Easter is all about Easter egg hunts, egg decorating, the Easter Bunny, parades and dressing up. Below is our guide to 2013 Easter-related activities in San Francisco and the Bay Area, which run from the traditional to the riotous and are listed in chronological order. You'll need sustenance to hop to all of these events, and for that, we also have the scoop on Easter brunches and dinners.
Easter Derby Decorating Contest & Parade & Spring Festival
March 30, at 10 am-1:30 pm
Buy a $2 derby (a hat, in this case plastic) from a Lakeshore merchant in advance, and have your kid (toddler up to age 13) decorate it with whatever’s around the house. (Last-minute-types can go to the Lakeshore Baptist Church at 10 am on March 30 to try for 11th-hour artistry). At 11 am, parade with other derby-donning kids. The best derbies are awarded prizes, followed by a festival with egg decorating, face painting and goodies. Sponsored by Lakeshore Avenue Business Improvement District and Lakeshore Baptist Church.
Parade starting point and festival are at Lakeshore Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland 94601. Free.
March 30, at 11 am–3 pm
Egg hunting, carnival rides, games and live entertainment. Taste the results of a barbecue cook-off among the city’s rec and park, police and fire departments (I’m betting on the firefighters).
At Golden Gate Park Carousel Area, 198 John F. Kennedy Dr., San Francisco 94117. Admission $8.
Big Bunny's Spring Fling
March 30 & 31, at 11 am-3 pm
A weekend of bunny-dom, including puppet shows, sing-a-longs and stories with Princess Honey Bunny, and close-up encounters with real rabbits. Feed ducks and see where chickens hatch, too.
At San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco 94132. Free with zoo admission.
The Great Egg Hunt
March 30, at 12-3 pm
The city of Oakland sponsors Easter fun on a gorgeous lawn. Three separate egg hunts (times are staggered according to age), games, entertainment, tours of the historic Dunsmuir mansion, egg-dying and other arts and crafts, SPCA pet adoptions and photos with the Easter Bunny. Bring a picnic and a basket for eggs.
At Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland 94605. Admission: Free; $3; $5.
Naturally Dyed Eggs
March 30, at 2-2:45 pm and at 3-3:45 pm
Kids and adults can learn about plant-based dyes and use them to decorate eggs.
At the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley 94720. Registration $15, $12 (includes admission to Garden). Pre-registration required online or by calling (510) 643-2755. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.
Union Street Spring Celebration & Easter Parade
March 31, at 10 am-5 pm
This kid-centric event features rides, games, hands-on activities and costumed characters galore, a climbing wall, a petting zoo, pony rides, live music and an Easter bonnet contest. Parade starts at 2 pm.
On Union between Gough and Fillmore streets, San Francisco. Free.
Easter in Dolores Park: Under the Big Top
March 31, at 11 am-4 pm
The annual Easter bash by the spirited, cross-dressing Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. A blessing and children’s Easter egg hunt and games kick off at 11 am. At noon it’s the adults’ turn, with entertainment by Ethel Merman, Cockatelia, Love Charisse, Jane Wiedlin and others, the Easter Bonnet Contest and the Hunky Jesus Contest.
At Dolores Park, Dolores and 18th streets, San Francisco 94110. Free, but donations welcome.
Bring Your Own Big Wheel
March 31, at 4-6 pm
Dozens of drivers careen their Big Wheels (those giant yellow-and-red plastic tricycles for kiddies) on Potrero Hill. There’s a lap for the real children (ages 21 and under), and then the thrills-and-spills-filled race for the older folks who want to be children. Yes, you must sign a waiver.
Starts at Vermont and 20th streets, San Francisco. Free, but recommended $5 fee for racers and spectators; a $10 fee includes a BYOBW patch.