Every year on the first weekend in October the Fleet comes in and San Francisco is filled with sailors. On Saturday and Sunday the city celebrates with a huge air show. SF Bay has to be one of the best venues in the world for the Blue Angels dramatic air show. People line every available edge of bay and watch the pilots do their amazing stunts.
The parade of ships begins about 10 am, depending on visiblity. October can be a foggy time so the times my be delayed. One of my favorite things to do is take my bike up on the GG Bridge and watch the boats go under. It's hard to deny the patriotic feelings that overcome you when you see the crew in dress whites and at attention passing beneath the bridge. Even a submarine had a line of seamen lined along it's surface! Fire boats welcome the ships with sprays of water.
One year I watched the air show from out on the Bay with my friends on their sail boat. The bay was a veritable parking lot! It was a floating party.
2005's event will be on October 8th and 9th. The Blue Angels do make survey flights on the 6th and a practice show on the 7th. These often come as a shock to people working in the downtown offices. More than a few have thought they were being attacked.
Claimed to be the "oldest ongoing blues festival in the world", the annual SF Blues Festival is a lively, rowdy, wild musical event. Located on the sprawling Great Meadow, above Fort Mason Center (across the street from the famous Marina Safeway - reputed to be SF's best pick up place), this is two days of musical orgy.
This years festival is September 24 and 25. The performers have not yet been announced. Tickets go on sale June 1st. One day passes are $25 in advance, $30 at the gate. Two day passes are $45 in advance only. Special reserved lawn seating is available for a special price.
Valet Bike Parking! Only in SF will you find such a thing. If you don't arrive by bike, public transportation is a must.
The second weekend of October is "Fleet Week" in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Navy brings in several ships, all men on deck in their dress whites, saluting the SF public. The weekend features an airshow over the San Francisco Bay, with center stage being Chrissy Field, along the San Francisco waterfront. The highlight is a show by the Blue Angels... Yowza! There's one show Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday afternoon. Also, they practice on Thursday and Friday before the weekend. Very, very cool. Or not. Depends on how you feel about military aircraft.
The Union Street Fair kicks the summer fairs off on the first weekend of June. The local artist, craftsmen and photographers sell their goods along with an array of other booty for your buying pleasure. There are food booths represent the nearby restaurants and “beer gardens” (read: covered chain link fences) for your drinking needs. Unfortunately they get packed and unpleasant.
The police were tossing people beers and drinks away who were walking in the street. Smart people bring flasks.
Although perhaps not well represented by a couple of my friends, there were beautiful babies everywhere. Both the girls and the guys in our group were very impressed with the gene pool that was represented.
There were some people with us visiting in from other parts of the country. One guy from Michigan was speechless - on so many different levels.
And of course, with any all day party affairs, as the day progressed, the more beer consumed – and you begin to tell people how good of a friend they are.
Ohh ya… the important stuff\
On Union Street between Steiner and Gough.
’03 is the 27th Annual.
Around the first weekend in June
Even though the Union Street and Haight Street fair were within a mile or two from each other and a day apart - they were from two different worlds
Of course there were food booths, arts and crafts - just with a Haight Street flavor. Instead of boobies popping out everywhere, there were dreadlocks and 2 foot spiked Mohawks. Instead of only drink’n in “gardens” the WHOLE place was a beer garden. If any beer was pured out, it was your own fault. Many people walking down the streets were silently advertising their products for sell as the cops looked over smiling. yup... smiling.
The ironic thing is, people were more in control here than Union. You didn’t have the drunk ex-frat boy yelling to his buddy, “hey a$$hole over here!!!” Instead you had dancing in the street. Very interesting and deep if you ask me.
Among the many street performers and musicians, there were a group of traditional Aztec (I believe) dancers. The highlight of the show was the “Fire Dance” where one of the dancers will roast different parts of his body over an open flame. Some of the heat probably made his balls sweat - a little too close to the boys than I would like.
Their garments were elaborate. But you must look at all the people in the picture. Such characters in this part of the city.
There were also Caribbean music, Break Dancers, Hippie rock on stage at the end of the fair, as well as several houses along the Haight that had parties, many of which shared their music with the masses by placing the speakers out the windows – a little funk, a little hip-hop and a whole lotta house. Very nice mix.
Dance’n in the streets!!!
A half a block up Ashbury, one of the houses decided to make a little street dancing happen. Since the street was already closed off, they collected a few old couches and recliners, DJ posted up in an apartment, you could see him spinning through the windows between the speakers. Everyone drinking and dancing the day away. Great house music I must say.
Some of us ended up for a spell in this friend of a friend of a friend’s party who lived on Haight; She had a DJ on point spinning good hip-hop. (read: no MTV ***e). Considering it was a party on the Haight, it would not have been appreciated for me, a complete random, taking photos or it. We got hungry and later went on a search for food.
REVEREND CECIL WILLIAMS & GLIDE CHURCH!
The church stands for 4 words:
* Unconditional love
* True diversity
We ended up in this church because of a tip of a local. We witnessed all 4 words described above. It was atru amazing experience and we're not only talking about the great gospel music show! The church has a huge history in providing meals to the homeless. Too much history to write about here, do visit their homepage ...
Just do it!
330 Ellis St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Yep, this is the famous Gay Pride parade and everyone should see this at least once. Gay, straight, both, neither…it doesn’t matter to the participants and viewers. Just go with an open mind and have fun. You’ll see a float for the local church with a giant rainbow cross, followed by shirtless firemen dancing to disco music, and right behind that, families with small children smiling and waving to the crowd. The scene is not for everybody, but it should be. The parade makes its way down Market street to the Civic center where the party really gets going.
Food, drinks, all sorts of politically aware booths, health information, local community groups, and just about everyone famous in SF makes an appearance. The large stage has dance groups, bands, and various speakers, all in the shadow of city hall. This is one of the largest gatherings in the city and it happens every June.
Held in May rather than February like the original Carnival, San Francisco's Carnival Festival is one of the Mission District's major events. The festival takes place on Harrison Street between 24th & 16th Streets along a nearly mile long stretch of city streets. We walked this mile of fun from one end to the other watching live bands, eating food, seeing crafts and other junk for sale, and seeing at least three stands advocating the legalization of marijuana.
The big draw of Carnival is the huge parade on the Sunday of the two-day event. I found that some locals didn't even know the festival actually began Saturday around 1100 AM. The event claims to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors, though there are no tickets or other ways to get an exact count. The 2008 festival is the 30th consecutive Carnival Event in the city.
The food we tried was excellent: carne asada tacos and chicken tamales for about $6 each. We also had some lemonade for maybe $4. Overall the festival was huge and well organized, with at least our stages all simultaneously playing music.
A fun little experience for the whole family.
I've seen the massive celebration for Buddha's Birthday in Seoul, Korea, but I never thought I'd stumble upon a similar event here in the US. On May 25th 2008 the San Francisco area organizations called Buddha's Light International Association, American Buddhist Cultural Society, and Light of Buddha Temple held a nice little festival at Union Square.
Buddhism as a world religion is historically concentrated in East and South East Asia, particularly China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. The US has only 2 to 6 million Buddhists, and 75 to 80 percent of these followers are of Asian descent and inherited Buddhism as a family tradition (while the rest are generally non-Asian converts).
San Francisco has a very high Buddhist population. The 2000 census reported that San Francisco had an population of over 200,000 people from Buddhist Asian countries, which is about a quarter of the city. The largest ethnic groups in San Francisco from Buddhist countries are Chinese (160,000 people), Japanese (15,000), Vietnamese (13,000), Korean (9,000), and Thai (2,000).