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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category


Happy 4th of July! Here’s hoping we don’t have fogworks

We hope everyone has a most excellent long weekend AND that @karlthefog stays away at least until 10pm tomorrow night :)

If you’re looking for ideas on where to watch the fireworks show, which are shot off in sync from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39, check out the guide on CurbedSF.

Here in the hood, we’re fans of walking up and over to Crissy Field to catch the who, or standing at Inspiration Point in the Presidio to see them (though some of them get cut off by the hills). Where do you like to watch from?

The show should start just shortly before 9:30pm. And if we do get fogged in, you can always watch the spectacular video above of the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th Anniversary fireworks show.


Sarah B.

12:28 pm | Posted under Events | 3 comments

Laugh your a** off at the YMCA Comedy for a Cause event, June 26

The Richmond District YMCA is back with their annual Comedy for a Cause fundraiser this Thursday night, where local comedians come out to donate their time (and make you laugh). The event takes place at Neck of the Woods at 406 Clement Street from 7pm until 10pm.

This year’s comic lineup includes:

Sammy Obeid (as seen on the Conan O’Brien show)
Ronn Vigh
Matt Morales (as seen on the Late Late Show)
Lydia Popovich
Trevor Hill (atheist comedy)

Check out videos of each comedian below. Tickets to the fundraiser are $20 and are available online. Proceeds from the event benefit community programs of the Richmond District YMCA through their Annual Giving Campaign.

Sarah B.

5:12 am | Posted under Events | 2 comments

Urban Family Farm Day at the Richmond Library, Saturday June 21

This Saturday from 12noon until 4pm, the Richmond District Branch Library will host an Urban Family Farm Day, featuring animal shows, raffles, and gardening activities.

Stop by the library to learn more about creating your own urban farm, including bee keeping and gardening tips.

Tracy the Animal Show Guy will also give a show at 2:30pm, presumably featuring farm animals like goats, chickens etc. Judging from his video, he looks like he puts on a fun show.

Saturday’s event schedule is:

12:00 – 1:00 Irish jigs and reels with Celtic Sands Trio
1:00 – 2:00 Plant exchange and raffle sign-up
2:00 – 3:00 Bee keeping presentation with Paul Koski
2:30 – 3:30 Animal show & petting with “Tracy, the Animal Guy”
3:30 – 4:00 Raffle and much more!

Admission is free! The Richmond District Branch Library is located at 351 9th Avenue.

Sarah B.

12:58 pm | Posted under Events, Kids | Add comments

SF Free Folk Festival at Presidio Middle School this weekend

On Saturday and Sunday, the San Francisco Free Folk Festival returns to Presidio Middle School for its 38th year of music and dance workshops, concerts, dance parties, crafts, vendors, formal and informal music-making, and fun activities for all ages.

This year’s schedule includes workshops like “Flash Mob Choir“, “East Coast Swing“, “Israel Dances Old and New“, “Songs of Simon and Garfunkel” and “African Dance and Drumming“. Needless to say, something for everyone.

Both days are packed with live music performances across five stages from artists like The Rowan Brothers, Windy Hill, Wronglers (once fronted by Warren Hellman), The Littlest Birds, Stringquake and many more.

The festival is very family friendly, and features a lineup of family-focused programming like a Children’s Music Network Song Swap, Kids’ Open Mic, and Songwriting for Kids and Wacky Adults.

Admission is free and the festival runs from 12noon to 10pm on both Saturday and Sunday. On-site parking is available in the Presidio Middle School (450 30th Avenue) lot for $8.

Sarah B.

5:01 am | Posted under Events, Kids, Live Music | 1 comment

Frolick on the open roads at Sunday Streets on the Great Highway, June 8

This Sunday, the first of two Sunday Streets comes to the Richmond District. This Sunday, streets in Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway from Fulton all the way down to Sloat will be closed to cars – and open to frolicking.

This is a great chance to hop on your bikes, strap on your rollerskates, or just stroll through Golden Gate Park and along Ocean Beach with complete freedom. Vendors and activities will be set up along the route, including live music, exercise classes, bike lessons and tune-ups, yoga and more. See the list below for complete details.

Want to make a game out of it? Download the Sunday Streets bingo card and play along for a chance to win prizes.

Sunday Streets runs from 11am until 4pm. And be sure to save the date for our next one on July 13 which takes place in the inner Richmond along Clement and Arguello Streets.

Sarah B.

9:41 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach | 2 comments

Memorial Day ceremony at USS SF Monument at Land’s End, Sunday

A 1937 photo of the crew aboard the USS San Francisco. Courtesy of USS SF Memorial Foundation

This Sunday from 12noon until 1:30pm, the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation will host a special ceremony in honor of Memorial Day.

