I use to live in San Francisco and it was one of the funnest periods of my life.  A beautiful and friendly city, SF is an amazingly unique place where at any time you can easily have the best all-organic locally farmed meal, watch a friar walk down the street, sit next to a man wearing assless chaps on the bus, and have a random conversation with someone who started a small company called Google. It’s a vibrant city full of energy and life! And one reason for that is that San Franciscans love any reason to celebrate, dress up, and/or have a parade.

Here are a FEW fun, crazy, unique annual events in San Francisco:

Castro Theatre Sing-A-Long (visit their website for schedule): The historic Castro Theatre is a gorgeous venue where you’d only expect opera singers to exhibit not 2 large drag queens hosting group sing-a-longs. Hystarically fun, I attended a Grease-Sing-A-Long with girlfriends once and had a blast singing Summer Love, Summer Love... dressing up is completely allowed and encouraged. Other sing-a-longs include: Little Mermaid, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz.

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Critical Mass (Last Friday of Every Month): Started in San Francisco, Critical Mass is a bicycle ride that was started to bring awareness to people about bicyclists, bicyclist rights and road safety.  It originally started out as a spontaneous demonstration, but these days it’s more of an expected event that is often lead by police. Rent a bicycle and join the fun.

Stern Grove Music Festival (Summer only): In their 72nd season now, Stern Grove Music Festival is a great free outdoor music festival. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket, and spend the afternoon listening to soul singers or live bands. Get there early or you’ll be picnicking in mud!

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Bay to Breakers (third Sunday in May): Part 12k, part halloween, part parade, Bay to Breaker is a 12k race that starts from Embarcadero (or the Bay) and weaves through SF neighborhood (and monster hills!) to Pacific Ocean on the other side of the city. True runners run earlier in day and everyone else happily run the course behind them in homemade parade floats, group costumes (Waldo? I found him!) and anything goes!

SF’s LGBT Pride Celebration/Parade (June 27-28, 2008): The world’s largest LGBT parade, it is REALLY fun! There’s lots of food and vendors and rainbow flags flying high and proud.

Dolores Park Movie Night (2nd Thursday of every month in the summer): An outdoor movie night held in the beautiful Dolores Park in the Mission District, this movie night is FUN! From Karate Kid to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the film committee does a great job at picking movies. Bring  blanket, a case of brew, and buy a tamale from Mission’s famous tamale lady, and join SF’s hipsters in the fun.

Ghiradelli Square Chocolate Festival (Sept 6-7, 2008): A yearly event, the Ghiradelli Square Chocolate Festival gives you reason to stuff thousands of calories of cocoa goodness into your mouth.

Folsom Street Fair (Sept 28, 2008): World’s largest leather/fetish festival… uhh… not suitable for children, conservative church-going mothers, Palin, and anyone who is uncomfortable with seeing a grown naked man on a leash.

Litquake (Oct 3rd- 11, 2008): A literary festival orgy, Litquake gathers Bay Area writers for readings, panel discussions, and literary nerd grouping for an exciting and FUN event. Sounds like it’ll be a project in English 101? HARDLY. San Franciscans know how to make reading fun, especially when many of the gatherings happen next to bars. Here’s your chance to have a brew with Neil Gaiman.

What’s your favorite SF event?

Resources:
Festivals: SanFrancisco.com

Events/Festivals Search: SFGate.com

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