FALL ARTS 2014 A cornucopia of outdoor and indoor fun, family-friendly events, and adult playgrounds
Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival Haight between Masonic and Stanyan, SF; firstname.lastname@example.org. Noon-6pm, free. Yep, it's another street fair on Haight — but this brand-new event has a highly local focus, since it's sponsored by local merchants. Expect three stages of music, kids' activities, a skate ramp, and more.
Sea Music Festival San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, Hyde Street Pier, SF; www.nps.gov/safr/planyourvisit/seamusicfestival2014.htm. 9am-5pm; evening chantey sing, 7:30-9:30pm. Outdoor performances free; admission to historic ships $5 (15 and under with adult supervision, free). Learn about maritime history through music at this all-day fest of traditional and contemporary songs, instrumentals, and dances. The Sea Music Concert Series continues aboard the Balclutha Sept 20, Oct 25, and Nov 25 ($12-14 or a season ticket, $36).
Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point, SF; ghirardelli.com/chocolatefestival. Noon-5pm, $20-40. Help raise money for Project Open Hand and satisfy your sweet tooth at this 19th annual dessert and wine fiesta. In addition to offering samples of gourmet goodies from over 50 vendors , Ghirardelli hosts chef demos, a silent auction, a "Chocolate School" (learn about the chocolate-making process!), and the ever-popular hands-free sundae-eating contest.
Comedy Day Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; www.comedyday.com. Noon-5pm, free. This year's incarnation of the free, all-day comedy festival is dedicated to the memory of supporter (and frequent unannounced performer) Robin Williams.
Sunday Streets: Western Addition Fillmore between Geary and Fulton; Fulton between Fillmore and Baker, SF; www.sundaystreetssf.com. 11am-4pm, free. What traffic? Explore the neighborhood (including Alamo Square) on foot or bike.
Eat Real Festival Jack London Square, Oakl; www.eatrealfest.com. Sept 19, 1-9pm; Sept 20, 10:30am-9pm; Sept 21, 10:30am-5pm. Free. Billed as a combo "state fair, street-food festival, and block party," this fest offers sustainable, regionally-sourced eats (BBQ, ice cream, curry, and more) costing eight bucks or less.
Oktoberfest by the Bay Pier 48, SF; www.oktoberfestbythebay.com. Sept 19, 5pm-midnight; Sept 20, 11am-5pm and 6pm-midnight; Sept 21, 11am-6pm. $25-75 (Sept 20-21 day session, kids 13-18, $5; must be accompanied by parent). The Chico Bavarian Band returns to add oompah to your eating and, more importantly, drinking experience. Prost!
Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival #58 Old Mill Park, 325 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; www.mvfaf.org. 10am-5pm, $5-10. Over 140 fine artists participate in this fair, which is held in a can't-be-beat location (hi, majestic redwoods) and also features live music and children's entertainment.
Folsom Street Fair Folsom between Eighth and 13th Sts, SF; www.folsomstreetfair.com. 11am-6pm, $10 donation requested (donation sticker entitles wearer to $2 off drinks). The leather and fetish fantasia returns with over 200 exhibitor booths, two giant dance floors, public play stations, erotic art, and more.