I can write for days on San Francisco culture. Whether it’s about the murals that take shape on vast walls, the music that flows freely throughout the city streets, or the bohemian lifestyles that thrive in the night, San Francisco’s culture is one of a kind.
It’s a diverse city, with a rich history of immigration and an even richer cultural heritage. It would be impossible, or entirely too long to write about all of the city’s rich cultural traditions in just one post, so this will be the first in a series of posts discussing different aspects of the city’s culture.
These blogs will discuss some of the various cultural and artistic traditions that define a city as breathtaking as San Francisco, including its street fairs, museums, music venues, cultural districts, and of course, its food. Today we will be discussing its festivals and street fairs held yearly throughout the city.
Chinese New Year Parade
Chinese New year Parade is one of San Francisco’s most popular festivals. Because of San Francisco’s substantial Chinese population, the parade is North America’s largest Asian cultural event. According to the San Francisco Chinatown Organization, the celebration includes two major fairs: the Chinese New Year Flower Celebration and the Chinatown Community Street Fair.
Bay to Breakers
Held for almost a century, thousands flock to San Francisco every year to partake in this annual fundraising event reports San Francisco.com. The event is part fundraiser for a variety of major charities, and part celebration of San Francisco’s distinct diversity. Participants include anywhere between families, doctors, nudists, artists, frat boys, and politicians.
Gay Pride Parade
San Francisco deeply identifies with the gay community. The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade is in fact the largest gay pride event in the world. The festival is held annually and lasts two-days. Over 300 booths are setup to sell merchandise, and dozens of speakers are invited to speak on sexuality, and gay identity. Over half a million people come to San Francisco to see the parade in late June.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, or HSB for short, is a three day music festival held over the first weekend of October. The festival is subsidized by millionaire venture capitalist Warren Hellman. For performers and attendees, the fact that the festival is “entirely free and non commercial” is extremely important to the character of the event.
Slow Food USA
The Slow Food USA is one of the largest food festivals in the country. The festival is part of the larger Slow movement, which strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine as an alternative to fast-food. The festival brings to attention education outreach programs that advance local environmental movements.
North Beach Jazz Festival
San Francisco has a rich history in the jazz scene. Organizers of the event choose some of the most popular and innovative bands to partake and play at the North Beach Festival. Bars and clubs along Grant street host local and national jazz talents throughout the 5-day festival. All forms of jazz flow from the North Beach nightlife venues, including Bossa nova, latin jazz, acid jazz, and hundreds of more variations.