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Pandemic cancels 'usual' Castro Street Fair

Assistant Editor

Crowds filled Castro Street during the 2018 fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Crowds filled Castro Street during the 2018 fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

The Castro Street Fair will not take place in person as usual this year due to COVID-19, according to remarks made by Fred Lopez, a member of the fair's board of directors, at an August 6 virtual meeting of the Castro Merchants association.

"Because of the unique challenges of the pandemic and to comply with local mandates, the Castro Street Fair will not be taking place in its usual form this year. Our first responsibility is to protect the safety of our friends, families, beneficiaries, and supporters," Lopez said at the end of the meeting, reading from a prepared statement. "The board of directors is currently working with our partners to find ways in which to highlight the Castro leading up to what would have been fair weekend, as well as encourage much-needed business to the local merchants."

What specific "ways in which to highlight the Castro" will be shared "in the coming months," Lopez said.

The fair would have been held October 4.

"We want the community to support one another in the meantime," Lopez said. "We hope to be back in the streets of the Castro, along with all of you, in 2021. Be safe and wear a mask."

Other major in-person LGBTQ events this year in San Francisco, such as the annual Pride festival and parade and the Up Your Alley and Folsom Street fairs, moved to virtual formats, and it is unclear at this time if there will be a virtual component for the Castro fair.

Lopez and Jenn Meyer, the president of the fair's board of directors, did not immediately respond to a request for follow-up comment about whether there will be a virtual component and when specifically to expect to hear more.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, last year's Castro Street Fair expanded to Market Street for the first time in several years. It has taken place in person every year since 1974, when it was founded by Harvey Milk, several years before he went on to become the first gay person elected to office in San Francisco and California when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. He and former mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978.

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