San Francisco’s World Famous Fetish Festival Turns 30

San Francisco Skyline - Photo by Hector Sanchez

Some things are classically San Franciscan. The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard’s curves and the celebration of alternative sexuality known as the Folsom Street Fair are treats as signature to San Francisco as Rice-A-Roni.

The 30-year-old culmination of Leather Week, this year happening on Sunday, attracts visitors from around the world as well as locals. If you’ve never experienced it before, make this the year. The geography of the fair is changing — it now extends on Folsom Street from Eighth to 13th streets — but the inclusive spirit of Folsom, whose official mission is to “unite adult alternative lifestyle communities with safe venues,” remains.

“Every year we get a number of newcomers,” says Demetri Moshoyannis, Folsom Street Fair’s executive director. “If it’s your first time you can watch — you don’t have to participate in the demonstration booths. You can come in street clothes for the bands,” the best option for those who want a PG-13 experience. “When I first started in 2006, we had two band stages. Now we have five. Of course, those newcomers might be the people that next year come in head-to-toe leather or rubber.”

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