Bestivals

caitlin@sfbg.com

FALL ARTS Now that even the quaintest neighborhood block parties publish music lineups in advance and big beat fests give as much shine to snack vendors as secondary stages, it’s becoming clear that the events on our fall fair and festival listings are all just part of one big movement. Leading to what, you might ask? Leading to you having a celebrate-good-times kind of autumn in the Bay Area. Seize the day, pack your sunscreen, bring cash: from film to activism to chocolate, here comes the sun.

 

NOW-SEPT. 25

Shakespeare in the Park Presidio’s Main Post Parade Ground Lawn, between Graham and Keyes, SF. (415) 558-0888, www.sfshakes.org. Times vary, free. Whilst thou be satisfied with the Bard’s hits in the open air, free for you and the clan? The line-up, from Cymbeline to Macbeth, suggests that it won’t be so hard.

 

AUG. 27

J Pop Summit Japantown Peace Plaza, SF. www.newpeopleworld.com. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free. Enter the kaleidoscope of anime, manga, Lolita, androgynously cute boys in tuxedo jackets, keyboard theatrics, and Vocaloid (a computer program that creates complete songs, vocals and all) contests at this unique festival marathon of Japanese pop culture.

Rock The Bells Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View. www.rockthebells.net. 10:55 a.m.-10:25 p.m., $55.50-281.00. Lauryn Hill, Nas, GZA, Common, Black Star — the country’s biggest hip-hop festival hits the Bay, bigger than ever.

 

SEPT. 3

International Cannabis and Hemp Expo Telegraph from 16th to 20th sts. and Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakl. intche.eventbrite.com. Noon-8 p.m., $18-300. 120 different strains of Mary Jane should be enough to get you through eight hours of festival — if not, there will be three stages of music and educational speakers for pot pals to trip on.

 

SEPT. 3-4

Zine Fest SF County Fair Building, 1199 Ninth Ave., SF. www.sfzinefest.org. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., free. If arbiter of Bay indie comic cute Lark Pien’s original kitty cat Zine Fest 2011 poster doesn’t hook you (how?), you’re sure to find something that tickles your cut-and-paste among the aisles at this assemblage of DIY publishers and comic heads.

Millbrae Art and Wine Festival Broadway between Victoria and Meadow Glen, Millbrae. (650) 697-7324, www.miramarevents.com. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., free. Celebrate Labor Day at this multi-faceted celebration of artisan comestibles, classic cars, live tunes, and hundreds of crafters — it even has a kids talent show.

 

SEPT. 4

EcoFair Marin Marin County Fairgrounds, San Rafael. www.ecofairmarin.org. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., $5. The keynote speaker at this expo of all things green and cutting-edge is Temple Grandin, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading autism advocates.

 

SEPT. 7-18

Fringe Festival Various locations, times, prices. www.sffringe.org. This festival’s egalitarian method of stage assignments mean that there’s no better time of year in the city to check out first-time playwrights and original (yes, sometimes wonky) scripts.

 

SEPT. 8-11

Electronic Music Festival Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St., SF. www.sfemf.org. The Bay’s new music artists pop off together for this long weekend of exploration of the sonic spectrum.

 

SEPT. 10

Brews on the Bay Pier 45, SF. www.sfbrewersguild.org. Noon-5 p.m., $45. The city’s biggest brewers: Magnolia, Beach Chalet, Anchor, and Speakeasy among others, pour out endless tastes at this Bay-side swigfest

 

SEPT.10-11

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival Ghriradelli Square, North Point and Larkin sts., SF. (415) 775-5500, www.ghirardellisq.com. Noon-5 p.m., $20 for 15 samples. A benefit for chronically ill and housebound elderly folks, chocolatier demonstrations and ice cream sandwich-eating contests sprinkle over this day of chocolate tasting par excellence.

 

SEPT. 14-18

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention Times, locations, and prices vary. www.berkeleyoldtimemusic.org. Loosen up them joints — it’s time to get goofy and gangly to some banjos and flat-footin’ at this multi-day Americana celebration of film screenings, concerts, open jams, and more.

Power and Sailboat Expo Jack London Square, Broadway and First St., Oakl. (510) 536-6000, www.ncma.com. Wed.-Fri., noon — 6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $10. In the market for a rubber inflatable raft? Wanna scope haute yachts? Sail away to this family-friendly event on the Bay.

 

SEPT. 15 — DEC. 18

SF Jazz Fest Times, locations, and prices vary. (866) 920-5299, www.sfjazz.org. Esperanza Spalding, Booker T., Aaron Neville, and performances by SF’s most talented high school jazz players mark this season of innovative concerts and jazz appreciation events.

 

SEPT. 23-25

Eat Real Jack London Square, Broadway and First St., Oakl. (510) 250-7811, www.eatrealfest.com. Fri, 1-8 p.m.; Sat, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., free. A celebration of all foods local and sustainable, you can enter your prize pickles in a contest at this burgeoning fest, learn how to be a backyard farmer, and of course, eat good food til you burst.

