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Decision on Folsom, Dore Alley street fairs expected soon

Assistant Editor

The weather was warm, and attire was minimal, at the 2019 Folsom Street Fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter
The weather was warm, and attire was minimal, at the 2019 Folsom Street Fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter   

A decision on whether the two South of Market leather-themed street fairs will proceed in person in 2021 will be made following a meeting next week between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Folsom Street Events, the executive director of the latter has told the Bay Area Reporter.

"We have not yet met with SFMTA for the year," Angel Adeyoha, the queer and nonbinary executive director of Folsom Street Events said January 19. "We will be meeting next week or so, myself and the board president."

Nonetheless, Adeyoha said the prospect of the Up Your Alley street fair in July (sometimes just referred to as Dore Alley, where some of it takes place) and the Folsom Street Fair in September proceeding in person this year is "unlikely."

"But you don't want to rule it out," Adeyoha added, until the SFMTA meeting. (The transit agency is, of course, in charge of permits for the requisite street closures.)

An announcement in the Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District newsletter earlier on January 19 had stated that the in-person street fairs had already been canceled. Robert Goldfarb, the board president of the cultural district, told the B.A.R. "that was an error in the newsletter" and apologized "for the confusion."

"Folsom Street Events has announced that there will be no 'in person' Folsom Street Fair or Up Your Alley Fairs in 2021," the newsletter stated. "But the Bears of San Francisco and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are planning a 2021 Bearrison Street Fair, and would love to have your help in planning it. Join a team at https://forms.gle/dh8ornvA14heyoki9"

According to the Google Sheets form, the Bearrison Street Fair is scheduled for Harrison Street in the South of Market neighborhood on October 30. (Neither the Bears of San Francisco nor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence responded to immediate requests for comment.)

It is unclear exactly when enough of the population, either locally, regionally, or nationally, will be vaccinated against COVID-19 for large, in-person events to resume safely. The mass vaccination drive is behind schedule on the nationwide level, and Mayor London Breed stated January 19 that San Francisco could run out of vaccines within two days.

San Francisco Pride, which runs one of the largest in-person events in the city and the country, did not respond to an immediate request for comment. Last year's SF Pride festivities were virtual due to the ongoing pandemic and it's questionable if the 2021 event will be able to take place in person the last weekend of June.

Organizers of the city's Chinese New Year's parade have already said the in-person event has been canceled but that there will be a broadcast special February 20 starting at 4:30 p.m.

The San Francisco LGBT Center has already announced its annual Soirée fundraising gala will again be held virtually because of the COVID pandemic. It takes place this year on Saturday, April 10.

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