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By Pat Rose
On Saturday, Oct. 21, 24th Street will bring in the harvest--the second annual Noe Valley Harvest Festival, that is--with live bands, dog and kids costume contests, a hayride, and dozens of booths selling handmade crafts and holiday gifts.
The combination street fair and neighborhood bazaar, sponsored by a bevy of groups including the Friends of Noe Valley and the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association, promises even more fun than last year, when 5,000 people thronged 24th Street between Church and Sanchez streets.
"We've got some really incredible artists and craftspeople this year," says Forbeadin' owner Donna Davis, who is helping to organize the event. "There will be 76 booths of neighborhood painters, photographers, jewelry makers, and craftspeople selling silk, belts, candles, baby clothes, and even cookies, nuts, and chocolates."
The fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be bustling with activities for families and kids, including a "Punkin Patch" and pumpkin-decorating contest, a treasure hunt, apple bobbing, and Noe Valley's Grand Prix: the Stroller Obstacle Course (using stuffed toys, not real babies!). Jugglers, a caricature artist, and other street performers will stroll through the crowd.
The Sterling Bank & Trust Main Stage at 24th and Church streets will feature four bands performing throughout the day. A group of all-stars from the San Francisco School of the Arts kicks off the music from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Then the popular local band Playdate performs rock and pop from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. The funk band Groovus plays from 2 to 3:15 p.m., and the Nitecaps will end the day with soulful blues from 4 to 5 p.m. In between sets, neighborhood kids and pets will be invited to parade across the stage in the festival's animal and human costume contests. (Kids who want to participate should check in at the Main Stage.)
This year, by popular demand, the Saturday-morning Farmers' Market in the Noe Valley Ministry parking lot at 24th and Vicksburg will be open all day. But come early for the best produce.
Also, the Merchants Association will saddle up the horses for its annual hayride in and around "Downtown Noe Valley." Fairgoers can hitch a ride in front of Walgreen's on Castro Street. The dray wagon will loop around 24th and Jersey streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"The Harvest Festival is a homegrown affair," says co-organizer Richard May. "It's totally nonprofit and all-volunteer." May says 25 local businesses and residents contributed more than half the fair's $25,000 budget. "Any proceeds after bills are paid will go to our Community Benefits District to continue beautification of 24th Street."
In addition to Sterling Bank and the Friends of Noe Valley, major sponsors of this year's festival include B.J. Droubi & Co. Realty, Hill & Co. Real Estate, Walgreen's, and Zephyr Real Estate. Other big donors were Artery, Betty Taisch of Coldwell Banker, Real Management Co., Bank of America, Café Ponte, Edward Jones Investments, Eye Level Optometry, Isa's Salon & Spa, Kathy White & Sonia Gomez of Barbagelata Realtors, Small Frys children's store, Aesthetic Dentistry of Noe Valley, BATS Improv, Cover to Cover, the Noe Valley Salon, Noe Valley Video, Noreen & Shawn Maloney, Peekabootique, Starbucks, and the Tax Managers.
The gift shop Ladybug Ladybug is blowing up lots of balloons for the kids. And if you still haven't made your Halloween costume, Liz TerboLizard of Lit'l Lizards & Walkershaw on Castro Street says she'll be "setting up a glittery selection of Halloween costumes for the festival, including tutus, capes, mermaid fins, and wings. And we'll be signing up kids for sewing lessons."
To find out more or to volunteer the day of the fair, e-mail festival chair Norine Traci-Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those with cars can park all day for $10 at James Lick Middle School at Noe and 25th streets. The money will go toward the school's international travel program.