Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Festival Season In SF

Its my favorite time of year in San Francisco-- festival season. Summer is the time when San Franciscans love to party!

The season kicked off with Bay To Breakers last month. Bay To Breakers started as a normal running race. It was started after the 1906 earthquake as a way to cheer up the city. Well, it has certainly evolved into a cheerful event.

Bay To Breakers still has a running race. Professional runners, followed by amateur runners, start the race.

However, most of the 65,000 people who participated this year were not runners. Rather, Bay To Breakers is now one huge moving party! People wear crazy costumes. They build and push huge rolling floats, bars, and other structures. Some people walk or run naked. Many people push or pull full kegs of beer, or coolers full of bottles.

The party starts at the Bay, on the east side of the city, and winds through the Hayes Street neighborhood, then through Golden Gate Park, to the ocean. Along the way, houses next to the route play loud music and host house parties. Only in San Francisco will 65,000 people walk 7 miles and party at the same time!

Another huge festival is the annual Gay Pride Festival. Of course, its probably the biggest in the world, as San Francisco has long been a center for Gay Rights. There is a huge Gay Pride parade... with tens of thousands of people. The San Francisco mayor, city council members, police, and fire department all join the parade. While gay rights may be controversial in other parts of America, in San Francisco there is no controversy.

This year promises to be especially big, because California just approved Gay marriages-- and the government of San Francisco strongly supports gay marriage. So we expect a lot of tourists this year-- coming to get married. Of course, there will be a lot of crazy costumes and parties-- which is a San Francisco tradition.

A more relaxed Festival is the Haight Street Festival. Haight Street, during the 1960s, was the center for hippies, radicals, and anti-war activities. Its a lot more mainstream now, but still a fun place. The Haight Street festival has live musicians, good food, and plenty of art for sale on the street. Its a fun time to stroll around the Haight area.

Another summer tradition in San Francisco is the Stern Grove Music Festival. The best part about Stern Grove is that its free! Every weekend, different musicians perform at Stern Grove Park. People bring blankets and food and have picnics while they listen to the music. This continues all summer. There are salsa bands, rock bands, classic orchestras, bluegrass bands, etc.... Something for everyone.

And these are just the big festivals. It seems that every weekend there is a street festival or music festival somewhere in the city. Its certainly hard to be bored in San Francisco!

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Sri Agustiani said...

Ha ha ha .. i thought Gary was lying when he said that many gays in SF. In fact, I believe it now :).

AJ Hoge said...


Ha! Gary is right! We do have a lot of gay people in SF. Its a very diverse city.

How are things in Ireland?

Sri Agustiani said...

It's alright AJ! Thanks! Euro champion 2008 is gonna make him stuck on the coach front of TV :).