Folsom Street Fair held every September is ‘The World’s Biggest Kink (BDSM) & Leather Gathering’ and is now California’s third-largest outdoor event. Located on historic Folsom Street in San Francisco, around 400,000 leather and fetish players from all over the world converge. With over 200 exhibitor booths showcasing fetish gear and toys, ‘twisted’ alternative stage acts, dance arenas and erotic art zone. It’s fun in the sun, a joyful celebration of LGBT and all things kink! And yes, you can even be naked while out in the sunshine! Or pull your pony cart, walk your puppies and just strut about in your leather & fetish finery in the daylight.
Folsom Street Fair wasn’t originally such a huge affair and had a different name back in September 1984 when it started. Against a backdrop of the fear created by AIDS with all its early prejudices, an urban renewal campaign intended to evict a large number of SoMa’s (South of Market, a neighborhood in San Francisco) bathhouses/saunas and gay bars and replace them with high-rises. So the festival then named ‘Megahood’ was to signify and celebrate that the neighborhood was important, thriving and not an “urban dump”. What began as a neighborhood festival first, took on the leatherish theme of the gay bars that once dominated the area and then morphed over three decades into a much larger celebration of BDSM and fetish cultures for gay and straight alike.
This year the FSF was met with some sparsely attended, fairly disorganized ultra right-wing protests continuing the fundamental conflict that spawned the Folsom Street Fair — a subculture trying to maintain its presence and identity in the face of rapid corporate development. Underscoring the enduring importance of the event – as just for one day a sexual subculture gets out in the open and joyously dominates their neighborhood! Oh and… the Fair donates all its profits to local charities, the arts and fetish organizations.
Check out the website: www.folsomstreetevents.org