Celebrate Mother Nature in the Mission 

A youthful band dressed in fuchsia clothes, bell-bottoms and other relics from the 1960s will man trumpets, bongos and congas in the Mission district this weekend as part of the 33rd annual Carnaval parade.

They’re called Futuro Picante, and the group of 15 participants ages 9 to 18 will perform as part of the Mission Cultural Center’s float during Sunday’s parade, while hundreds of retro dancers follow.

This year, the Mission Cultural Center has a Mi Groovy Boogaloo theme, and players have traveled back in time to find Latin Boogaloo rhythms that flourished during the late ’60s.

“Fuchsia and purple and silver ... and some of them got their inspiration from Austin Powers,” said Isabel Barraza, a paralegal who has volunteered countless hours for more than a decade organizing for the center. “I’m 54½, so I remember a lot of this stuff.”

Barraza also sits on the San Francisco Cultural Arts Traditions nonprofit formed just months ago to help organize the festival year-round to showcase vibrant cultural traditions through music, food and costumes.

Aside from its Latin roots, Carnaval historically celebrates the coming of spring, said Jake Pavlovsky, the president of SFCAT.

“One of the core elements is humanity’s appreciation of nature. Our first worldly god was Mother Earth,” Pavlovsky said. “Essentially, [Carnaval] sprang from spring.”

In addition to the annual celebration every May, organizers are furthering their contribution to Mother Nature this year by adding two blocks of Zona Verde, or the green zone.

The green zone will boast tips on how to cook and garden sustainably, booths with handmade jewelry and an earth mandala made from sticks, leaves, stones and flowers.

Barraza was particularly excited about this year’s grand marshals, actor Benjamin Bratt, known for his roll in the movie “Ms. Congeniality,” and Benjamin’s brother, filmmaker Peter Bratt.

“There aren’t that many Latinos on network TV or in the film industry,” Barraza said. “Culture is just one of those things that’s different for everyone, and music is something we all have in common.”

 

Festivities

San Francisco Carnaval details:

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Suggested donation: $5 to $20

Where: Harrison Street between 16th and 22nd streets

What you’ll see:

  • Niñolandia (children’s area)
  • Zona Verde (green zone)
  • Health Pavilion
  • Two main stages with music from the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad, Mexican Aztec performers, traditional African and Japanese drummers, Polynesian dancers, Giant puppets
  • More than 200 local vendors

 

Parade: 9:30 a.m. Sunday, starts at Bryant and 24th streets

Source: San Francisco Cultural Arts Traditions

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Kamala Kelkar

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