It's Carnaval Weekend. Don't Settle for Meat on a Stick

What to avoid: Generic festival booths.

This weekend is Carnaval, the vibrant, skin-baring, two-day dance festival celebrating Latin American and Caribbean traditions. It rolls down a seven-block stretch of Harrison, between 16th and 22nd Streets.

Parking and walking options drastically change ― expect major crowds if you decide to walk any part of the Carnaval corridor. Grand Marshall eye candy in the form of brothers Peter and Benjamin Bratt, Mission natives and the talent behind La Mission, the movie.

If past years are any indicator, you'll see the odd Costco-sourced vendor, with bags of chips and shrink-wrapped croissants, cookies, and bagels, though thankfully, most options skew fresher and more local. Carnaval food booths (garlic fries and meat on sticks, with the occasional generic Mexican stand thrown in for good cultural measure) are the same you see at other Bay Area festivals. You can find tastier options at nearby taquerias and other eateries.

And bring your stash of ones and fives: There'll be ample opportunity to buy pan dulce, Mexican spiced hot chocolate, aguas frescas, tamales, and other handmade treats. We don't recommend trying to get the attention of the dancers with your bills, but that's entirely up to you.

Carnaval Parade and Festival

When: Sat.-Sun., May 29-30, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Harrison between 16th St. and 22nd St.

Cost: Free; bring cash for food and drink

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