The beginning of October may bring fall colors for the rest of the country, but in the 49 squares miles of San Francisco, it brings a dizzying array of events. More than anyone could ever hope to attend, to be honest.
Last weekend, it was the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park, the Pacific Pinball Convention in Marin and the Castro Street Celebration (not to mention a home game for the 49ers). One Muni official says he saw a traffic jam of bicycles headed to Golden Gate Park.
Often this time of year the constellations will line up so that a number of popular events fall on the first two weekends of October. But this year, it seems something is truly out of whack.
This weekend, San Francisco will host Fleet Week, another 49ers Game, the President's Cup Golf Tournament, the Italian Heritage Parade in North Beach, the Chinese Ten Ten celebration, the Alzheimer's Memory Walk, Burning Man Decompression and the Oracle World Convention.
"It's a great weekend to be in San Francisco," said Muni spokesman Judson True. "And it's also a weekend to have some patience getting around San Francisco."
Now there's an understatement.
Usually on the occasion of big events, Muni advises people to get out of their cars and take public transportation. This weekend, the warning extends to the inside of buses. "There'll be heavy crowds on our vehicles," he said.
The annual Oracle World Convention will shut down Howard Street for nine days. Harding Park Golf Course will be the destination for thousands of golf lovers and general looky-loos. Fisherman's Wharf, the Embarcadero and the Marina will be filled with up to a million people turning out for Fleet Week and the rumble of the Blue Angels.
Aaron Sims held his tiny daughter Eva as he watched the Blue Angels practicing over the Marina Green on Thursday. Sims says he's followed the Blue Angels since he was a kid, and now wants to pass down the tradition to his daughters. "I just want them to have the same opportunity," he said.
The peninsula resident says he's bracing for the sight of bumpers in San Francisco, but he doesn't plan to let that keep him away. "Traffic is a complaint, an issue,"he said, scanning the sky for the blur of blue jets. "But it's a four-day event. Why complain when you're here for a something that only comes once a year."
One group of folks that also isn't complaining is San Francisco city leaders. The Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates this weekend's wild romp will bring in millions of dollars, and market the city beyond its 49 square miles. "It feels like a perfect storm in a good way," said Dan Goldes of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Yes, the city will be busy, and yes, there will be some traffic concerns. "But it's the sign of a vital city that these things are happening here."