If celebration and protest are polar twins, San Francisco does both with equal verve. San Francisco makes a festival out of a neighborhood, holds world-renowned jazz, blues and music festivals, explodes fireworks over the Bay for a blow out Fourth of July festival and hosts a festival and parade to celebrate San Francisco's diverse ethnic communities, from the Fiesta Filipina to Chinese New Year Parade to Oktoberfest. This list of San Francisco festivals and events, compiled by SanFrancisco.com editors, offers a festival for every San Francisco season.
Bay to Breakers
For almost a century, thousands have flocked to San Francisco for this annual event which is part fundraiser for a variety of charities and part celebration of the San Francisco's diversity. Participants include the world's top runners in addition to cardiovascular laymen: families, nudists, frat boys, artists, sexual deviants and politicians. On their way from Bay to Ocean Beach's breaks, runners begin near the Bay Bridge (in downtown San Francisco) and proceed down Howard, Hayes and Fell streets serenaded by onlookers blasting inspirational tunes and sipping on screwdrivers and other spiked concoctions. The homestretch is a downhill jaunt through Golden Gate Park where organizers hold a costume contest. The 12k race ends with "Footstock, " a festival with music and activities at Ocean Beach.
How Weird Street Faire
It's no surprise that bold and daring San Francisco is home to something called the How Weird Street Fair. This creative gathering showcases different types of electronic music in a setting where performances reign, worldly vendors peddle cool finds, exotic foods fill the air with intoxicating aromas, and colorful costumes are encouraged. The ten stages support local organizations and collectives with the likes of Opulent Temple, Groove Garden, Space Cowboys and more doling out amazing beats for the crowds to enjoy. Held in the beginning of May from noon through nightfall, this street celebration is not one to be missed.
San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender (LGBT) Parade
The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender (LGBT) Parade is the world's largest gay pride event. It's an annual two-day festival that travels along Market Street and features live entertainment, guest speakers and 300 booths selling merchandise. The festival booths peddle arts and crafts, food, sex toys, T-shirts and educational information. 500, 000 people attend this late June event, much of which takes place in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall. Past participants have included San Francisco Mayor Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent. Salsa, swing, hip-hop, house, indy and country musicians perform on the festival's 12 stages.
San Francisco Waterfront Festival
An annual San Francisco waterfront Independence Day party that unfailingly delivers brilliant fireworks over the Bay, live entertainment as well as food, arts and crafts. 12-9pm, fireworks begin around 9pm.
Fillmore Street Jazz Festival
This free jazz festival features live music on three stages in addition to 200 arts and crafts booths.
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
American and international filmmakers will screen over 40 of their work at this, the first and oldest Jewish film festival in the world.