Fall fairs and festivals
Listings are compiled by Guardian staff.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point, SF; ghirardellisq.com/chocolate-festival. Noon-5pm, $25 for 15 chocolate tastings. Project Open Hand benefits from the 18th annual incarnation of this delectable festival. New for 2013, there'll be a "Chocolate and Wine Pavilion" for guests over 21, plus the ever-popular hands-free ice cream eating contest; chef demos; and a talk by Ghirardelli's "Chocolate Professor," Steve Genzoli, on the art of chocolate-making.
Comedy Day Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; www.comedyday.com. Noon-5pm, free. The 33rd incarnation of this local tradition boasts "one stage, five hours, 40 comedians, and a million laughs!" Performers include Will Durst, Tom Ammiano, Natasha Muse, Johnny Steele, Tony Sparks, and more.
Oktoberfest by the Bay Pier 48, SF; www.oktoberfestbythebay.com. Fri, 5pm-midnight; Sat, 11am-5pm and 6pm-midnight; Sun, 11am-6pm, $25-75 (kids 13-18, $5 for Saturday day session or Sunday only). "Tasty food, cold beer, and sizzling oompah music," y'all. How do you say y'all in German? Anyway, if you have lederhosen, now's your chance to wear it. The 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band headlines this annual sudsy bacchanal.
Polk Street Blues Festival Polk between Pacific and Union, SF; www.polkstreetbluesfestival.com. 10am-6pm, free. Back for its fourth year, this up-and-coming fest boasts two music stages, arts and crafts vendors, and gourmet eats. Visit the website in the weeks before the event for updated performer information.
Eat Real Festival Jack London Square, Oakl; www.eatrealfest.com. Fri, 1-9pm; Sat-Sun, 10:30am-5pm, free. No dish costs more than five bucks at this showcase of sustainable Bay Area cuisine (and local beer and wine, too). The fest also offers up DIY demos ("from home cheese making to backyard chickens"), live music, butchery contests, and more.
Superhero Street Fair Waterfront Boardwalk Oasis overlooking Islais Creek, 1700 Indiana, SF; www.superherosf.com. 2pm-midnight, $20 ($10 in costume). Holding out for a hero? Why not just be one yourself at this fourth annual fiesta? Seven stages with 17 "sound camps" (dubstep, reggae, drum and bass, etc.) set the mood, plus there'll be bands (including SF's own pint-sized rockers Haunted By Heroes), robot dancers Anna and the Anadroids, exhibits by the Cartoon Art Museum and Mission Comics, a "Superhero Bootcamp," and lots more heroic (and villainous!) fun.
Folsom Street Fair Folsom between 7th and 12th Sts, SF; www.folsomstreetfair.com. 11am-6:30pm, free (gate donations benefit charity). In honor of Folsom's 30th anniversary, the fest goes for 30 extra minutes this year. That means 30 extra minutes of kinky, leather-clad fun with an estimated 400,000 fellow revelers, plus over 200 exhibitor booths (selling gear for every fetish), multiple stages of live music and DJs, and naked butts as far as the eye can see.
Castro Street Fair, Castro at Market, SF; www.castrostreetfair.org. 11am-6pm, free. Celebrating its landmark 40th anniversary, this popular gathering brings pop star Peaches to headline its main stage; her act includes a tribute to late disco legend Sylvester, who performed at the 1975 Castro Street Fair.
Litquake Various venues, SF; www.litquake.org. San Francisco's Literary Festival unfurls for over a week of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction author events, interactive activities, and more — including the insanely popular annual Lit Crawl. Check the website as the event approaches for info on special guests.
Alternative Press Expo Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th St, SF; comic-con.org/ape. Times and ticket prices TBD. For 20 years, APE has promoted alternative and self-published comics, and this year looks to be a stellar one: guests include Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith, and there'll be another edition of "Comic Creator Connection," helping writers and artists come together to make creative magic.
Potrero Hill Festival 20th St between Wisconsin and Missouri, SF; www.potrerofestival.com. 11am-4pm, free. The 24th celebration of one of SF's hilliest 'hoods features local food vendors, historians, entertainment, artists, and more.
Noe Valley Harvest Festival, 24th St between Church and Sanchez, SF; www.noevalleyharvestfestival.com. 10am-5pm, free. This fest offers old-fashioned family fun to kick off the holiday season, with a certain amount of Halloween flair to boot: there'll be a pumpkin patch (and pumpkin decorating), costume contests for kids and dogs, a pie-eating contest, and more.
Green Festival Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th St, SF; www.greenfestivals.org. Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 11am-5pm, ticket price TBD. Presentations and panel discussions on sustainable living and other green issues, plus "the nation's largest green marketplace for the conscious consumer" for all your eco-conscious gift-giving needs.
Nov. 23-Dec. 22
Great Dickens Christmas Faire Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva, SF; www.dickensfair.com. Nov 23-24, Nov 29-Dec 1, Dec 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22, 10am-7pm, ticket price TBD. Because it wouldn't be Christmas in San Francisco without this long-running interactive, festively detailed dose of Victorian London. Roasted chestnuts for everyone!