Bay Area Life

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58th Annual North Beach Festival

North Beach Festival 2012

The 58th Annual North Beach Festival took to the streets of historic North Beach, also known as “Little Italy”, this past weekend with Saturday being the extreme scorcher of the two day festival. The festival occupied the busiest streets of the district with Columbus Street, this year, completely closed off to through traffic from Broadway to Green Streets with the overflow of festival-goers inhabiting Washington Square to relax and enjoy the company of friends and the weather.

The festival enjoyed its greatest weather on Saturday with many people taking to the streets in shorts, skirts, dresses, and of course sunglasses. People enjoyed the festival while grabbing drinks at the many beer gardens scattered throughout the festival. The largest beer and wine garden was at the Green Street Stage where guests inhabited the normally parking lot by day location. Here guests mingled with each other while enjoying a beverage or two with live performances by upbeat bands. The Filbert Street Stage was a smaller scaled stage with a different calmer atmosphere with bands that played soothing jazz.

Similar to other street festivals in San Francisco, the streets were filled with arts and crafts booths, sponsor booths, food and drink booths, and live music. However, what sets this festival apart from the others in San Francisco is the street chalk artwork that takes place at Grant Ave. and Vallejo Street. This year five artists constructed chalk art with many onlookers watching the artwork being created on Saturday to the final finishing touches by the festival’s end on Sunday. Organizers of the festival also allowed the public to take part in chalk art on the sidewalk for a small nominal fee.

Also observed during the festival is the annual “Blessing of the Animals” held by the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. Hundreds of people and their animals occupied the building over the course of two days with Fr. Gregory Coiro presiding over the animal blessings.

Having been to this festival several times, a trip to the North Beach would not be complete without having tried pizza from the area. I had some this year and it was good. I won’t tell you where, so you’ll have to discover it on your own. If you want some delicious pizza, come out to this district and try the different styles that this area has to offer. Pizza comes in all sorts, thin crust, cracker crust, thick crust, and also Sicilian styled pizza. I haven’t come across a deep dish pizza in the North Beach, but then again it’s not a traditional type of pizza originating from Italy. Deep dish is synonymous with Chicago and though there are some deep dish pizza joints in San Francisco, I think this district has yet to see one. There are rumors though that one will be coming soon.

Until next time, Ciao.

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North Beach Festival 2012 (1)

Festival booths line Columbus Street.

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The crowded Grant Avenue facing south.

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Looking north on Grant Avenue at the North Beach Festival.

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A crowded Washington Square.

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Quest brings his slacklining to the park and allows others to try the sport.

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The jam packed Green Street Stage on Saturday afternoon.

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Columbus Street facing the Transamerica Pyramid.

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One of many Italian flag painted poles in the North Beach.

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Customers compare their choice colored t-shirts.

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Chalk artists design artwork on the streets of North Beach.

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Amos Goldbaum captures the old Embarcadero Freeway on a t-shirt. Does anybody remember this freeway pre-1989 earthquake?

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Can you believe this is her real hair?

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North Beach Festival is enjoyed by all. He particularly enjoys the No Stopping signs on Columbus Avenue.

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Two lovely ladies enjoy their puppets.

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A trip to North Beach is not complete without taking home a pizza.

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Two people enjoy a game of chess outside of a cafe at the North Beach Festival.

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Father Gregory Coiro blesses animals inside the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.

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SF Giants are represented at the North Beach Festival

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Two ladies enjoy gummy worms while selling hats at the North Beach Festival.

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Italian inspired clothing and tattoos.

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Jammin' on the electric guitar.

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Gettin' down with the music.

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Playin' jazz with Carol Doda in the background before she sings.

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The North Beach Festival is a family affair.

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The completed chalk artworks on Vallejo Street.

(If you like this post and would like to see more photographs please like and follow me on my Facebook page)


56th Annual North Beach Festival

56th Annual North Beach Festival (click here for images)

The North Beach Festival never fails to be one of my favorite festivals to attend in the summer in San Francisco. The pleasant aromas of Italian pasta sauces and freshly oven baked pizzas fill the air. This year’s festival received some amazing weather and the attendance was beyond great. People filled Grant Avenue and Washington Square to enjoy the fun and leisure of the festival. Great music, great food, great art, and great vendors filled every nook and cranny.

Throughout the day, both Saturday and Sunday, the streets were jam packed with people observing and buying local art, sampling and buying snacks from food vendors, obtaining information from informative booths, and the randomly placed street performers to entertain.

Two main stages kept the crowds entertained with great artists who played a lot of upbeat Jazz and Contemporary music. The stage at Washington Square has the capacity to hold thousands of people with food & beer vendors and product vendors surrounding the park. The Green Street stage has a smaller area, but that doesn’t mean that the artists performing there are anything but small. With that said there was great music on Green Street as well as local bars and restaurants surrounding the stage along with food and beer vendors along from Columbus to Grant Avenue. There was also a smaller stage out on Filbert Street, but the majority of performances came from the other two main stages, the Filbert stage was more of a beer garden that had ambient music.

On Vallejo Street, chalk artists drew and colored some amazing pieces of art on the concrete. There were spaces for several artists to display their work, but there also were a couple available squares for anyone to make chalk art for a small nominal fee. Also on Vallejo Street, a sponsoring Las Vegas vendor came to build a large sand sculpture of a mini Las Vegas in a large sandbox with the sponsors giving out prizes for spinning a wheel.

Overall, the North Beach Festival was the place to be in San Francisco for the weekend of Father’s Day. It was such a beautiful weekend with amazing food, art, and music. People put on their happy faces and it seemed like the day was just meant to be perfect. Great festival to attend, bring out your family, friends, and neighbors next year because it’s going to be fun. You can count on that.

Pictures of the North Beach Festival can be seen by clicking on the picture link above. If this post was informative and helpful, please feel free to leave me a comment or donation below. Thank you.