It's that time of the year -- the time when it's perfectly okay to dye your hair purple and sew a sequined tail to your boxer shorts. That's right, it's Bay to Breakers, the annual costumed footrace that makes San Francisco exactly what it is: wonderfully weird.
Originally created in May 1912 to uplift people's spirits following the devastating 1906 earthquake, Bay to Breakers, the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world, is now commonly known for the drunken debauchery on the Sabbath. But according to the official rules, alcohol and illegal drugs are no longer welcome at the race. In fact, if you are busted boozing or popping pills that don't belong to you, prepare to be disqualified or worse -- arrested.
The 12k race will begin at 8 a.m. and participants are expected to cross the finish line by 12 p.m. To move the masses early on, BART will start running at 6 a.m. on Sunday and provide additional trains that will run every 20 minutes. BART is advising Bay to Breakers participants to get off at the Montgomery Street station, which is a short walk away from the starting line at Howard and Spear streets.
Now for more rules: all participants will get an official race number that must be visible on the front of their ensemble. Also, try to have fun without offending anyone, no matter how tempting it may be.
To add to the list of no-nos: devices with wheels, including rollerblades, skateboards, or floats -- none of these things will be allowed on the course. And only bags that are small and clear are allowed this year.
Also, the southern half of Alamo Square, which is part of the course, will be closed to the public after nearby residents complained about noise. However, the remainder of the park will be open to everyone else.
Much about these type of events have changed since the Boston Bombing last year, which killed three people and injured hundreds more. This year, event organizers have increased private security by 20 percent. Expect to see many, many cops from the San Francisco Police Department stationed along the route of the event. Just know, the won't be there to cheer you on. In the mix of security will be officers from several other police forces across Northern California, including cops from West Sacramento. Even the feds will be out there monitoring your merriment.
Typically, the event results in more medical calls than calls for crimes, says Officer Albie Esparza. In other words, the cops are there primarily to baby sit drunks. "Rarely do we see violence," Esparza notes.
So basically, the message cops want you to takeaway from this: have a great time but don't be drunk and stupid.
"It's fun -- it's an event where everyone of all ages can participate," says Esparza.
So now that you've read this, you can get back to work putting on the finishing touches to your costume. We can't wait to see it on you.