If there is anytime to ever have fun without spending all the skrilla in your pocket, its definitely during a festival. There is always some way to hawk free food, booze and someone who always wants to get taken home. Here are our favorite SF blowouts that consider a serious standing ovation.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest
If there was any way to make MC Hammer and Steve Martin country, the city has found out the secret. Known for booking amazing acts like Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello and even Gogol Bordello, the festival lets you kick up your heels without being transported to the bumfuck-middle-of-nowhere. Throw on your best cowboy hat, pour a flask of moonshine and break out those ass less chaps from Folsom one more time before Christmas.
Bay To Breakers
Though technically not free, the amount of party crashers that have been showing up to this race has been in the thousands for years. Whether you dress up, dress down or are simply a spectator to the action, there is no better day to make friends in the city. People hand out booze, sexual favors, food, costume leftovers and water like its Halloween and they’re not trying to poison you, kid! [Or are they?]
How Weird Street Faire
The costume, the exhibits, the makeup and the people here all combine to make this one trainwreck clusterfuck of hilarity. Some of the costumes here can rival even our new First Lady of Outrageousness, Lady Gaga. The best part is that usually many proceeds from this festival go to a great charity! Nothing like putting money in the pot while being bombarded by pink gorillas and people obviously lost in another generation.
Folsom Street Fair
This event, WHICH IS HAPPENING ON SUNDAY!, makes for a quintessential SF experience. Get spanked, chained, whipped, teased and tickled by some of the city’s finest leather daddies and dominatrixes. It is not uncommon to see someone whacking it, being naked or otherwise having full-on sex in the streets, so it’s not for the lighthearted. But, in same respect, you can’t really understand San Francisco without actually seeing this happen. Just a word to the wise — wear close toed shoes. Trust me on this.
The Really Really Free Market
Though this one is more reoccurring, I think it fits. There are people that don’t always have a lot of cash, but can do something really well and would rather lend their services versus their dinner money. There is a true sense of community at these events, and it’s also a place that you can head if you’re strapped for cash. Kind of like Burning Man without paying the absurd admission fee just to pass out from too much acid and sand in your crotch.
A weekend for the gay homecoming is completely too short and far too packed to truly enjoy every aspect, but we sure as hell try. From dance parties to sex parties to coming out parties, it seems like the entire city is down to get crazy. A lot of the best house parties that I’ve been to in the city have been on Pride weekend. If you’re a little too conservative to join in on the party, people watching is always choice.
Fillmore Jazz Festival
Two words: festival food. You know its bad for you, but you can’t help it. If you can spare a couple bucks, they have it here on every blockâ€¦literally. This festival used to take place outside my apartment and you have no idea how enticing the smell of kabobs can be from three stories up. Plus, the free music is never a bad thing either.
What can be said about the Indie Mart that hasn’t been already? It’s the only one that leaves me with a handful of new friends, a grip of cool shit and a hangover that lasts for two days. Enough said.
Though its grown to be quite the event, the Zine Fest is all about keeping that independent credibility that so many events lose over time. Nerding out over methods, writing and sewn binding versus staple binding, everyone here is always doing something really badass. Walking out without buttons and reading material for the next month is like going to the Tenderloin and not getting a contact high from a crackhead: impossible.