The "How Weird Street Faire" is an enigmatic happening that takes over several blocks of San Francisco each year. The organizers, The World Peace Through Technology Organization, have put on the fantastic festival for 19 years.
"It's all about peace, love and having a good time," said How Weird Marketing and Stage Director Justin Weiner.
Weiner told ABC7 News that the event's unique vibe was born out of a rave culture that culminated over 19 years ago in the warehouses and abandoned storefronts of San Francisco, bringing DJs, partiers, and the original Merry Pranksters together for events of self-expression.
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Today's "How Weird Street Faire" invites and even embraces the "weird," which has historically been the heart of San Francisco.
Things that you don't normally see on the streets each day explode onto the pavement like a "Where's Waldo" book come to life. Everywhere you looked you could spot something visually arresting like a banana carrying a gun that shoots bubbles, or a child doing the famous "backpack kid" dance wearing a mask that looks like it came out of a Missy Elliot video from the late '90s.
You almost have to set yourself up to see the "Faire" through the lens of the "weird."
Where else can you see a man dressed as a Narwhal shimmy against the LinkedIn building while a woman in head-to-toe mermaid sequin looks on in approval?
The theme for 2018 was "Disco Ball Inferno," and with a shiny flourish of glitter and glam the revelers of the Faire set phasers to fun. "Ah, this is THE music," said one woman as she shook her long, black hair next to a man who was dressed exactly like Rick James.
A showcase of art, music, visual expression, and even more, the Faire brings together hundreds of people looking for that San Francisco spark that they know and love. A mix of all ages from baby boomers to Gen yers danced and sang and boogied on down in the streets of San Francisco, set against a cold metal landscape, color exploded and voices rang out "Yas! Woo! Yay! Peace! Love!"
The event's website describes a longing for the past, and the art that typified it. "In the not too far away future, we shall harken back to a simpler time, a funkier time, a more colorful time. It was a time of bellbottoms and big collars. A time of big cars and bigger hair. A time when lava lamps lit the land and rocks were pets. Remember when fun was really fun?"
The #HowWeirdStreetFaire is perfect chaos at its its finest, art installations set against booming speakers with ATMs close by. Modern day San Francisco collided with a rave culture experienced by few but remembered by many. pic.twitter.com/u3Ac49tUh3— Tess Stevens (@TessStevens) May 7, 2018
Crowds danced, listened to music, viewed new works of art and created art themselves in the streets. Vendors selling art made with found materials like metal and old skateboards called out to crowds clad in sequins and feathers saying, "Hey! Art still lives in SF, now buy it!"
Multi-million dollar buildings full of condos you can only dream of affording gave way to a ground-level rave where people dressed as animals listened to booming bass and drums from djs in make-shift atomic bombs and jungle-themed stages. The wildness of the old collided with the sleek newness of a San Francisco focused on tech and business.
To the outsider, this event was a time warp set against today, people fighting for simpler times with disco and dreams.
Watch the 360 video embedded above to go inside one of the most unique events in San Francisco.
Click here for more information on the "How Weird Street Faire."