Businesses catering to Bay Area 'burners' boom

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The start of Burning Man, which brings out thousands to the Nevada desert, is just days away and that means big business hundreds of miles away here in the Bay Area. (KGO-TV)

The start of Burning Man, which brings out thousands to the Nevada desert, is just days away and that means big business hundreds of miles away in the Bay Area.

At Costumes on Haight, you'd think it was Halloween, but customers were there Wednesday to pick up items for Burning Man.

Manager Chuck Nicklow says so-called "burners" come for fun and wacky gear, but also items that are necessary in the desert: goggles, in case of a sand storm; fur, to stay warm; and lighting for nighttime.

"We get people from all over the world that come into town for Burning Man. They kind of use San Francisco as their launching place," Nicklow said.

In San Rafael, Sue Herbertson calls this her favorite time of year. She opened her shop, Wild Thang Festive Apparel, inspired by Burning Man.

"I make all of this so more art can be on the playa. And it's a busy, fun time of year," Herbertson said.

One of Herbertson's best-selling items for Burning Man is called, Elegant Arms, because it acts like wings on the playa.

Tower Car Wash in San Francisco plans to charge more for dusty cars returning from Black Rock Desert.

Back on Haight Street, Gordo McLachlan says they refuse to rent costumes for the event.

"We like to say once it goes out to Burning Man, it's never the same," McLachan said,

McLachlan says there's a running joke, that last year's burning man was always better.

"I don't know if maybe that's sour grapes by some of the people who have been going for years that have seen themselves left in the dust so to speak, or if it's just a changing environment," McLachan said.

In the early days, the festival was free. A ticket this year cost $390.
Related Topics:
societyfestivalcostumesbusinessSan FranciscoSan Rafael
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