Folsom Street Fair is NOT canceled, it’s just going by a different name. This year, the event is stripping down to its birthday suit with its inaugural 1984 theme. Focusing the spotlight on San Francisco’s kinky queer community, Folsom Street Presents: MEGAHOOD2021 is the long-awaited celebration we all need after a year of virtual hibernation.
We asked around for the word on the street, and here’s the tea according to local queers. This is the definitive guide for Folsom Street Presents: MEGAHOOD2021, so be sure to check back for updates on everything you need to know to get the most out of this very San Francisco event.
- Taking place Sunday, September 26, 11 AM to 6 PM on Folsom Street between 8th and 12th.
- Due to capacity limitations, you might have to wait in line to enter through the safety checkpoint.
- Vaxxx cards will be checked at the gate. Masks are required for entry, and we don’t mean the gimp kind.
- BYOB. This is a big change from previous years. Alcohol will not be for sale at the fair, but you can grab a to-go cocktail from neighboring bars. See our recs below.
- Don’t forget to bring your own reusable water bottle and SPF!
MEGAHOOD2021 Community Stages & Booths
To mitigate the risks of COVID-19, the footprint of the fair has been modified to reduce crowd density. That means instead of two stages at either end of the stretch, there will be multiple entertainment stages with live acts performing all day long. You won’t want to miss these community curated acts:
- Rope Bondage Stage presented by Twisted Windows and KinkPOC Bay Area
- Drag/Performance Stage presented by the STUD x OAKLASH
- BDSM Demo Stage presented by Alpha Academy, Onyx NW, and Society of Janus
- Live Music Stage presented by Fawkstales
- The Playground Stage hosted by Alotta Boutté
Booths: As always, you’ll find a wide variety of leather goods and fetish wear made by local artisans. Check back for a complete and up-to-date list of vendors coming to the fair this year.
Word on the street.
Solid advice for MEGAHOOD2021 attendees from local community leaders.
Danarama says take it slow.
“It can often take hours to walk from one end of Folsom to the other. So one of the best ways to enjoy the fair, I have found after decades of attending, is to get out of the flow of traffic and watch the crowd go by. Take a pit stop at your favorite booth or watch a performance at one of the community stages, you might be surprised at what comes across your path.
Just remember: You can look, but you can’t touch (without their consent).”
|Ivy wants some helping hands!
“As a San Francisco native, Folsom Street Fair is like an institution to me. I first started getting into it through volunteer opportunities. I used to help out at a corset booth, and now I know how to get people laced up at lightning speed. This community lives on volunteers, and there are plenty of fun opportunities to help out.”
Shay’s tip for a safe scene.
“This year is going to be a little different with everyone wearing masks, especially if you plan to take part in kinky activities. The fair can be quite noisy, and you might not be able to hear your partner or read their facial expressions during play. So, I think it’s helpful for you and your partner to come up with some non-verbal cues instead of your usual safe word.”
|A note on consent from Blue.
“If you’re not into exhibitionism, you may want to look into a group called Ask First. There’s mutual respect for privacy in our community because some members do not want their family or coworkers to know about their kinky side. If you come to this fair, you may end up in some photos. Wearing a sticker from Ask First lets people know that you would prefer if they asked you before taking a photo with you in it.”
Eat. Drink. Party. Sleep.
Photos by Reed Flores
We asked around, and here are the best places on the block for before, after, and everything in between.
Cellarmaker Brewing Co.
|JD’s top choices:
I like to sneak away to this great Italian place right off the main drag called Rocco’s Cafe.
I encourage everyone to support the local businesses that line Folsom Street. They are open and more than ready to serve you. If you want to buy fetish attire beforehand to look your best for this event, I highly recommend shopping at Mr. S Leather and Leather Etc. on 8th.
“There are a lot of awesome restaurants to check out near the fairgrounds on Folsom Street. Though my personal go-to spot is Basil Thai Restaurant, across the street from the Cat Club. I think they have a unique set of dishes that go beyond the standard Thai you typically find in SF. I also think that because they are in SoMa, we’re very normalized to them. So, if you walk in wearing your best leathers, they wouldn’t even blink at you. As long as your test tissue is covered, you’re good.”
|Lief’s advice for the last-minute traveler
Folsom Street Fair is not just a West Coast thing, people travel from all over the world to San Francisco for this event. So, you have to book your AirBnbs almost a year in advance if you want to stay close to the fair. I found the best way to get a great place is to book a larger accommodation and split it with friends, though you may end up sleeping on the couch.
Looking for the After Party?
Check out these calendars for more details:
Find your crew at MEGAHOOD2021 on Bloom!
Can’t wait for MEGAHOOD2021?
Join Folsom Street as they kick off Leather Week with LeatherWalk and LeatherFest.
All photos are courtesy of Folsom Street Center, Reed Flores, Gooch, and other respective owners.