The USS San Francisco Memorial Park is located at Lands End, in the parking lot below Fort Miley (map).

The monument is located in the parking lot and is “dedicated to the 100 Sailors and 7 Marines killed in action during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal 12/13 November 1942, and to all the men who served, fought and perished during the 17 major battles in which this heavy cruiser participated during World War II, from 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor, to the last battle at Okinawa, and the surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945.”

In 1942, the USS San Francisco was the first Navy warship to receive the Presidential Unit Citation from Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The ceremony will last about and hour and 20 minutes. Band music, provided by the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets “Band of the West”, commences at 11:30am. Complimentary Peet’s Coffee and home made cookies and cakes will be available at 11am, provided by the Presidio Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Sarah B.

Footage from the ceremonies in 2011 and 2010:

7:29 pm | Posted under Events | 2 comments

Saturdays are for Blue Herons in GGP & Science programs at Mt. Lake

A couple of nature programs came into our inbox recently…

We’re currently in the midst of the Great Blue Heron Watch at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Great Blue Herons have been nesting at Stow Lake since 1993, and it’s a great opportunity to come out and watch them with their chicks.

San Francisco Nature Education is in their 22nd year of leading Heron Watch walks every Saturday through May 17th. Naturalists and interns are also stationed at an observation site with spotting scopes, ready to offer spectacular views into the Great Blue Heron nests and answer questions.

Every Saturday, the free observation site is open from 10am until 1pm. Walks run from 10:30am until 12noon and allow you to observe chicks and other nesting birds from various spots around the Lake and Strawberry Island with a naturalist. The ticket price for the walk is $10, children are free. Meet at the observation site for the tour.

On the second Saturday of every month from May 10 until October 11, 2014, the Presidio Trust is sponsoring Science Saturdays, where scientists talk about topics relating to Mountain Lake and its ecological restoration. Hear researchers from a variety of disciplines talk on topics ranging from Archaeology to Zooplankton.

The free programs run from 2pm until 3pm and meet at the lake’s edge just below the playground (entrance at 12th Avenue and Lake Street). The schedule of talks is as follows:

May 10: Reintroducing Submerged Aquatic Vegetation to Mountain Lake and the greater Bay Area
Kathy Boyer, Associate Professor of Biology, San Francisco State University

June 14: Native Fish: Restoring the Three-spined Stickleback to Mountain Lake
Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

July 12: The History and Archaeology of Mountain Lake
Kari Jones, Archaeologist, Presidio Trust

August 9: Reintroducing the Western Pond Turtle to Mountain Lake
Nick Geist, Professor of Biology, Sonoma State University

September 13: Soils of Mountain Lake
Stephen Andrews, Soil Scientist and Lecturer, UC Berkeley

October 11: Butterflies of Mountain Lake and beyond
Liam O’Brien, Lepidopterist

5:05 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Parks, Wildlife | Comments Off

After 25 years, steep permit fees shut down Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic in GGP

“When we first started, we were a couple of grease-balls, a car and a sandwich,” Jimmy O’Keefe said when he described the first ever “Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic” that he organized in Golden Gate Park in 1988. It was just him and a few friends, parked on the road next to Lindley Meadow.

Jimmy was a SF Rec & Park gardener at the time, and in his own words, said his “drug of choice was junk cars”. So he and a few friends celebrated his 41st birthday by celebrating their vintage cars.

That was the beginning of an October tradition of Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic in Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadow. Every year, hundreds of vintage car owners would gather to show off their gleaming rides, share car stories, and make friends.

Datsuns would be next to Ford Model A’s, and souped up, hot rods would park alongside ’56 Chevy Bel-Airs. CEO’s parked next to tradesmen. It was a melting pot of old cars, and people. And it was very San Francisco.

Since it’s inception in 1988, the picnic raised tens of thousands of dollars from car owner’s exhibit fees to benefit developmentally disabled children at city organizations like The Janet Pomeroy Center and The Potrero Hill Neighborhood House.

The picnic was such a cherished tradition that the Board of Supervisors presented Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic with a Certificate of Honor in 2006 in celebration of their 18th year.

At center, picnic founder Jimmy O’Keefe

But just recently, O’Keefe announced on the event website that 2013 was the last year for the picnic. “We have decided to retire,” the website says.

