You can always find arts events and cultural festivals in the Bay Area, but this weekend, they’re practically dragging you out the door. Besides the final performances of The San Francisco International Arts Festival, San Francisco Carnaval gyrates and whoops through the Mission and SOMA. And countries in the Himalayas bring the best of their music, food, choreography, art and traditions to Berkeley for the annual Himalayan Fair.
If you’re a Memorial Day traditionalist, check our page of Memorial Day ceremonies and observances.
San Francisco Carnaval 2010: Colors of Sound, Splashes of Culture
May 29-30, at 10 am-6 pm
Carnaval, a two-day explosion of Latin American and Caribbean cultures, includes dancing galore (salsa, samba, merengue, calypso and cumbia, to name just a few varieties), drumming, food, music, crafts and soccer, on Harrison between 16th and 23rd streets.
On May 30, the always-popular Carnaval Grand Parade takes off at 9:30 am from 24th and Bryant and prances down Mission Street to 17th Street, and then east to the festival area on Harrison. Even people claiming to dislike dancing find it hard to resist shimmying and swaying.
Free. More info: 415 642-1748 or the Carnaval website.
May 29, at 10 am-7 pm and May 30, at 10 am-5:30 pm
The annual Himalayan Fair allows you to experience the high mountains without the altitude sickness. Celebrating the cultures of Nepal, India, Tibet, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the fair in Berkeley has the best momos beyond the Himalayas and an enticing array of jewelry, artifacts, clothing, trinkets, textiles, crafts and potions.
The entertainment line-up includes Tibetan dancing and bell-ringing, classical Hindustani singing, Punjabi dance and Sufi folk singing. Five dollars will get you a raffle ticket, and if you’re the big winner, a trip to Nepal. (No guarantee of escaping altitude sickness, though, as the symptoms strike randomly).
At Live Oak Park, 1300 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Limited parking. Closest BART station: Downtown Berkeley. Free, but donations appreciated; proceeds go to schools, monasteries, medical clinics and other grassroots projects in Himalayan countries. More info: the Himalayan Fair website.