San Francisco Carnaval festival in jeopardy

April 11, 2013 9:51:35 PM PDT
The colorful Carnaval festival held in San Francisco's Mission District every spring is in financial jeopardy. With only six weeks to go before this year's festival, organizers are short on both money and volunteers.

Carnaval is a two day event celebrated on the weekend before Memorial Day. But a few months ago, the organization running it said it no longer had the resources, the event had become too big and too costly, close to $1 million. That's when they turned to Roberto Hernandez, a community leader.

"I said you don't cancel Carnaval and you don't cancel Christmas," Hernandez said.

He and others in the Mission's art community began working to raise the money. The first thing they did was scale back. Their budget is now $300,000.

"It's insurance," Hernandez said. "Insurance has skyrocketed, permits, toilets and just a lot of safety to have a safe, great event."

Many say without Carnaval, the Mission would lose a part of its identity. That's something they are trying so hard to hold on to.

"We showcase some of the best music, musicians, some of the best dancers of the Bay Area, even their costumes and attire is an art form in itself," Ani Rivera said.

"It would be like losing a part of the Mission," Veronica Hernandez said.

The event organizers are still about $163,000 short. Volunteers are also needed.

"So if there are little angels out there who want to help save Carnaval, you can fly into the sky for the Carnaval week," Hernandez said.


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