San Francisco – April 2003
Spring brings with it daylight savings time, and the openings of a pair of revered San Francisco seasons:
Baseball’s back, and the beloved San Francisco Giants return to Pacific Bell Park, aiming to repeat last year’s dramatic World Series run. Living legend Barry Bonds and an intriguingly revamped supporting cast kick off the home schedule April 7th against division rivals San Diego. Fourth & King Streets.
The San Francisco Boating Season officially launches April 27th, with a bay parade of decked-out boats and vessels sailing the North Coast shoreline from the Presidio to Fisherman’s Wharf. Marina District, 415-823-6633.
April is prime season for wildflowers on Angel Island, the largely unheralded State Park in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Far bigger than Alcatraz, Angel Island rises 788 feet from the bay, and features 13 trail miles, bike and kayak access, nine campgrounds offering unrivaled sunrise views, and migrating birds harboring along the Pacific Flyway. The Blue and Gold Ferry disembarks daily from Pier 39.
In Japantown, spring blooms erupt in a cacophony of white petals during the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, with accompanying weekend tea ceremonies, art shows, and martial arts demos (4/12-20). Webster at Fillmore. Or sample the blooms and arrangements at the annual Macy’s Flower Show (4/12-26), with this year’s theme, “New Orleans.” Union Square; 415-393-3724
The merchants and restauranteurs of one of San Francisco’s hottest neighborhoods also throw the coolest biannual parties around: At the Hayes Valley Spring Block Party (4/25), proprietors toss open their doors to reveal varying entertainments, from elaborately themed decorations and DJs to wine, hors d’oeuvres, and killer shopping deals. 300-500 Hayes Street.
Fashionistas, scenesters, artists, and models collide to fabulous effect at Counter-Couture 4, San Francisco’s hot underground runway fashion show. Highlighting local, up-and-coming designers like Minnie Wilde, Latifa Medjdoub, Victoria Allen, and Venus Superstar, Counter-Couture starts early and parties deep into the night. Mezzanine, 440 Jessie @ Mint.
Hops and barley more your style? Belly up to survey from the 200+ global brews available at the San Francisco International Beer Festival, pouring April 12th at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. With food, music, hearty pourings, and global camaraderie all around. Fort Mason. For a practice run, fill up at O’Reilly’s Oyster and Beer Festival, hosted by the popular North Beach pub 4/5 in Washington Square Park. Columbus @ Union; 415-989-6222.
Film fans can select from the more than 200 features, documentaries, and shorts screening at Bay Area theatres during the San Francisco International Film Festival, 4/17-5/1. Choose single showings, or select from multiple pass plans, from the all-access Cinevisa ($600) to the Glam Pak ($125), which couples opening and closing films and parties. Around Town.
High concept / low budget is the formula for the Hi/lo Film Festival, which runs short films by indie filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond (4/11-13). San Francisco Art Institute.
The global travel downturn has one bright spot: Now’s the time to land some phenomenal deals and savings. Learn tips for maximizing your travel dollars, survey global hotspots, and enter to win prizes at the bustling Bay Area Travel Show, 4/5-6. Concourse Exhibition Center.
Finally, spring signals the start of neighborhood street festival season:
SoMa’s Howard Street evolves 4/20 into “How Weird Street,” a gathering of musicians, artists, performers, vendors, and others appreciating the value of self-expression. 12th and Howard.
Children and bunnies take center stage at the Union Street Easter Parade & Spring Celebration, with costumes, kid’s performers, a petting zoo and more (4/20). Union Street.
Artists, crafters, and Latin jazz and blues players highlight the Glen Park Festival, with proceeds going to upgrade the local library (4/27). 2800 Diamond St.
– Jay Cooke is a San Francisco-based travel, food, and culture writer, edits www.38geary.com.