Your Civic Center Donkey Sightings, Demystified

Photo: Michael Onas/Facebook

By Rose Garrett - Published on March 24, 2015.

Civic Center has been a nexus of entertaining news of late, with the Steve Jobs biopic filming and last night's Game of Thrones red carpet event and season premiere. But recent sightings of a donkey roaming the Civic Center/Hayes Valley area may take the cake.

Several witnesses (including one Redditor) have reported a donkey in the neighborhood, accompanied by a human sidekick either riding astride or walking alongside the noble beast:

Yes, we can back you up: you did see a donkey in the neighborhood, and, as some have speculated, the donkey is indeed an extra in SF Ballet's current production of Don Quixote.

His name is "Johnny Appleseed", according to Kyra Jablonsky of the Ballet's office. "He's a veteran of our donkey production," she notes, saying that Johnny has appeared in a few of the Ballet's previous Don Quixote productions.

Here's a glimpse of Johnny's big scene:

There's both a horse and a donkey on stage during the performance, although the horse, named "Nugget", is apparently more shy about making on-the-street appearances. 

As to why Johnny has been seen out and about in the neighborhood, Jablonsky speculates that it's just a pleasant way for him to stretch his legs while waiting for his onstage appearances. "He has to be here a long time for the show, and there's time to kill. His trainer is just getting him out."

Look for more possible Johnny Appleseed sightings through the end of the week, as SF Ballet's last Don Quixote show will be a matinee on Sunday, March 29th. 

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