Monday, May 25, 2009

Carnaval 2009

Thousands celebrate Carnaval in the Mission

San Francisco Chronicle

Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, May 25, 2009

Read the article
Jocelyn Boreca of San Francisco patched together her scanty outfit, adorned with sequins and beads, a few days ago.

"It was easy. All you need is a hot glue gun," said Boreca, whose costume was topped with a blue feathered headdress.

Boreca was among thousands of dancers, musicians, stilt-walkers and giant puppets who took to the streets Sunday for the 31st annual Carnaval celebration in San Francisco's Mission District.

The event, a street fair that embraces the sounds, colors and positive energy of its Latin America and Caribbean roots, drew tens of thousands of spectators, despite gray skies.

Boreca, who danced near naked with the group Energia do Samba, summed it up this way: "You couldn't feel more alive. It's all about confidence."

Other dancers - accompanied by drummers and musicians of all ages - wore traditional Bolivian, Indian and African costumes.

The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts was represented by a multilayered float, which featured a handful of drummers and women in costumes followed by dancers in vivid, gold-yellow dresses.

The parade began about 9:30 a.m. and slowly snaked its way through the neighborhood for hours, as floats, reggae bands on flatbed trucks, vintage cars and sanitation workers with steel garbage cans on wheels all rolled by.

Gerry Clark of Daly City set up a deck chair beside the parade route to catch a glimpse of her 16-year-old grandson drumming and her daughter Kim, who dances.

"The rhythm, the dance, the beat makes me want to dance and sing," Clark said, "but I don't know if my body will let me do it any more."

Kasia Meron, and her son Eitan, 5, watched the parade from atop a stepladder that they brought from their house. Her husband, Adam, stood nearby with their other son, Avi, 3.

"We love it," she said. "It's great to see everyone celebrating their place of origin."

Even the San Francisco Bookmobile showed up.

"It's fun to be a part of it," said librarian Marianne Robatto, who held a banner in the parade for the Mission Branch Library.

Police in sunglasses ogled the dancers, along with everyone else. And the local chapter of the Guardian Angels, a nonprofit community group, also watched over the event.

"I always dress up and float in and out of the parade," said Beta Colussi of San Francisco, who wore a wraparound skirt and headdress with flowers. "The more glitter, the more sparkle, the more fun."

Colussi said one of the things she likes best about the event is "you see so many kids involved. It helps them stay connected to their culture."

Scores of young girls from the Edison Charter Academy in San Francisco were dressed in butterfly costumes.

"It's my first year. I didn't expect it to be so much fun," said Amaris Tenorio, 11, who wore a red headdress and danced with a Latin hip-hop ensemble.

"I think it's the best thing I've ever done," said Esperanza Tirrez, 12, who also danced with the hip-hop group.

"This is one day they look forward to all year," said Rebecca Benavidez of San Leandro, who brought her daughter Anna, 11, and granddaughter Angelina Perez, 8, who were dressed in Tex-Mex costumes and danced with the Aquarela samba group.

"It makes me feel happy," Angelina said.

E-mail Jim Doyle at

This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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