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April 27, 2017
Carnaval is California's largest annual multicultural event; photo courtesy of Alex Mizuno

The 2017 Guide to San Francisco's Carnaval

The Mission District will sizzle with the sights and sounds of samba, salsa and more for the festival and grand parade on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, 2017.

Highlights

The Carnaval San Francisco Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28, 2017. The festivities center on Harrison Street in the Mission District between 16th and 24th Streets. The theme this year is “El Corazon de San Pancho - The Heart of San Francisco” in tribute to San Francisco's enduring legacy as a city that has always opened its heart to people from around the world.

The Grand Parade on Sunday, May 28, begins at 9:30 a.m. Spectators return year after year to see the floats depicting multicultural themes. Brazilian-style escola samba schools with as many as 300 performers dance through the streets in lavish, feathered headdresses and swirling Bahia skirts, while Caribbean contingents perform the music and dance of the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Other groups in the parade include Mexican Aztec performers, traditional African drummers, Polynesian dancers, Japanese drummers, giant puppets and folkloric groups representing Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia.

Grand marshal honors this year go to seven-time Grammy nominated percussionist John Santos and dancer Blanche Brown. Organizers also plan to pay tribute to musical icons Jerry Garcia and Carlos Santana, both San Francisco natives whose names are synonymous with the Summer of Love counterculture movement.

Parade route

The parade will start at the corner of 24th and Bryant Streets and proceed west to Mission Street. From there, the parade heads north on Mission down to 17th Street, where it will turn east to South Van Ness. Bleacher seats ($30) are available for the Grand Parade. 

Festival

The two-day festival on May 27-28 is from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and will unfold along Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets. The festival will feature an assortment of food, music, dance, arts, crafts and entertainment on several stages and appeal to all ages. Among the entertainers booked for the festival are Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Jesus "Chuchito" Valdes Cortes, Jr. Please note that no pets are allowed in festival area. 

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