Castro Street Fair is tops
by Cynthia Laird
A new winner in the best fair or festival category, organizers of the long-running Castro Street Fair were ecstatic when told of the Best of the Gays honor.
"In a city that is world-renowned for outdoor festivals and events (queer, straight, athletic, musical, or otherwise; and all of the above), it is truly an honor to be recognized as a stand-out by your readers," George Ridgely, executive director of the fair, said in an email. "In the company of such stellar events as Folsom Street Fair and Pride, it is particularly sweet to receive this honor on the eve of our 40th anniversary – which is coming this October."
There's a lot of history to the Castro Street Fair, which was founded by slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk in 1974. Ridgely said that the fair strives to honor Milk's original vision for the fair, and embody all that is San Francisco and the Castro. The historical, hyper-local, grassroots event includes entertainment for families, dancing, informational booths, food and drink, and much more.
A big part of the Castro Street Fair, like many others in the city, is to raise money for nonprofits. Every year the fair supports 20-30 beneficiary groups. Ridgely pointed out that the fair also helps fund the rainbow flag that flies at the corner of Market and Castro streets.
"We have raised over $1.1 million since 1998 and we couldn't have done this without the generous gate donations of our attendees," Ridgely noted.
This year's 40th anniversary edition of the fair is sure to be a smashing success, so put the date on your calendar and come out on Sunday, October 6. www.castrostreetfair.org.