As the Bay Area and state open after more than a year of COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions, LGBTQ street parties are among the events to be held again.
The Up Your Alley and Folsom Street Leather and Knick fairs in the South of Market neighborhood will continue with face-to-face meetings, but in renamed formats designed to help the neighborhood’s LGBTQ businesses recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Our July event will be renamed Folsom Street Market and will be vendor-centric, but in the same footprint [as the Up Your Alley street fair]“Angel Adeyoha, the queer and non-binary executive director of Folsom Street Events, told the Bay Area reporter. “We plan to bring Up Your Alley back in all of its sticky glory next year.”
Adeyoha said Folsom Street Events is hoping to work with the city to provide COVID-19 tests and vaccines for the Folsom Street Market event, which will be held on Sunday, July 25th. There will be no alcohol or food “because we want to support the bars”. and venues that have had a terrible year, “said Adeyoha.
On Sunday, September 26th, Megahood 2021 will take place in place of the Folsom Street Fair. Megahood goes back to the original name of SOMA’s internationally renowned kink and leather festival when it began in 1984.
Adeyoha said that Folsom Street Events had received feedback from community members, some of whom expressed concern that the fair was too disconnected from the SOMA community. “Focus on the grassroots” will be the theme of Megahood, Adeyoha said.
“We are trying – based on the feedback from the past few years – to center these community roots,” said Adeyoha. “We will give special priority to marginalized members of our community, both in terms of providers and entertainment.”
Folsom Street Events will also work with Lava Mae to “provide on-site showers and hospitality areas for homeless neighbors because one thing about our fair isn’t that great is people feeling pushed out of their neighborhood.”
The non-profit organization provides snacks and shade to homeless people.
Megahood 2021 will be bigger than Folsom Street Market, just as Folsom Street Fair will be bigger than Up Your Alley. There will be “more vendors” and “more stalls”, but alcohol and food will not be served either, so that people can patronize the SOMA establishments.
“Don’t expect 2019 yet,” said Adeyoha. “We’re running up; it’s going to be a party, but not like before the pandemic.”
In the meantime, a number of smaller outdoor events called SOMA Second Saturdays started in May. A second installment will take place between 9th and 10th Streets on Folsom Street and the cul-de-sac block of Dore Alley on June 12th, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Street, next to the powerhouse.)
“It’s a way to get back to face-to-face events,” Adeyoha said.
SOMA Second Saturdays, which takes place in coordination between Folsom Street Events, the SOMA West CBD and the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District, is a sales, arts and crafts fair. COVID-19 protocols are enforced. The Lederviertel promotes “a safe, fun afternoon with queer art, kinky crafts, local craftsmen, fun vendors, clubs and organizations” on its website.
New Bear Fair arrives on Harrison Street Street in October
Just a few blocks south, the first Bearrison Street Fair takes place on Saturday, October 30th, from 12pm to 6pm
The Bearrison Street Fair on Harrison Street is a collaboration between the Bears of San Francisco and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
“There was actually a street fair for bears on Harrison Street over a decade ago,” said Erik Greenfrost, a gay homosexual who chaired Bears of San Francisco and co-chaired Bearrison Street Fair’s Hairrison Street Fair, which was held in the 2000s Years ago, as the BAR reported at the same time.
Before the pandemic, Greenfrost and Desi Juana DeWitt, now also co-chairs, thought of reviving the idea in coordination with the sisters.
“We have so much talent, so much energy and so many events that the sisters have made who are away – from Pink Saturday to Halloween at the Castro,” said Greenfrost. “We had our first meeting on the Eagle’s back patio to see who would be interested, and we had a good turnout.”
During the entire pandemic, the idea for the fair stayed on the back burner. It was one of the first in-person events announced when COVID-19 restrictions were eased in early 2021.
“We are working closely with the city and are optimistic about it,” said Greenfrost. “COVID-related, flu-related, we want to take information out of the city, but so far we have not been asked to take any special precautionary measures.
Greenfrost told the BAR the show would be “a mask-friendly event” but should not have a mandatory mask policy.
“We want to make sure everyone feels welcome and we have options for masking and social distancing, but ideally we don’t have to ask for anything and people can approach the street fair as they are comfortable,” said Greenfrost.
The epicenter of the fair will be Harrison Street and 11th Street, which is one block in each direction, Greenfrost said. Towards Eagle Plaza, 12th and Harrison, there will be a DJ dance area. There will be live acts to the east. Heading north, wrestling is planned – both at the professional and college level.
“We look forward to working with the city to organize a large outdoor event that is safe and complies with October public health guidelines,” DeWitt said in a press release. “We hope the pandemic is under control by October and this can be an opportunity for people to revitalize the community and bring some business back to town – especially in the historic leather and LGBTQ cultural district.
Oakland Pride gets “preliminary OK for a personal festival”
The usual San Francisco Pride parade on Market Street and the Civic Center will not take place this year, as the BAR previously reported. Instead, the highlight of the events will be movie nights, which will be presented on June 11th and 12th at Oracle Park.
However, Oakland Pride informed the BAR that a face-to-face event was scheduled for September 12th.
“So far we have the preliminary OK to host a personal festival,” said Carlos Uribe, co-chair of Oakland Pride. “We’re planning, coordinating, and setting up the equipment for a personal festival. We’re also going to be programming a digital component for Oakland Pride for those who aren’t sure about going to large gatherings that aren’t.” have been vaccinated or have a problem with accessibility. “
Uribe said Oakland Pride expects more clarity “in the next few weeks or June” about what will be personally allowed in September. Once Oakland Pride is able to have the necessary talks with Oakland and Alameda County officials, it will make an official announcement.
“We look forward to coming back for our community this year,” said Uribe.
The Castro Street Fair, which usually takes place on the first Sunday of October (a week after Folsom Street Fair) was neither in person nor in practice last year, Jenn Meyer, president of the Castro Street Fair Board of Directors, told the BAR in a statement that she is “hopeful” about the prospects for a face-to-face meeting this fall.
“Castro Street Fair continues to oversee San Francisco’s health policies and does not currently have any event plans to announce,” Meyer said. “The restrictions imposed by the guidelines will determine all plans for an event in 2021. The organizers continue to hope to hold a gathering in October that embodies the spirit of the Castro Street Fair’s nearly 50-year tradition while ensuring that public health guidelines are followed. “
Officials at Silicon Valley Pride, usually held in late August, declined to comment on the story. Its website currently states that the annual parade and festival are scheduled for August 28th and 29th, with a message to people to “Save the date! Please stay tuned.”
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