IF YOU’VE been wondering where all the headline acts and theater companies go in that long gloomy stretch before the fall season, take a look at some of the entertainment featured in the following fairs and harvest festivals. Not only do Bay Area late-summer and autumn celebrations provide space for artists, craftpeople and nonprofit organizations to peddle their wares, many feature performers like Maxine Howard, Modern Jazz Quartet, the Asian American Dance Collective and many, many more. In part two of our third annual guide to Bay Area street fairs, we’ve listed TK celebrations from the beginning of August through October. Unless otherwise noted, the fairs — and the entertainment — are free. For more information, or in case you’d like to participate, call the telephone number listed at the end of each festival description.
Nihonmachi Street Fair The streets of Japantown come to life with live entertainment, food booths, arts and crafts and games. Headliners on Saturday include the top-40 group Desire, while Sunday features jazz recording artist Deems Tsutakawa. On both days, Spirit of Polynesia, the Asian American Dance Collective and the Chinatown Lion Dance Collective perform ethnic dances. The event also features Children’s World, with activities and arts and crafts designed especially for two-to 12-year-olds. 11 am-5 pm in Japantown, Post and Buchanan, SF. 922-8700.
Festiva Latino ALL FURTHER INFORMATION TO COME ON MONDAY BECAUSE I LOST THE FOLDER THAT HAD ALL THE STUFF IN IT. I DON’T KNOW HOW I LOST IT BUT WE NEED AT LEAST TO MENTION ALL THE STARS THAT WILL APPEAR. PHONE NUMBER: 543-3030.
ACC Craft Fair From custom-made saddles and porcelain lamps to cedarwood desks and ornamental jewelry, this fair highlights the distinctive work of 300 artists from across the nation, including 75 from Northern California. All of the artists are chosen on the basis of integrity of design and excellence of execution, and the show’s organizers say they hope to elevate crafts into a major industry and an important art form. Adults, $4; children under 12 free. Fri., 11 am-8 pm; Sat., 11 am-6 pm; Sun., 11 am-5 pm. Fort Mason Center, Piers 2 and 3, Bay and Laguna, SF. 526-5073.
Reggae Explosion, ’87 Presented in the style and tradition of Jamaica’s famous annual Sun Splash concert, this event features Haitian art, Caribbean crafts and Jamaican cuisine, as well as dance, poetry, raffles and prizes. Musical artists include the internationally known Don Carlos and his Freedom Fighters Band, Strictly Roots and the sweet steel drums of Val Serrant. $8 in advance; $10 at the door. 1-11 pm, Fort Mason Center, Pier 3. Sponsored by the Western Addition Cultural Center. 921-7976.
Palo Alto Celebrates the Arts Festival Wine tasting and dancing in the streets will bring even more sunshine to Palo Alto’s University Avenue. Wares include high-quality ceramics and pottery ranging from dinnerware and stoneware as well as paintings, prints and one-of-a-kind furniture to decorate and distinguish the home. 10 am-6 pm, University Ave., Palo Alto. Sponsored by the Downtown Palo Alto Arts Fair Committee. 346-4446.
August 22-September 27
The Renaissance Pleasure Fairs A large grove of live oaks provides the setting for spirited pageants and merry parades that attempt to recreate a 16th-century Elizabethan country village. The Northern California Renaissance Fair is an autumn harvest festival, with music and dancing, hearty foods and rare hand-made crafts. Queen Elizabeth and her court are among the more than 1,000 costumed entertainers. Visitors are encouraged to arrive in period dress and join the fun. Adults, $10.50; seniors, $8.50; children under 12 free. Weekends and Labor Day, 10 am-6 pm. Located at the Blackpoint Forest in Novato, Hwy 37 to the Blackpoint exit. Sponsored by the Living History Center. 620-0433.
San Francisco Fair and International Exposition This year’s fair has an international flavor with its theme “San Francisco: Gateway to the Pacific.” San Francisco’s sister cities of Manila, Osaka, Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei and Hong Kong each have their own pavilion, to exhibit the individuality and heritage of each city and country, and highlight San Francisco’s thriving relationship with her sister cities. The fair also features a wine pavilion, a San Francisco history exhibit and, of course, the famous contest program, featuring such past favorites as the “Financial District Strut,” the “Impossible Parking Space Race,” the winners of the Bay Guardian Cartoon Contest and new additions including the “SF Safe Sex Button,” and “Freeways to Nowhere.” Adults, $5; seniors, $3; youth aged 5-15, $2; children under 5, free. Aug. 27th is “Youth Day” (all youth 15 and under admitted free); Aug. 28th is “Senior Day” (seniors admitted for $1.50). 11 am-9 pm, Civic Auditorium, Brooks Hall, Civic Center Plaza, SF. 557-8758.
