How Weird Street Faire

Each spring, usually on the last Sunday in April, Bay Area weirdos, weirdettes and those whose weirdness transcends trivial classifications like gender, get together at Howard and Second Streets for the How Weird Street Faire. This Faire, affectionately known as Weirdi Gras, is a chance for residents and visitors to let their freak flags fly, dress up in goofy costumes, dance with strangers, laugh, eat, drink and generally have a great time.

The Faire is a bit of an equal opportunity poacher of great ideas from other street festivals from around the Bay Area, the country and the world. Organizers borrow liberally from Mardi Gras, complete with beads, bands, revelry, Creole cuisine, marching bands, impromptu street performances, organized crews that march in the parade and other fun mischief. The Faire also borrows liberally from art festivals, with a designated art alley where artists create on-site and showcase their work, body and face painting, an “art incubator” and other artsy flourishes. For weirdos who wish to get their groove on, there are ten stages located throughout the Faire with local, regional and national musical talent holding forth primarily in danceable techno with the occasional weird sound file added for flavor.

There are also lots of crafters with tables laden with all manner of stuff for sale from formerly-weird-but-now-mainstream tie-dyed clothing to Cat-in-the-Hat stovepipe hats to other hyphenated, caffeinated and probably illustrated goods. Now, you may be thinking that because this a festival dedicated to weirdness in a city known for a high tolerance for the outré, this is not an event for youngsters. You’d be wrong. There are lots of kids at this event every year and mostly, attendees keep their weirdness PG-rated, except for the occasional wardrobe malfunction. But, that’s bound to happen with thousands of happy people dancing in the streets.

If the sheer strangeness of this event sounds like your idea of a good time, then you should definitely plan on making your way to Howard and Second Streets in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood of San Francisco. There is some pay parking nearby but you are much better off taking mass transit, as the MUNI, BART, Transbay Terminal and Caltrain Station are a short walk away from the main entrance at Howard and New Montgomery Street. Organizers request a $10 donation at the gate, which is a very affordable price to pay for all that music, fun and weirdness.

Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Well, the going is most assuredly bound to get weird at the annual How Weird Street Faire. You can expect lots of pros and lots of fun if you head down to SoMa on the last Sunday of April! For more information, point your web browser at