Pops Is Back

A favorite East Sac summer pastime returns

By Jeff Harris
May 2023

Pops in the Park music performances are a beloved tradition in East Sacramento—an entertainment mainstay for 31 years.

June is the traditional month for Pops. We had a two-year pause during the pandemic, but picked up the pieces last year with two great shows. People were delighted to have Pops back.

As most readers know, my City Council office ran the program for the last eight years. Due to the redistricting process, I lost my council seat in 2021. We won’t have an elected city representative in East Sac until the end of 2024.

Pops could have gone by the wayside. But I wasn’t willing to let that happen.

While in office, I raised thousands of dollars to support Pops. Working with Gifts to Share, the city’s nonprofit, and Friends of East Sacramento, a local nonprofit dedicated to community improvement, I crafted a plan to move forward with a full concert series this year. This is a labor of love.

Shows run every Saturday evening in June at four different parks. Here’s the lineup:

June 3
East Portal Park
This band of young musicians plays funk-inspired originals with a jazz influence. They were a big hit at Pops a few years ago and I’m excited to have them back. The guitarist grew up attending Pops shows as a toddler. That’s how traditions pay off.

June 10
Rod Stinson Band
Bertha Henschel Park
I recently caught them at SacYard Community Tap House. They play a great mix of originals and hits with a laid-back style and hints of reggae. Danceable and enjoyable.

June 17
Joy & Madness
McKinley Park
This band drew 5,000 to East Portal, our biggest concert ever. Sheer energy and great showmen. Count on a dance party.

June 24
Hipper Than Hip
Glenn Hall Park
This 12-piece ensemble gives Tower of Power a run for its money. Our old friend and singer Ed Nelson from The Count joins this serious array of horns.

Pops are free to the public. The goal is to uplift our community and support local small businesses. Pops is nonprofit and powered by a small staff and many volunteers. You know the format: a few food vendors, beer and wine garden, family picnics and room to dance.

Pops couldn’t happen without several key players. My team is comprised of Janet Mason, who handles fundraising and graphics; Lisa Schmidt (greatest volunteer of all time), our fiscal agent who minds the books; and website manager Serena Marzion from the East Sac Chamber of Commerce.

We couldn’t pull this off without access to city staff and park and police resources. For that I thank the office and staff of Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Get your picnic gear, lawn chairs and dancing shoes ready and enjoy this great East Sac tradition in June. Celebrate life with the pandemic in the rearview mirror!

For information visit eastsacpopsinthepark.org.

Jeff Harris represented District 3 on the City Council from 2014 to 2022. He can be reached at cadence@mycci.net.

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