Sunday, October 4, 2009

Castro Street Fair "kick-off"

What a gorgeous day: 23 years ago, was my first Castro Street Fair -- 1986. I knew I had found my home and home neighborhood. Thank you Harvey Milk for founding THE best street fair in the City, if not the nation! (but again, I'm biased).

For the third year, sponsored a Home for Halloween booth at the Fair to answer questions about the City's plans for Halloween, and keeping the celebrations safe-and-sane. Crowd was steady all day, with many people commenting that "it's sad that violence has marred what used to be such a fun event."

All of us involved with the campaign couldn't agree more. But -- that's the world in which we live. So, we have a choice: keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome (the classic definition of insanity) or making a stand and saying "enough is enough." Three years ago, after nine people were shot during the annual Castro Halloween party, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Mayor Newsom, Castro residents and business owners and other members of the City Family said "enough!"

That first year, many people thought the campaign wouldn't work - but, it did. The hundreds of thousands of revelers gave the Castro a break, and headed elsewhere for All Hallow's -- including the Castro's bars, many of whom closed in support.

Last year, the bars were open, and business was brisk, but -- the street party was again canceled.

This year - it's the same: there is NO street party in the Castro, and NO large-scale public event. And, for those people who DO come to Castro, there will be NO tolerance by officials for:
1) public drunkeness.
2)disorderly conduct
3) underage drinking
4) parole violators
5) bars / stores which do not observe "open container" laws.

However, throughout the City and the Bay Area, there are many smaller events and celebrations taking place on Saturday, October 31. I'm looking forward to them! I'm also looking forward to a Castro that is busy, fun and respectful. I'm looking forward to people celebrating Halloween close to their own "home" neighborhoods and for those of us who call Castro "home", having a enjoyable night in which we feel safe and respected in our "home."

Below: link to TV coverage from today's "Home for Halloween" info booth (thanks for Lisa Chan at CBS-5)

The flyers are being distributed; posters are going up; people are helping spread the word: have a safe and sane Halloween...close to home.

Oh -- to keep track of the campaign, announcements of other Halloween events around the Bay and up-to-date public transit info, follow us on "Twitter" at "Home4Halloween".

More anon

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