Election Section

Back to Berkeley: A Sampling of This Year’s Parades and Festivals By JOE EATON Special to the Planet

Tuesday August 23, 2005

Diversity is not just a lofty abstraction: It tastes great, and you can dance to it. 

With the exception of the wet months, the Bay Area calendar is full of street fairs, music festivals, parades, and other events where you can hear everything from mariachi to taiko and sample endless variations on grilled-meat-on-a-stick. A sampling follows, and my apologies to anyone whose favorite event I’ve inadvertently omitted; write to the Daily Planet if you have suggestions. I tried really hard to find a local observance of Loy Kratong, the Thai celebration where you apologize to the spirit of the waters, but no luck. 

For updates, visit http://sanfrancisco. about.com/od/festivalsandstreetfairs. 


Oakland Chinatown StreetFest 

Aug. 27-28 

A pan-Asian event, bigger than anything in San Francisco; martial arts demonstrations, music, food. 893-8988. 


Arab Cultural Festival 

Sept. 18 

Food, dance, crafts, with a side of politics. San Francisco County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. (415) 664-2200. 


Sebastopol Celtic Festival 

Sept. 22-25 

Mostly music--Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Celto-Spanish, Cape Breton, Quebecois—in a great outdoor venue. Sebastopol Community Center. (707) 823-1511. 


How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade and Festival 

Sept. 25 

Is Berkeleyan an ethnic group? A philosophy? A cult? You decide. The parade down University Avenue ends at Civic Center Park with more entertainment. 644-2204. 

Reggae in the Park 

October 2005 

Legendary bands, tasty Caribbean food and culture. Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. (866) 384-3060. 


San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade 

Oct. 9 

North Beach’s big day. Wine tasting in Washington Square Park and a Ferrari show. No phone information available. 


Indigenous Peoples Day 

Oct. 8 

Pow-wow dancing and drumming, traditional and modern arts and crafts, frybread, bison burgers. Springer Gateway/West Entrance, UC Berkeley. 595-5520. 


Oktoberfest by the Bay 

Oct. 13-16 

Closer than Munich. Organizers promise “nonstop music, dancing, and singing.” The Chico Bavarian Band headlines. Fort Mason, San Francisco. (888) 746-7522. 


Vietnamese Spring Festival and Parade, February 2006 

Celebrate Tet, the Lunar New Year, with the people who brought us banh mi; music, martial arts demos, crafts. Parkside Hall, 180 Park Ave., San Jose. (408) 292-0623. 


Cherry Blossom Festival 

April 2006 

Taiko and tako in Nihonmachi; classical and folk dances, martial arts. Remember, it’s a good thing if the lion bites you. Japantown (Post and Buchanan), San Francisco. (415) 563-2307. 


Ukulele Festival of Northern California, April 2006 

All ukuleles, all day, with occasional hula. Kalua pig and other island treats available. Hayward Adult School, 22100 Princeton St., Hayward. (415) 281-0221.  

Portuguese Pentecostal Festival, seven weeks after Easter 2006 

Not a fiesta—a festa. Half Moon Bay. (650) 726-2729. 


Oakland Cinco de Mayo Festival 

May 2006 

Celebrate the end of one of Napoleon III’s really bad ideas, when Mexico defeated French imperial troops in the battle of Puebla. International Boulevard between 34th and 41st Avenues, 535-0389. Other Cinco de Mayo events in San Francisco, Berkeley and elsewhere. 


Festival of Greece 

May 2006 

Souvlaki, bouzouki, maybe ouzo in the Oakland hills; dancing with and without tables. Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension, 4700 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. 531-3400. 


Himalayan Fair 

May 2006 

Safer than Katmandu—music, dancing, arts, and crafts from the Roof of the World, plus curries and handmade momos. Live Oak Park, Berkeley. 869-3995. 


Carnaval San Francisco 

May 28, 2006 

A couple of months later than the rest of the world, but it’s colder here in February than it is in Rio or Trinidad. San Francisco’s version centers on a huge parade through the Mission District. (415) 920-0125. 


Israel in the Gardens 

June 2006 

More than just falafel; last year’s event featured an Israeli rock band and belly dancers. Yerba Buena Gardens San Francisco. (415) 512-6423. 


Campbell Highland Games and Celtic Gathering 

June 2006 

Watch out for the caber! Food (haggis at your own risk), music, dancing as well as feats of strength and skill. Campbell Community Center. (408) 219-9264. 



June 2006 

Commemorating the day that word of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, this celebration of African American heritage also features music, food, and crafts from Africa and the Caribbean. Adeline Street, Berkeley. 655-8008. 


Eritrean Western USA Festival 

August 2006 

Listen to exotic Red Sea beats and learn how to handle your injera. Wood Middle High School, 420 Grand Ave., Alameda. 986-1991. 


Nihonmachi Street Fair 

August 2006 

Japantown hosts a celebration of Asian and Pacific cultures, with a dazzling variety of street food. Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore San Francisco. (415) 771-9861. 


San Francisco Aloha Festival 

August 2006 

Polynesia (and Micronesia) at the Presidio. Hula, slack key guitar, canoe races, island-style plate lunches, miles of vendors. Parade Grounds, Presidio of San Francisco. (415) 281-0221. 


International Dragon Boat Festival, August 2006 

Drums propel the rowers at Oakland’s Jack London Square. 452-4272. 


Pistahan Festival, August 2006 

The Bay Area’s Filipino community follows a parade down Market Street with music, traditional dancing and hip hop, art exhibits, and an adobo cook-off. Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco. (415) 777-6950.