War on Fun's New Front: Berkeley

No floats this year as fees, restrictions sink "How Berkeley Can You Be?" parade

There will be no pranksters or nudists strolling en-masse down University Avenue in Berkeley this summer thanks to a cancellation of the "How Berkeley Can You Be?" parade after a 12-year run.

While the festival gets a $8,000 grant from the city, the cash-strapped Berkeley Fire and Police Departments are now demanding an $8,000 fee to provide security and services.

But it's also been bled by smaller cuts in the last few years, from pressure not to invite the nudists to restrictions on parade traditions like tossing candy and serving drinks.

"I don't want to insinuate that we are the only festival that's being charged these things — all festivals are being charged. But for a free event, it's hard," organizer John Solomon told the East Bay Express.

The festival also suffered financially last year after the city demanded that alcohol sales along the route be moved into a fenced-off area, leading to a 75 percent decline in revenue.

The only thing that might save the festival, which organizers hope to try to resurrect next year, would be corporate sponsorships -- which wouldn't be very Berkeley at all.

Photo by Dave Winer.

Jackson West may have to finally go to Burning Man, since it seems area municipalities only want freak flags flying in the middle of nowhere.

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