'Family tradition': 46th Carnaval Grand Parade celebrates SF Mission's diverse cultures

ByRyan Curry, Cornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, May 27, 2024
Carnaval Grand Parade celebrates SF Mission's diverse cultures
A San Francisco tradition returned to the streets of the Mission District Sunday. The 46th annual Carnaval Grand Parade is a big celebration of cultures with deep roots in the Mission.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Carnaval is back in San Francisco and once again it is highlighting the city's diverse Latin community.

"Being Latino my parents coming here, there is something to be proud of, you know?" said Christian Solorio, a city resident who comes to event every year.

The city closed four blocks on Harrison Street so vendors, live performers, and festival attendees could gather for the annual celebration. Roberto Hernandez, one of the organizers, says San Francisco has so much diversity that needs to be shared with everyone.

"Here people get an opportunity to showcase who they are," he said. "Carnaval is celebrated around the world, and here in San Francisco, you get a little bit of everything from every country that celebrates Carnaval in all of Latin America and the Caribbean."

Carnaval is usually celebrated before Lent. However, the weather can sometimes challenge outdoor gatherings that time of year. Hernandez says moving it to Memorial Day weekend avoids any weather delays, and he says it is less about the religious ties and more about the culture. There was live music, dancing and plenty of food. Local vendors also used this as a way to connect with the community.

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"It helps people to get to know us," said Reggie Wise, a vendor. "It also helps people to have a good time and share the best that the mission has to offer and the best that the city has to offer."

On Sunday, the 46th annual Carnaval Grand Parade returned to the Mission District.

It's bold, bright and wonderfully loud. Lydia and her family never miss the Carnaval Grand Parade.

"This is a family tradition, I've been coming here since I was a little girl, now I have my daughter, nephew the whole family is here," said Lydia Avellan-McCoy.

This parade, stretching 20 blocks, celebrates the diverse Latin American, Carribean and African roots of San Francisco's Mission District, Carlos and friends are here for it.

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"It brings cultures together, I grew up the Mission and I was raised in the Mission," said Carlos Villanueva.

"Honestly, it's super fun to see all the different cultures come together, it's honestly amazing. We love to dance as you can see, we're having a blast," said Jacqueline Reyes.

Executive director, Rodrigo Duran says the 46th annual Carnaval is sending a message to the city and the world..

"Our theme this year is, Honoring Indigenous Roots, so we're taking an introspective look of who we are, what our roots are but in a fun colorful majestic way," Duran said.

After the parade, Mission restaurants and local food vendors are ready and willing to feed hungry parade goers.

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"Yesterday was really slow, the weather didn't help, today is a good day, more people," said food vendor, Robert Carranza.

Suemi Kauel says her 24th Street restaurant started early, cooking up extra food.

"Last year, we got busy after the parade - we got a full house," said Suemi Kauel from La Espiga De Oro.

"We're an economic driver, Carnaval San Francisco for 46 years we've been supporting more than 300 business outside," Duran added.

Later, there was dancing at the Carnaval Festival, with good memories of a parade, like no other.

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