Widespread Bay Area sideshows as Oakland considers new ordinance

In what has seemingly become a weekend tradition, sideshows hit three major cities in the Bay Area this past weekend.

Police in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose all reported sideshow activity.

San Jose police made three arrests at one of the sideshows and issued 21 citations to spectators.

Cities around the Bay Area have been looking at what San Jose is doing to curb sideshow activity by citing onlookers.

On Thursday, new ordinance will be introduced in Oakland that targets organizers and direct participants of sideshows, but it will not include spectators.

At least three sideshows took place in San Jose Sunday night. Police said they flooded one area in a coordinated response with help from the police department's air unit that relayed information.

Nearby resident Jay Cee described what he heard and saw after he and his wife woken up by the loud noise.

"A bunch of tire smoke and just sound woke up, heard a bunch of sirens too," he said.

In Oakland, spectators at a sideshow near 6th and Market streets, were seen lighting a fire under Interstate 880. The ring of fire burned as people seemed to jump through it, and cars spun out in circles.

Across the Bay, in San Francisco, dozens of people lined the street for an illegal sideshow in the Mission District that shut down the intersection at 16th and Dolores streets.


Oakland sideshow video: Semi-truck spins as crowd cheers, climbs trailer

Police in Oakland are investigating multiple sideshows that happened on Friday night--one involving a semi-truck.

In San Jose on Sunday, one of the sideshows took place at Almaden and Curtner. Another sideshow happened at Lundy and Concourse, to the west of Highway 680, a sideshow. A third sideshow occurred near Alum Rock and White.

Last year, the Oakland City Council looked at copying San Jose’s ordinance. But later this week, Oakland Councilman Noel Gallo will introduce a sideshow ordinance that does not include penalties for spectators.

"Well my city council members felt that we are going to be in violation or make mistakes by targeting people who just happened to be walking by the sideshow. We didn’t want to make a mistake," said Gallo.

After the proposed ordinance is introduced, Gallo hopes to get it to Oakland's public safety committee by May 9. He is aiming for a full council vote shortly thereafter.

San Jose first adopted its ordinance targeting sideshow onlookers in 2019, in which people can face a $1,000 fine.