Many major gay cities offer outdoor festivals that range from mild to incredibly wild. In the U.S., however, San Francisco offers two of the wildest such events: Up Your Alley Street Fair (July 31) and Folsom Street Fair (September 25).

Up Your Alley Street Fair, Sunday, July 31:

Often called the step brother of the later Folsom Street Fair, this smaller annual South of Market street fair is not for the faint of heart, celebrating the Leather, BDSM and fetish Community with stages, demos, merchandise and information booths.  Many locals find Up Your Alley more authentic and approachable, dating back to the origins of the SOMA leather scene on Dore Alley.  Donations are collected at the gates for local charitable causes.


Folsom Street Fair, Sunday, Sept. 25:

This is known to be the largest street fair in the world, encompassing 13 city blocks, numbering more than 400,000 people and welcoming a broad spectrum of South of Market lifestyles, including Leather, BDSM, uniforms, fetish and other alternatives.  From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. check out two live stages with 16 separate acts, more than 250 informational and retail booths, hot food and cold drinks, artists and more.

Donations at the entrances benefit local charitable causes.  Saturday night, Sept. 25, is Magnitude the no-holds-barred dance party at 525 Harrison St. from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. with DJs Ted Eiel and Joe Gauthreaux.


Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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