team of grassroots community volunteers and the contributions of two very talented Palo Alto students; Austen Cho (Gunn High School grad ’23) who designed our fabulous logo, and JLS middle school student Elizabeth Soedarmono who manages the website. 

Our Team

Carol Garsten

Carol has been a community organizer/connector, jewelry designer, gallery owner, photographer, and filmmaker. She has served as chair of the BOD of Peninsula Health Care Connection. Carol is the co-chair of Downtown Los Altos First Friday and the Event Producer of 3rd Thursday Cal Ave. Carol balances out her high-energy personality with gardening, qigong, traveling, cooking, hiking, and brushing her feline-best-friend Petra.

Bridget Algee-Hewitt

Dr. Bridget Algee-Hewitt is a computational biologist, forensic anthropologist, and data scientist. She has worked in social justice and human rights for over 20 years. She is an artist at Gallery House, a senior director at Stanford University, and CEO and senior business strategist at her consulting firm, Pythia.

Jamie Lucia

Dr. Jamie Lucia is CEO of Dogma, a chiropractic fitness studio located in Los Altos and Carmel. She is very active in her communities and is the co-chair of Los Alto First Friday. She enjoys the vibe and excitement of live music and loves spreading that joy.

Charlie Weidanz

Charlie is the CEO of The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce. He is dedicated to promoting and maintaining the continuing economic vitality of the community by creating and supporting a positive environment for business and encouraging cooperation among Palo Alto businesses, The City of Palo Alto, and the residents.

Steven Brown

Steven is the Founder of Chrysalis Arts Ministries and is a local photographer. He also serves on the leadership team for Los Altos First Friday. He loves working on events and activities that build healthier, more vibrant communities. He has many years of experience in the performing arts, marketing, and events fields, including time working on the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival and their 4th Of July and Christmas Carnivals.

Barbara Dunn

Barbara Dunn is a local Cal Ave enthusiast and is elated to join the 3rdThursday team! She retired after a long career at Stanford Univ as a Senior Research Scientist, where she focused on deciphering the genomes of the yeasts that make beer/wine. She is now a visiting scientist at the Univ of Washington. She enjoys biking & birding in the Baylands, traveling the world, and spending lots of time with friends and family. Plus listening and dancing to live music!

Legacy Supporters

Thank you to the following people who helped form our event into what it is today:

Camille Townsend, Tom DeBois, Scott Wills, Shannon McElyea, Sally Bemus

What People Are Saying

Thank you for organizing this event, it’s not an easy with logistics and budget. Bringing and building a community is an amazing works— thank you
We absolutely love 3rd Thursdays! The bands and events are phenomenal and the event is full of good vibes.

“Bringing good vibes to Cal Ave builds community and celebrates what local businesses have to offer. By supporting 3rdThursday now, we are investing in the success and longevity of Cal Ave for the future”.

Maico Campilongo, Terun & Italico Restaurant Owner

“Stanford Research Park is pleased to support 3rdThursday on California Avenue throughout 2024. 3rdThursday provides a great opportunity for people to gather, enjoy free entertainment, and support local businesses. We look forward to having the community join us for a variety of fun activities for all ages, including dance, crafts, and photos”.

Jamie Jarvis, Programs Director

I haven’t missed a Third Thursday since the start. It seems like everyone I know in Palo Alto is there enjoying the food and music. It feels like an ongoing celebration of living here. I bring new friends every time, and the bands and groups have been terrific – such a great variety of local talent!
This is what our town really needs to come together, offline and in person.

Cindy N.

Midtown Palo Alto Resident
“The energy and ambiance generated by 3rdThursday’s event has brought so much life to California Avenue. Our business thrives on those nights and our patio as well as the street fill up with families enjoying the local businesses and the positive atmosphere! Thanks to this event, we have gained new customers who have already become repeat dinners at La Bohème! Bravo to the organizing team!”

Marie, Owner of La Bohème Restaurant

“Hello, we attended both Third Thursdays and greatly enjoyed the music and the energy of the street. This last evening, June 15th, was especially wonderful due to the outstanding music of Wobbly World (and the charming music of Fete Musette). Thank you for organizing these wonderful evenings – we are very appreciative.”

Betty S. & Jacob T.

“Congrats on a very successful event yesterday! It was nice to finally meet you in person. The music was all very high quality. Our friends that came with us wanted to have dinner somewhere on the street so we headed down over to where the jazz band was playing and enjoyed the wine bar atmosphere until the event was over.
I could tell it truly revived a lot of the restaurants up and down Cal Ave because I have gone there many times on a Thursday evening where it was just dead”.

Mark H.

Such joy and connection in the town last night at Third Thursday. I absolutely loved strolling down California Ave and stopping at all of the music sites. We had dinner there and also dessert, patronizing our favorite restaurants on this great walkable avenue. Love the people in the street and NO CARS. Families and people of all ages and abilities! Such a diverse crowd, too, it felt like a tribal gathering for May Day. I’m so grateful you’re helping bring live music to Cal Ave. I love it. I’ve lived nearby for almost 40 years.”

Cindy N., Midtown Palo Alto

“The inaugural Third Thursday was a huge success. The music was a great mix of styles and it is clear that people were drawn to Cal Ave for this event. Good job on getting the word out! The restaurants were packed with people having a fun night out and the music really encouraged people to stroll with friends and family. Watching the very young ones dancing to the music was a highlight. It was a wonderful family evening. Congratulations on a terrific new event!”

Jack S.