Here are the pics from Folsom Street Fair that we are allowed to post

Approximately 300,000 people showed up for the 36th annual Folsom Street Fair, in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Three hundred thousand people. The event’s organizers have proclaimed Folsom is the world’s largest leather festival, and they are probably correct, although Easter Berlin may come close. But no matter. When three hundred thousand people show up for a leather party, no matter where it is, everybody wins.

For the casual observer, please let us make something clear: yes, Halloween is a mere month away, but as we mentioned in an earlier story about leather and fetish events leading up to Halloween, these are not costume parties. Leather, fetish, and any other form of erotic self-expression are acts of personal liberation, and there is no better place to celebrate than in the middle of the street with like-minded friends.

Folsom Street Fair began in the 1980’s, as a community protest against the evils of real estate developers who marked the South of Market neighborhood for “redevelopment.” At the time, South of Market (SoMa) was absolutely not in need of being “redeveloped,” as it had a thriving culture filled with bars and clubs that were popular in the leather scene. Many gay and trans neighborhoods in San Francisco (and around the world) have been demolished by wrecking balls, because they were deemed socially undesirable, but SoMa has fought that process somewhat successfully, thanks to the unity of the local residents. Folsom Street Fair organizers turned the event into a fundraising powerhouse, and have raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations devoted to serving the local community.

As Folsom Street Fair attendance grows every year, it attracts not only leather and fetish fans from around the world, but also the awkwardly curious masses who just want to people-watch. And that’s fine, because there are always lots of people at Folsom who are happy to be the center of attention. This includes the guys who like feeling naughty, so they show up wearing the same iridescent tights that they wore to Burning Man, but instead of their dusty cowboy hats they accessorize with leather harnesses that they wear once a year. And of course they post selfies with hashtags #daddy and #kink.

But somewhere in that same crowd will be a guy wearing a puppy mask, which he had only worn in the privacy of his bedroom, alone, and when he arrives at Folsom with his identity hidden but feeling free, he will be short of breath—and not just because he is wearing a mask, but because he is excited. We see you, Puppy Boy. Go do your thing and get your belly rubbed.

In this era of mainstreaming gay and trans culture, GayCities applauds the organizers of Folsom Street Fair, and most especially the participants—the hairy guys whose leather vests smell like sweat, and the exhibitors demonstrating shibari, and the woman who has her husband in a saddle, and even those vanilla boys in the Burning Man tights—for being part of one of the most unique, body-positive, and inclusive events of the year, a chance for anyone to celebrate whatever it is that makes the happy, without concern about what society deems “sexy” or even “normal.”

Here are some of our favorite pics, although you should snoop through the Web because there are lots more. We can’t post the good stuff here. Things at Folsom get very, shall we say, creative.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bill Horvath (@horvath.bill) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ryan Crowder (@cisboomba) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Colton James Long (@coltonjamesart) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by R2rotron He,him,His (@r2rotron) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by CHARLIE BROWN (@charlie.brown.82) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bill Horvath (@horvath.bill) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by janina 莹莹 (zatkin) moy (@mrsmoy.jr) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cinched. Bound. Tortured. #folsom #gaysofinstagram #kink #bdsm #fetish #domsub

A post shared by QueerWho (@queerwho) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Matthew (@mattdubbe) on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @adoremynikon on

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by George 🇬🇧🇬🇷🦍 (@georgio.london) on