San Francisco Carnaval: Dates, Venues and 3 spectacular highlights of the festival

Born in 1979 by a group of enthusiastic artists with a vision to celebrate the diversity of heritages which shapes the Mission District and the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Francisco Carnaval is an annual festival of San Francisco. The festival runs for two days and provides free access to everyone while showcasing cultural arts and traditions through dance performances, parade, music and visual arts. This remains the largest multi-cultural celebration which gives space to unify multiple cultures while maintaining their uniqueness and creative expressions. A reverence to Latin American, Caribbean and African Diasporic legacies, the festival also works for community development.

Embellished with special events and opportunities, the Carnaval commences in the month of February with Annual Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Celebration moving to King and Queen competition in April and concludes with a grand parade on Memorial Day Weekend. Covering 17 blocks of the Mission district, the festival consists of numerous main stages, more than 50 local performance artists and elaborate cuisines from around the globe. It celebrates individuality, creativity and freedom by hosting a welcoming and safe environment for each ethnic, social and cultural group.

Planning your itinerary for the San Francisco Carnaval: Dates and Venues

Bolivian Troupe during the Carnaval
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Dates: Memorial Day Weekend
Venue: Mission District - Harrison Street, Bryant Street, Mission Street, South Van Ness
Timing: 9:30 Am - 6:00 Pm
Admission: Free 

3 Highlights of the San Francisco Carnaval: A delight for the eyes

1. The grand parade

The Grand Parade
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The centre of all the attractions promised by the Carnaval, The Grand Parade promises a vibrant range of performances by hundreds of artists. Flourishing with dynamic and multicultural themes, the parade keeps the audience engaged with artists dancing on the tunes of Cuban, Jamaican and Bahama flavours. Witness the spectacular sights of feathered headgears and Bahia skirts while spectating the Brazilian Escola, samba and salsa on the streets of Mission District. Look out for the different folk groups representing their folk arts and culture. Prepare to be dazzled by the lavish sights and overwhelming moments if you are attending the parade.

2. International food

Murals on the streets of Mission District
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While celebrating the multiculturality through performances and spectacles, the Carnaval also includes the celebration of diverse flavours in food. You can enjoy and relish on the wide range of global cuisines offered during the Carnaval. Visit any of the hundred vendors present at the corners of the streets to enjoy cultural and native food items of Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala among many others. Mission district also hosts some amazing food joints for your cravings of burritos, tacos and skewers. Walkthrough the popular murals placed at different parts of the district while enjoying the glorious burst of flavours from the assortment of international food items.

3. Free two-day festival entertainment

The Float in the San Francisco Carnaval
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Set across numerous stages and multiple backdrops the Carnaval hosts multiple stage performances and exhibitions of art and craft. You can enjoy the two days of festivities which includes site sampling, assortments of food items, puppet shows, salsa and samba performances, NGO-led activities and drag shows. The two days of the festival which remains free for everyone provides the space for visitors and residents to engage in a creative atmosphere led by the feeling of gratitude for their diverse heritage. It allows you to actively communicate with individuals and thereby enables you to a newer and broader understanding.  

The streets flourishing with the music and grandeur of samba and salsa becomes a must-have experience for anyone with a zeal for culture, tradition, spirituality and art. The annual Carnaval is planned with a yearly theme and promises a complete experience. The Carnaval holds the power to dazzle you with its elaborate feathered headgears in parade and artiste performances on stage during the course of the festival. Plan your trip for this largest multicultural Carnaval experience amidst a grand celebration of cultural heritage and lineage.

This post was published by Aditi Shree

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