May 28, 2017 marked the date of San Francisco’s 39th annual Carnaval San Francisco celebration.
The celebration, which is held in San Francisco’s atmospheric and traditionally (at least before highly-paid tech employees boosted real estate prices to the point that previous residents were forced to leave) Mission District.
It began with a huge, multi-hour morning parade down 24th Street that highlighted many ornate floats, Latin bands and Brazilian-style “samba school” dance groups that performed in costume, some of which were topped with elaborate feathered headdresses. The parade included contingents from a number of Latin American, Caribbean and even West African countries.
The afternoon consisted of a festival that spread out along a six-block long (not counting the many adjacent side streets onto which the festival spilt over) stretch of Harrison Street. While revelers were spread out along the morning parade route, the afternoon festival was packed with an estimated 400,000 people.
Although billed as a community-building festival that celebrated diversity and multicultural arts, most people appeared to be there for the music, crafts booths, dancing, food and, for younger attendees, the games, rides and the inflatable play environments—much of which had a decidedly Latin flavor. Among the highlights were the:
- Four main stages, each with a full-afternoon of local bands;
- Three DJ-manned music booths
- Dozens of food stalls, most of which focused on Latin street foods;
- Hundreds of crafts booths;
- A dozen Midway-style games;
- A play zone for children; and
- A fenced-in alcohol zone that offered not only some seating, but also space in which people could actually spread out.
Definitely a fun-filled day in San Francisco.