Overload of weekend awesome


Oh yeah, it’s Memorial Day weekend! I get it confused with Labor Day weekend for some reason. Maybe I’ll visit a cemetery or two. Probably not.

But here are some highly recommended happenings from my personal bucket list. Hope to see you there!

The Golden Gate Bridge’s big 75th birthday celebration has been on just about everyone’s lips this year. Time has finally come to sport your international orange and celebrate!

The long-awaited Golden Gate Festival gets underway Sunday from 11 to 11, and the event list is packed. Thousands will descend on San Francisco’s waterfront to celebrate our beloved icon.

Admission is free and activities will include live music and dance on two stages, a historic water craft parade, a future fair, and an International Orange artist exhibit, just to highlight a few.

The bridge will close from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a highly-anticipated fireworks display over the Golden Gate. Organizers urge you not to drive, as there will be no parking — NO PARKING — at the event. Which of course means gobs of congested traffic around the Marina, the waterfront, and perhaps even overlapping with:

The 34th annual San Francisco Carnaval is back in the Mission with a free two-day, all-ages festival. Presented by San Francisco Cultural Arts Traditions, highlights include live world music and dance, unique international food and drink offerings, as well as elaborate floats and costumed street performers.

The much raved-about parade starts Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of 24th Street and Bryant. It will head west to Mission Street, then north to 17th where it will turn east and flood back into Harrison between 16th and 24th.

The parade will be presented by King Roberto and Queen Ashlee, as well as Grand Marshal. Now California’s largest annual multi-cultural celebration, San Francisco Carnaval was conceived by a group of local musicians, artists and residents eager to celebrate the spirit of Latin American and Caribbean cultures in San Francisco.

Treasure Island Flea Market is getting in on the birthday action, celebrating its own first birthday on TI’s Great Lawn this Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4. Open on the last weekend of each month, this urban open-air market has become a local favorite for treasure hunting.

Go to shop super-cool offerings from Bay Area designers, collectors, artists, craft makers, specialty food purveyors, and even local wineries. See the market’s Facebook page for details on this weekend’s scavenger hunt, and your chance to win $25 credit at the vendor of your choice.

The market is dog-friendly, and there’s plenty of free parking. Or you can take the Muni 108 and relish in its rare triple-digitness.

This weekend’s live music will be presented by Dogpatch, Cosmic Machine and Michel Michelis’ Paris Musique. Admission is $3. Kids 12 and under are free.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons reports that 36 inmates attempted to escape Alcatraz over its history. 23 were captured, six were shot and killed during their attempted getaways, two drowned and five went missing and were presumed drowned.

That, of course, won’t stop the courageous and crazy swimmers who flock to San Francisco from all over the world to take part in Monday’s Alcatraz Challenge swim event.

Partakers will jump from a boat into the icy waters of the Bay, just off the shores of Alcatraz Island, and swim 1-1/2 miles to the sands of Crissy Beach. Register on site if you’re up to the challenge!

Or just head to the beach and and quench your curiosity. Set up a picnic and watch the locos swim ashore against a strong, frigid tide. How strong you ask? Organizers say “if you jumped off the ferry and did nothing but float you would be swept three miles west to the Golden Gate Bridge within an hour.”

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