On Sunday, underneath a blue sky and amid warm temperatures, thousands of people flooded the intersection at Castro and Market streets to buy handmade goods, eat food from several food trucks, and, of course, dance to fantastic DJ sets dressed in all sorts of regalia, or not dressed at all.
The last weekend of September and first weekend in October in San Francisco are traditionally packed with events for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Following last Sunday’s Folsom Street Fair — which saw its biggest attendance since the pandemic began — the Harvey Milk-founded Castro Street Fair returned with a familiar large crowd but slightly smaller footprint than in pre-pandemic years.
Team Wiener hits Castro Street Fair! pic.twitter.com/WBtoglfNtB— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) October 2, 2022
Held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, October 2nd, on one block each of Castro and Market streets, the 48th Annual Castro Street Fair felt a lot like it used to — and line dancing was back in the parking lot behind the Castro Theater. While slightly larger than the one-block version of the fair last year amid the summer/fall Delta wave of COVID, the fair no longer closes down several blocks of 18th Street as it once did, and there are no longer multiple entertainment stages — just a main stage with DJs at Castro and Market.
It was, nonetheless, a return to normal.
Vendors lined Castro Street, selling everything from hyperlocal headwear and well-potted succulents, to beeswax candles, dog beds, and even baby clothes. The LGBT Asylum Project, which remains the only San Francisco non-profit organization dedicated to providing accessible legal representation for LGBT asylum seekers, was also on-site offering information, volunteer opportunities, and more. Similarly, SFDPH was hosting an MPX pop-up vaccine site where attendees of the fair could receive an inoculation of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine.
The fair's main stage was alive throughout the seven-hour-long festival. DJ sets from Day Thief, Deveraux, and around a half-dozen others filled the day with energy.
At one point, a queer marching band trudged through the intersection at Castro and Market streets... right in front of the main stage.
Sunday's 48th Annual Castro Street Fair existed as proof that San Francisco is successfully climbing out of two public health emergencies — with much of the city's vivacious and free spirit still intact. Let's just hope we see a similar trend for its 49th-anniversary celebration, sans zoonotic and respiratory virus outbreaks.
ICYMI, here are some snaps of yesterday's festivities.
Photo: Courtesy of Matt Charnock/SFist