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Neighborhood Brings in the Harvest Festival
By Laura McHale Holland
The first-ever Noe Valley Harvest Festival--a combination street fair, county fair, and small-town bazaar--is expected to draw hundreds of fairgoers to 24th Street on Saturday, Oct. 22. Jointly sponsored by the Friends of Noe Valley and the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association, the festival will coincide with the Merchants' annual hayride, so look for horses clip-clopping through "Downtown" Noe Valley as well.
The action will be centered on 24th Street between Church and Sanchez streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. "The events and entertainment we have planned are very exciting," says co-organizer Richard May. "We're going to have five bands on the Sterling Bank stage at 24th and Church streets, which we also refer to as the Main Stage. And more entertainment will be at what we call the West End at 24th and Sanchez streets."
Chinese lion dancers will kick things off on the Main Stage at 10:30 a.m. Next up, at 11 a.m., will be 5150, a band of middle-aged psychotherapists playing classic rock. They'll be followed at noon by the country rock group They Call Me Lucky. A kids costume parade takes place at 12:45 p.m., and a dog costume parade at 1 p.m. If your dog can howl or do tricks too, you can enter him or her in the pet tricks contest at 2 p.m.
Other bands appearing on the Main Stage will be the Shut-Ins, an acoustic combo, at 1:15; the Sippy Cups, incorporating audience participation, puppets, and unicycles into classic psychedelic rock, at 2:30 p.m.; and Groove Team, doing West Coast swing and blues at 4:30. (Advance sign-up for the costume parades and dog-howling contest is highly recommended. E-mail sara@nvharvest festival.com.)
According to May, most of the fair's exhibitors and entertainers are local. There will be over 40 booths showcasing juried work by local artists and craftspeople, and about 20 more representing neighborhood schools and organizations. And there will be activities aplenty: a stroller obstacle course (sans babies, of course) sponsored by Pasta Pomodoro at 3:45 p.m., a treasure hunt in and out of stores all along 24th Street from noon to 4 p.m., an enormous Twister Game (a '60s-era contortion game), a Biggest Slug Contest, San Francisco firefighters with their firetruck, juggling, bellydancing, a "punkin" patch and pumpkin decorating contest, a raffle, and a sidewalk drawing contest sponsored by Just for Fun.
The Noe Valley Farmers' Market, selling organic fruits and vegetables, will be in full swing until 1 p.m., and the hayride will be loading and unloading passengers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 24th and Sanchez streets--not at the Walgreen's parking lot as in previous years.
"We've planned a small, two-block fair in order to keep costs low for our vendors and sponsors and to keep the festival in line with the spirit of Noe Valley itself, as its own little 'town' in a big city, and with a focus on our small, local merchants, and being a place that welcomes kids of all ages and pets," says fair co-organizer Sara Butz. "We aren't selling either food or beverages because we want our neighborhood's restaurants, cafes, and bars to reap the business from the festival."
For those who ride bikes to the festival, there will be free valet service at 24th and Vicksburg streets monitored by the S.F. Bicycle Coalition. If you must drive, parking will be available at the James Lick Middle School lot (near 25th and Castro streets) for $5.
A complete schedule of events and more details on the entertainers, artists, and sponsors can be found at www.nvharvestfestival.com. Many volunteers are still needed to help with final preparations and at the festival itself. Interested? Call Richard May at 206-0231.