Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shivering at Carnaval

San Francisco's Carnaval is an odd municipal party. If you've thought about it at all, you probably think of Carnival as the prelude to Lent, related to Mardi Gras, a mid-winter bacchanal. And in most of the world (the northern hemisphere anyway), it is. But here, in the Mission District, Carnaval takes place annually on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Just a little smaller than the Gay Freedom Day parade and party, it's our second largest annual festival. Dozens of dancing groups practice for the march all year long; hundreds of thousands come to look on.

That means, in our distinctive climate, that about two years out of three, we celebrate Carnaval by shivering in freezing gusts of fog. This was one of those years.

I foolishly volunteered to join Organizing for America registering voters at the Saturday street fair. Mostly, we didn't. Who wants to talk with some dork with a clipboard while trying to stay warm?

At least I got to wander around. I felt sorry for employees/recruits of various community non-profits hunkered down against the wind.

This young woman had a job: she was promoting a large cell phone company.

The weather didn't deter everyone, but it dictated the appropriate clothing -- lots!

Directly in front of one of the bandstands, a few brave souls tried to get into the spirit of the day. It was a weak effort. Maybe next year we'll get a warm Memorial Day.

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