Six months ago, the Castro Street Fair was in perilous shape.
When it rained early in the afternoon of the 2016 fair, traditionally held on the first Sunday in October, gate receipts and beverage sales fell precipitously. Faced with a cash shortfall and the possibility of losing longstanding relationships with community groups and other beneficiaries — including maintenance of the Castro’s giant rainbow flag — the board of directors deliberated the prospect of scrapping the 2017 fair altogether, to concentrate on 2018 and beyond. Executive director Fred Lopez called it a “nightmare scenario.”
As SF Weekly reported at the time, $15,000 worth of pledges from the city — chiefly via the Arts Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development — kept things afloat, and the overall picture improved.
So, rather than nix a neighborhood institution that Sup. Harvey Milk began in the mid-1970s, the Castro Street Fair announced this week that 2017’s event will occupy a smaller footprint, running from Castro Street from Market to 19th streets, and on 18th Street from Noe to Diamond streets. (In other words, Market Street itself will remain open to traffic.)
This Thursday, Aug. 3, the fair’s board will present the final draft of the 2017 plan to a meeting of the Castro Merchants Association. An updated map with the reconfigured stages and vendor areas will be announced in the weeks to come, along with a full list of performers.
The 44th Castro Street Fair, Sunday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., castrostreetfair.org