Puneet Varma (Editor)

Carnaval San Francisco

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Carnaval San Francisco

Carnaval San Francisco is an annual street parade and festival in San Francisco, California on the last weekend in May.


Parade and Festival

Carnaval San Francisco, a FREE 2–day annual family festival in San Francisco’s Mission District over Memorial Day weekend — on Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets — where guests can experience global cuisine, international music, dance, arts & crafts, and other fun activities and entertainment on every street corner for the entire family to enjoy. Carnaval San Francisco is the largest multi–cultural celebration on the West Coast.

Carnaval San Francisco 2016 Theme

"¡Viva La Madre Tierra!", celebrates Mother Earth's prevalence in many cultures worldwide as the manifestation of the natural world. She is the life giver and the sustainer of life; from her womb she gave origin to all the plants, animals, and people.

La Madre Tierra

The concept of La Madre Tierra, or Mother Earth is prevalent in many cultures throughout the globe. She is seen as the symbol of fertility, abundance and the manifestation of the natural world. She not only gives life but sustains it; from her womb she gave origin to all the plants, animals, and people.

Mother Earth is commonly viewed as a benevolent goddess, yet, like every mother, she knows how to get her point across and reprimand her children. She is a warrior and an ever present protector of her creations. Abuse her benevolence and you will feel her wrath by earthquakes, floods, droughts or wildfires.

Many people consider her to be a separate entity from the Earth when in fact, they are one and the same. Every organism is connected to her. Whether it’s the rain that falls on our crops or the microorganisms that help decompose them to recreate life, Mother Earth creates it all.

Over the past few decades, we have lost the love and reverence for our mother. We have destroyed and polluted her, and therefore ourselves. Many believe that the extent of the harm caused by humanity is so great that the damage may be irreversible.

Some scientists believe that we are experiencing our sixth mass extinction, with many species of plants and animals disappearing at 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the background rate of previous extinctions.

According to conservation scientist David Wilcove, there are an estimated 14,000 to 35,000 endangered species in the United States. That comprises 7 to 18% of U.S. flora and fauna. Much of this loss is due to man-made problems such as habitat destruction, economic exploitation and devastating changes in our climate.

Climate change affects us all. The atmospheric carbon dioxide is at an all-time high and shows no signs of decreasing. This comes coupled with an increase in global warming.

In California, many of our temperature sensitive crops are at risk of dying due to the historic drought. Many Californians are experiencing a rise in food prices as crops wilt in the fields. Some experts predict that food costs will increase even more nationwide as the food supply dwindles.

The dire situation we face is not only a call to action but a call to remember the lessons that Mother Earth has taught us: Maintain a balance in our environment and give our gratitude for all that the fertile earth provides. Most importantly, she has taught us that we are all connected in this journey that we call life.

Now, our mother is asking for our help.

Small actions can bring about great changes. Things such as recycling a bottle or soda can, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, reducing your car usage or reducing the amount of plastics used in daily life may seem small and unimportant; however, it is these little actions that when multiplied and joined together, can make a great difference.

Just like our ancestors who honored, thanked and respected our mother in a multitude of ways, we too must recall and learn from our history. Only by changing the destructive ways that we treat our planet can we can restore her back to the beautiful and divine entity that she is. As a species, we must rally to protect our most precious resource and be united in our cause: Que Viva La Madre Tierra, Long Live Mother Earth!


Carnaval San Francisco was founded by a group of artists organized by percussionist Marcus Gordon, dancer Adela Chu, and costume designer Pam Minor in 1979, who came together in Precita Park. The second Carnaval San Francisco was held in the Mission District's Dolores Park.

Since 2003, the Carnaval Grand Parade has run through the Mission District of San Francisco. The event is produced by Mission Neighborhood Centers Inc. (MNC) as a fund raiser for youth, children, family and senior programs. The Cultural Arts Committee (CAC) of MNC together with the Carnaval Advisory Committee oversee the administration of the parade and festival which contracts with long-time Mission District activist Roberto Hernandez to run the event. For the 2009 Carnaval the production of the parade and festival was turned over to event production company, Rita Barela & Associates while the CAC produced the other official events including the King and Queen Competition.

VIP Grand Parade Seating

Carnaval SF offers VIP Parade Seating where guests can enjoy more than 50 colorful music and dance groups from their own private reserved seats.

VIP Party at the de Young Museum

The de Young Museum hosts the official Carnaval Kick Off Party the week before the festival and parade. It's a FREE event where guests can get their Carnaval ON at this dance party featuring energetic dancers, fabulous costumes and a preview of what's to come at the Mission District extravaganza.

King & Queen Competition

In the month of April, Carnaval San Francisco embarks on a journey to select the annual Carnaval King & Queen. Contestants vie for the Carnaval San Francisco King and Queen crown with electrifying performances in Carnaval costumes, sometimes accompanied by other dancers and musicians.The winners of the competition will be crowned as King and Queen of the Annual Carnaval San Francisco Parade and Festival held at the end of May. Contest winners will serve as the Official Ambassadors at the Carnaval San Francisco Grand Parade and win a $500 cash prize!

Season Kick-Off: Fat Tuesday

In the month of February, Carnaval San Francisco invites everyone to meet their neighbors and make new friends at their Annual Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Celebration at THREE venues in the Mission! They have live music and dancers winding their way through the party! Fat Tuesday is the first event that kicks off the Carnaval SF season where guests can wear their costumes, masks & beads and join them in celebrating Fat Tuesday in true Carnaval SF style!


Carnaval San Francisco Wikipedia

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