 

SEPT. 23 — OCT. 16

24 Days of Central Market Arts www.centralmarketarts.org. Most events are free. The heart of the city organizes this smorgasboard of art events — from world class dance to circus to quirky theater pieces. Take your brown bag (lunch? something else?) down to Civic Center for one of the free performances.

 

SEPT. 24

Lovevolution Oakland Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl. www.sflovevolution.org. Noon- 8 p.m., $25. The days of prancing neon-ly down Market Street are over but hey, Oakland’s got better weather! This year’s massive outdoor rave stages its traditional parade around the circumference of the coliseum’s parking lot.

 

SEPT. 25

Folsom Street Fair Folsom between Seventh and 12th sts., SF. www.folsomstreetfair.org. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., $10 suggested donation. Sure, it’s touristy, but this kink community mega-event has its heart in the right place (between its legs). The premier place to get whipped in public, hands down.

 

SEPT. 30 — OCT. 2

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, SF. www.strictlybluegrass.com. Sure this homegrown free twangfest gets more crowded by the year — but attendance numbers are directly tied to the ever-more-badass lineup of multi-genre legends. This year: Emmylou Harris, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Robert Plant — and yes, MC Hammer.

Oktoberfest By the Bay Pier 48, SF. 1-888-746-7522, www.oktoberfestbythebay.com. Fri, 5 p.m.-midnight; Sat, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6 p.m.-midnight; Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., $25-65. Oompah, it’s time for some bratwurst! Raise your stein to this boozy celebration of German culture.

 

OCT. 1

Wildlife Conservation Expo Mission Bay Conference Center, 1675 Owens, SF. www.wildnet.org. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., $30-60. Save the Botswanan cheetahs and okapis! Learn from leading conservationists about innovative environmental projects around the world.

 

OCT. 1-2

World Vegetarian Day County Fair Building, 9th Ave. and Lincoln, SF. (415) 273-5481, www.worldvegfestival.com. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $10 suggested donation, free before 10:30 a.m. The 40-year old SF Vegetarian Society sponsors this expo of veggie livin’ — expert speakers talk science and advocacy, and there’ll even be a round of vegan speed dating for those hoping to share their quinoa with a like-minded meatless mama.

Alternative Press Expo (APE) Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. (619) 491-1029, www.comic-con.org/ape. Check website for times and prices. The indie version of Comic-Con offers a weekend designed to give budding comics a leg up: workshops, keynote talks by slammin’ scribblers, issue-based panel discussions, and tons of comics for sale.

 

OCT. 2

Castro Street Fair Castro and Market, SF. (415) 841-1824, www.castrostreetfair.org. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., free. This is no standard block party — big name acts take the stage at our historic homo ‘hood’s neighborhood get down, and along the curbs, crafters and chefs park alike.

 

OCT. 7-15

Litquake Times, locations, and prices vary. www.litquake.org. Our very own literary festival has grown a lot — the Valencia Street LitCrawl tradition has even spread to Austin and New York — check out its schedule for a chance to see one of your favorite scribes live and reading.

 

OCT. 9

Italian Heritage Day Parade Begins at Jefferson and Stockton sts., SF. (415) 703-9888, www.sfcolumbusday.org. 12:30 p.m., free. Peroni floats and courts of teenaged “Isabellas” reign supreme at this long-running North Beach cultural day.

Decompression Indiana outside Cafe Cocomo, SF. www.burningman.com. Check website for times prices. The Burning Man after-after-after party will be slammin’ this year, what with all the playa peeps that couldn’t score a ticket in the sell-out.

 

OCT. 15

Potrero Hill Festival 20th St. between Missouri and Arkansas, SF. potrerohillfestival.eventbrite.com. 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., free. $12 for brunch. A New Orleans-style mimosa brunch with live music kicks off this neighborhood gathering, also featuring a petting zoo and traditional Chinese dancers.

Noe Valley Harvest Festival 24th St. between Sanchez and Castro, SF. www.noevalleyharvestfestival.com. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., free. Your little pumpkins can get their faces painted at this neighborhood fest, while you cruise the farmer’s market and meet the neighbors.

 

OCT. 15-16

Treasure Island Music Festival Treasure Island, SF. www.treasureislandfestival.com. $69.50-219.50. Indie fever takes a hold of the island this weekend, with a varied lineup this year featuring Aloe Blacc, Death Cab for Cutie, Empire of the Sun, and Dizzee Rascal.

 

OCT. 22

CUESA Harvest Festival In front of the Ferry Building, Embarcadero and Market, SF. www.cuesa.org. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., free. Butter churning, cider pressing, weaving demonstrations, and a chance to pick the mind of Bi-Rite Market founder Sam Morgannam.

 

NOV. 12-13

Green Festival SF Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. www.greenfestivals.org. Sat, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Check website for prices. What would the sustainability movement be without endless halls of hemp backpacks and urban farming lectures? Keep up with the (Van) Joneses at this marquee environmental event.