Thousands march in Carnaval parade


The parade, part of the two-day Carnaval San Francisco 2008 event that began Saturday, kicked off at about 9:30 a.m. at 24th and Bryant streets, traveling to Mission Street, and then along 17th Street to the festival area.

An estimated 300,000 people attended the event and approximately 7,000 performers participated in the parade, said Denise Lamott, a spokeswoman for the festival.

Sonja Roberts, a San Francisco resident who traveled the parade route alongside members of the nonprofit group Caribbean Roots and Culture, neared the finish area around noon.

Attached to Roberts' back was a flat, colorful and circular 20 foot by 16 foot "Caribbean sun."

"It's excruciating but fun," Roberts said of lugging around the sun, which weighed about 45 pounds.

Joan Fournier of Oakland, Nancy Powers of Alamo, and Mary Giuffrida of Vallejo, all dressed up as butterflies as they danced alongside members of MaraReggae, a San Francisco-based performance group and dance community that celebrates Brazilian traditions.

"The energy of the crowd was really good," said Powers.

The three, all of whom have attended the event for a number of years, got together prior to the parade to put on makeup and their costumes.

More than 80 parade groups marched through the Mission District before the parade wound down.

This weekend marked the 30th anniversary of Carnival San Francisco and this year's event was themed "Many Cultures - One Spirit."

"All different cultures from around the world are represented," Lamott said.

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