122nd Annual Scottish Gathering and Games Come join 40,000 Scots for three days of music, dancing, food and contests. Highlights include the Highland Dancing Championships and the Caber Tossing Championship (a caber is a log the size of a telephone pole tossed end-over-end for accuracy). More than 50 clans are expected to set up tents and display their family tartans and coats of arms. Tickets for the Friday night Musical Pageant and Twilight Tattoo are $5 grandstand; $6 box seat, 8 pm, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Sat. and Sun., adults, $11 one day, $16 both days; youth 11-16, $6 each day; seniors, $5 each day; children under 11, free. Sponsored by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. 897-4442.
A la Carte, a la Park Here’s your chance to picnic with more than 60 top Bay Area restaurants — De Paula’s, Firehouse Bar-B-Q, Vanessi’s Nob Hill and Hunan, among others — presenting their specialties at special prices to benefit the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Free-Shakespeare-In-The-Park program. Sample the great cuisines of the world while enjoying a series of classical and jazz performances and samplings from the drama of William Shakespeare. $2.50 voluntary donations encouraged. 11 am-6 pm, in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow on JFK Drive across from McClaren Lodge, SF. 441-4422.
Concord Fall Fest This fourth annual Labor Day weekend festival, held in Todos Santos Park, features grape stomps, chili cook-offs and a 10K run. Less energetic fairgoers can enjoy an open-air marketplace of arts and crafts, food booths and live music. 10 am-6 pm, Concord (take Willow Pass Road exit from 689). Sponsored by the Concord Chamber of Commerce. 346-4446.
Sausalito Art Festival One of Northern California’s largest outdoor fine arts exhibitions, the 35th annual art festival is held along the beautiful Sausalito waterfront. More than 100 artists and craftsmen from around the world exhibit a total of 4,000 works of art. A variety of non-stop entertainment will be provided, along with 26 international food booths. Festivities begin Friday night, Sept. 4th, with fireworks and a black-tie party. The Breakers to Bay run begins along the Pacific at Fort Cronkhite in Marin at 8:30 am (register by August 18th). Adults, $3; children 6-12, $2; under 6, free. 10 am-6 pm, Bridgeway and Litho, Sausalito. Sponsored by the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce. 332-0505.
Arts Explosion This Labor Day festival celebrates the end of summer with a bang (fireworks) and launches the fall arts season. Complementing the showcase of outstanding Bay Area musicians and dance companies will be original performance works; “art by the yard” and a sculpture “glue booth” for children of all ages; an “Arts Row” with a variety of opportunities to interact with local arts organizations. Children under 12 free; adults, $1. 11 am-9 pm, Estuary Park on Embarcadero West, Oakl. Sponsored by the Oakland Festival of the Arts. 444-5588.
Russian River Jazz Festival Bring your suntan lotion, beach chairs, blankets and swimsuits, and swing to the sounds of the legendary Nancy Wilson, Maynard Ferguson and High Voltage, the Wayne Shorter Quintet and a host of others. This year, the festival features two stages set at the river’s edge, with a spectacular backdrop of redwood-covered mountains. Food and crafts will also be available. $23 single day; $42 for both days. Located at Midway Beach near Guerneville. (707) 887-1502.
15th Annual San Francisco Blues Festival The oldest ongoing blues festival in the U.S. offers two days of performances by blues greats from around the country, an unmatched view of the Bay and a superb array of New Orleans and Louisiana cuisine. Saturday’s music lineup includes Johnny Winter, Lonnie Brooks and Oakland’s own Maxine Howard, and on Sunday Roomful of Blues, Albert Collins and Memphis Slim play. $10 in advance; $12 at the door; $16 for a special two-day ticket available in advance only. Noon-6 pm at the Great Meadow, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF. 826-6837.
24th Street Merchants’ Cultural Festival The 24th Street Fair celebrates Latin American Independence as well as creating a community gathering for artists, residents and merchants. Visitors can enjoy Latin American food and arts and crafts with a Latin theme. A plethora of information booths provides literature on community activities and five stages continuous entertainment by local groups. 11 am-6 pm, 24th St. from South Van Ness to Potrero, SF. Sponsored by the Mission Economic and Cultural Association. 826-1401.
30th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival Monterey Jazz Festival swings again, this year featuring more than 25 superstars, including Ray Charles, The Modern Jazz Quartet, B.B. King, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Etta James and Bobby McFerrin. The event also features food and merchandise booths, and the sponsor, MCI Communications, offers visitors the opportunity to call anywhere in the U.S. free of charge. Although the main stage events are sold out, grounds admissions tickets are still available and allow the bearer access to the outdoor Garden Stage and the indoor Nightclub, which host many of the headliners. $15 a day. Fri., 5 pm-midnight; Sat., noon-midnight; Sun., noon-10 pm. 775-2021.
Mill Valley Festival More than 100 artists, selected by a jury, exhibit their wares at this arts-and-crafts fair set in a beautiful redwood grove. Food, continuous on-stage entertainment and activities for children make this one of the premiere fine arts festivals in the country. Voluntary donations requested. 10 am-6 pm, Old Mill Park, Throckmorton and Old Mill, Mill Valley. 381-0525.