We were saddened to hear the news of this longstanding tradition closing down, but weren’t surprised. The picnic’s organizers – including Jimmy’s daughter Jamie and a team of lawyers – have been fighting a 5 year battle with SF Rec & Park over skyrocketing permit fees that in the end, forced the event to shut down altogether.

When the picnic first started in 1988, Jimmy says permit fees to use Speedway Meadow for the day were reasonable; by 2008 it was at $1,650. The permit fee had increased slightly over the years but the event still managed to raise around $10,000 annually for developmentally disabled children, thanks in large part to a 20 year long sponsorship by Thrasher Magazine and one of its founders, Fausto Vitello.

But by 2009, the tides had shifted. New leadership was at the helm of SF Rec & Park and there was a renewed thirst for revenue to keep the department afloat and in the black. Contracts and vendors were re-evaluated, and events like Outside Lands were introduced to Golden Gate Park as a way to drive revenue, as much as $1 million per year.

Suddenly, an event like Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic looked like an old relic that didn’t fit in with the new SF Rec & Park mandate to drive revenue.

To make their point, Rec & Park raised the permit fee for Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic to $8,300 in 2009, a 500% increase from the year before. Still, the picnic took place on Speedway Meadow even though the proceeds for charity were significantly reduced.

Despite Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic complying with the new permit fees, the relationship between the picnic and Rec & Park continued to deteriorate.

In 2010, Rec & Park denied the picnic’s event permit, citing concerns over damage that Speedway Meadow would sustain from the event’s cars being parked on it for the day.

This was a puzzling new concern at the time, especially since Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic had already been going on for 21 years.

Jimmy had also just retired in 2007 from his job as a Rec & Park gardener in Golden Gate Park. Supporters argued he was more than qualified to take precautions with the Speedway Meadow lawn at the event. And when compared to the abuse Speedway Meadow had taken since Outside Lands began in 2008, it was a little ironic that Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic was being singled out for causing undue wear and tear on the park.

Jimmy, his family, and a team of pro-bono lawyers fought the permit denial in 2010. At the Rec & Park Commission hearing that February, nearly 50 supporters came to speak on behalf of the picnic, calling for its continuation.

“Jimmy’s is a San Franciso institution like the cable cars. God bless Jimmy!” one supporter testified.

After some heel dragging, Rec & Park issued the 2010 permit and the picnic went on as planned. But their permit fee was raised once again – to $9,000. At that rate, the picnic was barely breaking even and the proceeds for charity were down to a few hundred dollars. What used to cost each car owner $10 to exhibit was now up to $40.

The bleeding didn’t stop there. In 2011, the permit fees were jacked up 62% to $14,646. Then to $15,114 in 2012, and finally to just over $17,000 in 2013. Between 2008 and 2013, the total increase was just over 1000%.

“We got beat up,” Jimmy said when asked about the negotiations with Rec & Park.

But what hurt Jimmy the most during the battle was the city’s claim, stated in letters to the picnic and its organizers, that the picnic did not “provide cultural and recreational benefits to the city and its residents.”

‘We’re losing the identity of San Francisco,” Jimmy said when we talked to him about the picnic’s demise. “It was one of the few blue collar, working class family events left in San Francisco.”

Jimmy would know. He’s a 4th generation San Franciscan whose lineage goes back to the 1870s. After attending Lincoln High School, he served in the Navy in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968. After returning home, he studied horticulture at City College and began his career as a city gardener.

Jimmy’s three children all live and work in the city. Daughter Jamie, who took over organizing the picnic in recent years, is a museum professional and budding San Francisco historian. His other daughter Candace is a teacher and his son Kohl is a police officer.

Jimmy’s daughter, Jamie at a past picnic

“The picnic was never about me, it was about the kids in wheelchairs and a relaxed place where people could enjoy their cars and each other,” Jimmy said. “It was their picnic.”

Jimmy says others have encouraged him to find an alternate location to keep the tradition going, but he says it just wouldn’t be as fun, and that without the lawn and park setting, it would lose that picnic feel.

“I am really sad about it ending,” Jimmy said. “But I’m letting it go.” When he turns 67 this October, it will be bittersweet to celebrate without the picnic.

“We want to thank everyone who has been a part of the Picnic over the years, those who have helped make it happen, who helped save it, our sponsors and donors, and those who attended. Thank you for years of incredible cars, excellent food, and fantastic times with friends and family,” the website said.

We’re sad to see this San Francisco tradition come to an end. Thanks to Jimmy, his family, and all of the organizers throughout the years who brought this fun, unique event to Golden Gate Park that was enjoyed by many San Franciscans from all walks of life. We will miss it.

Sarah B.

5:02 am | Posted under Events | 81 comments