Carnaval San Francisco is gearing up for a festive return on Memorial Day weekend! The highly-anticipated free event is back for its 45th year with the theme, “Celebrating 45 Years of Music and Movement.” The free festival features 5 stages, 50 local performing artists, and 400+ vendors. Save the dates for the festival on May 27-28 and the parade on May 28.
The event will bring back the Jardín de Hierba Buena which was the state’s first community-led, permitted cannabis garden. The garden will stretch down 17th and 16th streets as well as Treat Avenue and provide 21+ guests with a relaxed lounge space to consume cannabis purchased at the festival.
“Celebrating 45 Years of Music and Movement” will transform SF’s Calle 24 Latino Cultural District into an even brighter explosion of color and compassion. The theme is perfect for the community space on Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets, where visitors can enjoy performances from 50 local performing artists on 5 main stages. 400 vendors will line the streets with amazing international food from Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Haiti and many more.
Headliners this year are Colombian cumbia musical group La Sonora Dinamita and extremely influential post-revolutionary Cuban group Los Van Van. They’ll play from 4-6pm on Saturday, May 27 on 2 different stages: La Sonora Dinamita will be at 17th and Harrison, and Los Van Van will be at 22nd and Harrison.
The Grand Parade will take place on Sunday, May 28. The colorful procession starts at 9:30am at 24th and Bryant, heading west to Mission Street, north to 15th St and east to conclude at South Van Ness. Contingents will showcase dynamic floats with multicultural themes and performers including Brazilian-style escola samba schools; music and dance performers from around the Caribbean; Mexican Aztec performers; African and Japanese drumming groups; Polynesian dancers; giant puppets; and countless others.
“Artists in our beloved Mission District gave birth to Carnaval in 1978 with the belief that their passion for Latin, Caribbean and Afro-Diasporic music would unite people across ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientation, gender identification or religious beliefs,” said Rodrigo Duran, Executive Director of Carnaval San Francisco. “From the beginning, the sounds of salsa, samba, soca, mariachi, merengue,
cumbia, and reggae music paved the way for Carnaval to thrive. Now modern sounds such as funk, bachata, dancehall, hip-hop, Afro-beats and reggaeton have joined the mix, resonating with theyounger generation of revelers.”
Make sure to mark your calendar for Carnaval San Francisco, coming May 27-28, 2023 to San Francisco.