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Mush! Mush! 

The Urban Iditarod's amazing race

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SAT 3/6

Somewhere in a SOMA parking lot, the challengers crouch tensely. Clad in doggy costumes, clown noses, Elvis jumpsuits, or just sweat pants and running shoes, lashed to shopping carts "borrowed" from Safeway before dawn, the teams wait at the starting line for their signal. And they're off! Weaving, stumbling, barking madly, they race headlong to their first stop: a bar. Did you really think it could be anything other than booze that would prompt such madness?

Each year since 1994, the Urban Iditarod has careened its way through San Francisco, an all-human tribute to the grueling Alaskan Iditarod race in which dog squads dash across 1,150 miles of harsh tundra. Of course, here participants merely scurry from one watering hole to another through the Wharf and Chinatown until they reach the Fort Mason finish, howling at tourists all the way. But we'll take our thrills where we can find them. Join in starting at 9 a.m. on Minna between Fourth and Fifth streets, S.F. Admission is free; visit www.urbaniditarod.com.
-- Joyce Slaton

Frisbee Time

SAT 3/6

Frisbee is so California: Nothing says "beach attitude" like the goofy game dogs can play. The Freestyle Frisbee Wintershred is led by freestyle pros. Fling your cares away at 2 p.m. at Ocean Beach, Great Highway near Fulton, S.F. Admission is free.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Smackdown

SAT 3/6

Though Westerners tend to downplay the distinctions among martial arts styles, there's a world of difference between, say, tai chi (flowing, gentle, yogalike) and kendo (torqued-up sword fighting). With its lightning-fast, spinning high kicks and fierce punches, Korean tae kwon do is one of the most ass-kicking of all. Get your fill of the sport's powerful clashes at the UC Open Taekwondo Championship, a daylong series of competitions, demonstrations of proper form, and Olympic-style sparring between masters and students as young as 6. The battles begin at 8:30 a.m. at Haas Pavilion, Bancroft & Telegraph, on the UC Berkeley campus. Admission is free-$7; call (510) 642-3268 or visit www.ucmap.org.
-- Joyce Slaton

Lost and Found

SAT 3/6

Having trouble navigating the urban jungle? Check out "Survival Skills 101." At this workshop the whole family enjoys a day outdoors with a sublime view of the Golden Gate Bridge while learning to navigate by compass, build a shelter, and light a fire sans matches. Then dig into lunch around the campfire and trade tall tales about enduring in the city's wilderness. Hone your handiness at 9:30 a.m. at the Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason (at Halleck), S.F. Admission is $15; call 561-7752 or visit www.crissyfield.org.
-- Jack Karp

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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