BBQ, sushi, puppies – and tennis too – at Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

Going to the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose State this week will give you the chance to barbecue, sip a Silicon Valley-themed cocktail, and play with a bunch of shelter puppies. Oh, and there’s some really good tennis too, thanks to superstars like Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu.

The WTA tournament, which started in 1971 and moved to SJSU in 2018, is ramping up the fan experience this year. There is a spacious outdoor lounge with comfortable seating next to the stadium, surrounded by food and drink booths that also offer a real taste of the South Bay. That’s all thanks to the dinner partners and a program spearheaded by Chef Mario Martinez—who arrived at SJSU about a month ago to acquire Spartan Eats—that fits the international flavor of the Bay Area.

The Smoking Pig BBQ is a local favorite in the mix, and owner Paul Reddick was on Sunday qualifying rounds to discuss the pulled pork, pulled chicken and beef brisket “sammies” and nachos. Unfortunately, the menu lacks the Smoking Pig’s famous “wolf turds” — bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños — which Reddick said were too labor-intensive to produce for the tournament. There’s also sushi from Wild Blue Sushi – American player Shelby Rogers practiced rolling sushi at their booth on Sundays, as well as Mediterranean fare at the Halal Shack, and a refreshing cocktail called the Silicon Valley Collins mixed by the bartenders at the Sipsmith gin stall.

And yes, there will be puppies too. The Humane Society Silicon Valley will be bringing shelter puppies to the tournament on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m., and some of their former dogs will take to the field during the quarterfinal games that evening. It’s the “tail” of a home-and-home series after WTA players visited the Humane Society’s animal shelter in Milpitas on Saturday.

The transformation of the football practice field at CEFCU Stadium into a tennis stadium and the adjacent fan lounge is quite remarkable and highlights the changes around the South Campus area. You can see new golf and softball facilities, as well as the progress made on the new east side of the football stadium and the new parking garage that appeared to be popping up overnight on the corner of 10th and Alma.

You can find information about the schedule and tickets for the tournament at www.mubadalasvc.com.

BALLET IN THE PARK: Dancers from across the state who have been training at San Jose’s New Ballet School since June will give a free summer recital outside on August 5 in St. James Park, near North First and St. John streets. The New Ballet School is the only American Ballet Theater certified school on the West Coast, and its students join New Ballet’s studio dancers for “The San Jose Nutcracker” every December and other shows throughout the year. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the one-hour performance, which starts at 5:00 PM

‘FUN HOME’ SHOWS YOUNG ACTRESS: We saw “Fun Home” at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose last Friday night and the show lived up to the great reviews it has received. And one of the highlights of the musical, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, was Penelope DaSilva’s performance as Small Alison. The young performer is a veteran of Children’s Musical Theater San Jose – she played the title role in ‘Matilda’ a few years ago – and made her debut in City Lights. It’s fitting, then, that CMTSJ is City Lights’ non-profit partner for the show and will receive a share of ticket sales. “Fun Home” runs through August 21; more information at www.cltc.org.

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