Thousands enjoy annual Carnaval Festival in SF


The dazzling sights and sounds of the Latin American and Caribbean cultures reverberated down 24th and Mission streets for Carnaval's grand parade.

"The Carnaval parade is magical," said the parade's executive producer Roberto Hernandez. "It's something that you would have to go to Brazil, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, Bolivia, and all these countries. But here in San Francisco's the only Carnaval parade where you get to see a little bit of all of it."

It's the 35th year for California's largest annual multicultural event, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the Mission District to enjoy food, music, and art over the course of two days.

This year's theme -- Carnaval Harlem Shake -- was relished by all.

"There's a lot of different races out here," parade participant Anastacio Echevarria said. "We don't look at it only as Latinos and Latinas, it's for everybody. It doesn't matter who you are."

"We just live like down around the corner, so all weekend long, we hear the energy and the music," San Francisco resident Kelli Duehning said. "And it's just, you can't help but be a part of the fun. So, I love it."

If you can believe it, all of this almost didn't happen! Organizers didn't have the $1 million dollars they needed to put this two-day party together, but in a miraculous 82 day push, donors made it possible, Carnaval San Francisco is alive once again.

"Oh, I can't imagine not having Carnaval," spectator Ericka Moreno Shoemaker. "I'm born-and-raised in San Francisco. I've come every year since as long as I remember."

Donations and 513 volunteers ensure this tradition will be around for years to come.

"It's been a blessing, a true blessing, and a gift, and I just believe they're all angels," Hernandez said. "They're all angels for Carnaval this year."

The colorful parade kicked off at 9:30 a.m. and wrapped up around 6 p.m.

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