Folsom Fair Celebrates 30th Year
As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, the Folsom Street Fair is making some changes while honoring decades of leather and kink tradition, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity, and welcoming newcomers.
"Come, have fun, dress up, and get in gear. Don’t recycle your Burning Man outfit, but come in your fetish gear, and have a good time," said Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, referring to the annual art festival that, like Folsom Street, is known for its creative outfits.
Last year, Moshoyannis’s nonprofit, which produces the Folsom and Up Your Alley street fairs and the Magnitude, Deviants, and Bay of Pigs parties, distributed about $324,000 from the events to AIDS-related and other charities. He hopes that this year’s checks will put the total handed out through the years over the $5 million mark.
This year’s fair takes place Sunday, September 29, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Folsom between 7th and 12th streets in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. There’s a $10 suggested donation. Donors will get $2 off each drink throughout the day. All gate donations go to the charities.
Main stage headliners include Light Asylum, Miami Horror, and Hercules and Love Affair.
Organizers have added an extra half hour to the event, in commemoration of their 30th year. But that’s just one of the new elements for the festival, which each year draws hundreds of thousands of people dressed in everything from leather dog costumes to nothing at all.
The erotic artists’ area is moving to Eighth Street, north of Folsom, and will feature a new performance art stage.
Constructs of Ritual Evolution will perform live, choreographed hook suspensions, where people will be suspended through hooks in their backs and other parts of their bodies.
Folsom Street is hoping to give more people the experience of thinking, "Am I really seeing what I think I’m seeing?" said Moshoyannis.
Also this year, elevated steel cage dancers will be returning to the fair.
The festival will include demonstration stations where people can find basic information about whipping and other types of BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism).
"We’ve never done that before," said Moshoyannis. "We feel like we want to step up our education efforts a little bit more."
Beefcake was on parade at the 2010 Folsom Street Fair.
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)
This will be the first Folsom Street Fair since the city outlawed public nudity, but urban nudists should not worry as permitted events such as the fair are exempt.
"With fewer opportunities" to be naked in public, Moshoyannis expects more people will be nude at this year’s festival.
Fair organizers are expanding the clothes check option, making two locations available. One will be at the bicycle parking area outside Mr. S Leather, 385 8th Street. The other will be near the main stage on 10th Street, just off Folsom.
Expenses for Folsom Street Fair alone are expected to be over $400,000. That includes some of the money that will be distributed to beneficiaries. The nonprofit hopes to have about $624,000 in income from the fair.
One of the agencies that will benefit from this year’s festival is Shanti, which provides emotional and practical support to people who are living with diseases including HIV and cancer.