Pan-Pacific Exposition Art and Wine Festival This city-wide festival is held on the site of the 1915 World’s Fair. Horse-drawn carriages and vintage cars transport visitors to the glories of bygone days as the festival celebrates the highlights of San Francisco history. Enjoy ragtime music, a historic fashion show and pennyfarthing bicycle races. Several wine gardens offer premium wines from select California vineyards. 10 am-6 pm, Marina Green, Lyon and Marina, across from the Palace of Fine Arts, SF. Sponsored by the San Francisco Council of District Merchants. 346-4446.
Folsom: Dimension IV! Now in its fourth year, this fair has established itself as the “End of Summer” celebration. Staged on the equinox of 1987, the fair again features the mascot “Megahood,” who breathes fire and smoke over the crowds. Entertainment includes the Folsom All Stars, the Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra and Viola Wills. Expect high-energy performances and technological innovations and one of the most diverse display of local artistry and crafts. The fair is a benefit for the San Francisco Aids Emergency fund and the South of Market Community Association. 11 am-7 pm, Folsom between 7th and 12th St., SF. Sponsored by Budweiser Corporation. 863-8579.
The Pacific Coast Fog Fest Visitors to the Pacific coastline are treated to historical and humorous displays at the Fog Fest. Diners may feast on seafood and of course fogcutters are the featured cocktails. Vintage cars, arts, crafts, continuous entertainment and fog-calling contests make this a welcome new Bay Area event. 10 am-6 pm. Located on Palmetto Ave., between Shoreview and Santa Rosa in Pacifica, Hwy 1 to Paloma exit. Sponsored by the City of Pacifica. 346-4446.
Fiesta Italiana A weekend family event, this year’s fair promises to be the “Besta Festa.” The celebration of Italian-American culture features Italian cooking demonstrations, wine tasting and grape stomping. Mayor Dianne Feinstein is scheduled to cut the pasta ribbon to open the ceremonies, Sergio Franchi will headline with two shows a day and the Italian design Ford Concept Car is on display. Fireworks are scheduled for the end of each day. Adults $8; children $1.50; Seniors and disabled $5 (free from noon-6 pm on the 2nd). Noon-midnight, noon-10 pm on Sun. Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf, Shed A and C, SF. Sponsors include Pepsi, Ford Motor Co., Budweiser, Sony, Lucky Stores, EFS Savings and the Port of San Francisco. 673-3782.
Castro Street Fair Started in the back room of Harvey Milk’s camera store in 1974, this neighborhood fair has become a city-wide event. Musicians, bellydancers and jugglers appear with prom queens, urban cowboys, visitors from outer space and the Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps. A variety of music, comedy acts and more than 200 arts and crafts displays are also scheduled. Castro between Market and 19th, SF. Sponsored by the Castro Street Fair. 346-2640.
Harvest Festival For three weekends, the nation’s largest touring festival of handmade crafts, fine art, music, theater and cooking transforms Brooks Hall into a colorful 19th-century village. The event features bluegrass and country bands, continuous stage entertainment, jugglers, acrobats and wandering minstrels, as well as the hundreds of unique shops that line the walkways. Center Stage headliners include Riders in the Sky, and the famed musical comedians the Brass Band, winners of the top prize at the Edinburgh, Scotland Performing Arts Festival. Adults $5; children 6-11, $2.50; children under 6, free. Fri., noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun., 10 am-7 pm, Brooks Hall, Civic Center. 974-4000.
Art and All That Jazz on Fillmore A second-year revival in remembrance of Fillmore Street’s heyday of music, known in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s for its hot jazz and blues clubs. Two days to celebrate San Francisco’s jazz roots with fine arts, fine food and fine wine in outdoor cafes. 10 am-6 pm, Fillmore between Post and Clay, SF. Sponsored by the Fillmore Street Merchants’ Association, the Pacific Heights Homeowners’ and Merchants’ Association. 346-4446.
Montclair Village Fair The winding streets of Montclair Village provide a charming locale for this neighborhood fair, where 50 artisans sell crafts and local schools, business and nonprofit organizations sell food. This year’s fair has a circus theme, with strolling flutists and meandering mimes helping to create a carefree atmosphere. A pancake breakfast kicks things off and is followed by hayrides in Montclair park. 11 am-5 pm, LaSalle at Mountain, Oakl. Sponsored by the Montclair Business Association. 339-1000.
Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival Artists and craftspeople from across the United States display wares in more than 250 booths and all-day entertainment features blue grass to rock-and-roll at this “something for everyone” festival. As you might expect, pumpkin goodies abound and the fair kicks off with two pie-eating contests. Other events include a Pumpkin Festival Run and a pumpkin-carving contest. 10 am-5 pm, Main Street in Downtown Half Moon Bay. Sponsored by the Coastside Chamber of Commerce. 726-5202. *