Port of Redwood City undergoes a creative reinvention

The Port of Redwood City has been reinventing itself over the course of the pandemic, trying to give the community a gathering spot.

By day, it's still mostly focused on maritime industrial business. But on nights and weekends, you'll find music, shows, and even the circus.

The port used to be quiet.

"A lot of the residents in the community didn't even know it existed," says Kristine Zortman, Executive Director of the Port of Redwood City.

Now, that's changing.

They started with drive-in movies. Then graduated to the Zoppe Family Circus.

"The circus brought horses to the port. And when you think about it, we haven't had horses at the port since the Gold Rush," says Zortman.

Next up, Dragon Production's Variety Show, running weekends through June.

With their Redwood City theater still closed due to COVID, they say outdoor set ups are a great option.

They'll have everything from taiko drums, to magic, to comedy.

"It's a little bit like old school Johnny Carson. It's going to be a really good show," says Max Koknar, of Dragon Productions Theater Co.

The next addition to the port happened almost by accident.

Commercial fisherman Giuseppe Pennisi called them out of the blue.

He had lost his spot in San Francisco due to COVID and needed a new place to dock.

He found Redwood City by looking on Google Earth.

"And I said how would you guys like us to maybe come down and sell fish in your harbor? and it was so funny because all of a sudden it like exploded in the background. 'Oh we'd love to have you guys,'" says Pennisi, who runs Pioneer Seafoods.

The port let them have a fish and chip trailer too. And live music. And a gazebo.

"It's like a big seafood party. Maybe it's more than that," he says.

The port believes it is more than that. It's about making this place a destination.

"It's bringing a bunch of different and new uses to our port to be able to deliver more back to the community and the residents," says Zortman.

And there are plans for even bigger development, things like restaurants and ferry service at the Port.

Tickets are currently available for Dragon's Drive in Variety Show which runs through June.