Castro fair set for Sunday

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday September 28, 2022
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Castro Street saw a crowd at last year's street fair. Photo: Steven Underhill
Castro Street saw a crowd at last year's street fair. Photo: Steven Underhill

The Castro Street Fair will take place as usual Sunday, October 2, and merchants are glad for the increased foot traffic the event is sure to bring to the LGBTQ neighborhood.

Sidelined in 2020 due to COVID, the street fair returned last year, albeit with a smaller footprint. This year, according to the fair's website, the 48th annual event will be held at the intersection of Castro and Market streets and the surrounding area.

Entertainment is scheduled throughout the afternoon and includes Auntie Sam and Devereaux, Oscar 5 and Five, Jordee and Day Thief, and Robin Malone Simmons and Elaine Denham.

The Sundance Saloon will have space at the fair for the first time since 2019 with country western dancing, its website noted. According to the dancing group's website, it will be located in the parking lot behind the Castro Theatre. It will offer quick beginning lessons throughout the afternoon before the popular Barn Dance at 4 p.m.

There is a suggested donation of $10-$20 for the street fair, the website stated.

Fair officials said they are looking forward to the event.

"The board of the Castro Street Fair is very excited to welcome the community back to the Castro for the Fair on Sunday," board Vice President Fred Lopez stated in an email. "In 2021, we were so heartened to see so many friends in the streets celebrating after missing out on 2020. This year, we would not be surprised to see even more neighbors from all around the city and the bay join us for music, food, and connection in the Castro."

The Castro LGBTQ Cultural District is one of the fair's sponsors.

"We love the Castro Street Fair," said Tina Aguirre, a genderqueer Latinx person who manages the cultural district. "It is definitely a legacy event that deserves to continue. It really was at risk of being lost due to COVID."

Aguirre said the cultural district was delighted the fair is continuing and was pleased with the extra support from the city for the event.

The Castro Merchants Association will be supplying volunteers for the event, said CMA co-president Terrance Alan, a gay man, as well as helping to promote the fair. The entire neighborhood will "be lit up with art and activity," he said, with the monthly Art Mart, held the first Sunday of the month, taking place on Noe Street as well as the fair itself.

"I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again, outside enjoying themselves and getting back to our new normal," said Alan.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health will be on hand offering MPX vaccinations, as it did at last weekend's Folsom Street Fair. According to a news release, SFDPH administered 1,419 first and second doses of the Jynneos vaccine in just one day at the Folsom Street Fair on September 25 as part of its ongoing efforts to provide thousands of additional MPX vaccine doses to San Franciscans and visitors attending popular community events over the span of several weeks this fall.

The health department had previously expanded vaccine eligibility to out-of-town visitors and that remains in effect through October 2.

"This successful event took advantage of a one-time special allotment of 10,000 doses that SFDPH received as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' 'Pilot Program for Additional Vaccine Allocation to State and Local Health Departments that Host Large LGBTQ+ Community Events,'' SFDPH stated of the Folsom fair program. "This federal pilot program provides additional vaccines to states and cities holding events that convene large groups of LGBTQI+ individuals."

In addition to the Folsom Street Fair, SFDPH has held vaccine events with the Rafiki Coalition, San Francisco Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Beaux Nightclub, and others. To date, more than 4,000 doses from the special federal allotment have been administered, the agency stated.

"This federal allotment enhances our efforts to ensure MPX vaccines are distributed quickly and equitably by bringing vaccines directly to where people are," stated San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip. "We encourage eligible people attending these events to take advantage of the MPX vaccine sites being right there and get their first or second doses. Remember, you need a second dose after 28 days to complete the vaccine series and gain maximum protection against the MPX virus."

The MPX outbreak began in the Bay Area in May and is primarily affecting men who have sex with men. San Francisco has reported 797 cases as of September 25, but it has stayed at that number since September 19. The city is generally seeing between one and four cases every several days, according to the health department's tracker. The city has not seen more than 10 new cases a day since August 24.

The street fair was started by the gay late supervisor Harvey Milk in 1974. Now a nonprofit organization, funds raised by the fair go to support charitable causes important to the Castro community as well as to pay for maintenance of the rainbow flag that flies over the intersection at Castro and Market streets, the website noted.

The Castro Street Fair takes place October 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit its website.

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