This weekend, the 41st annual Carnaval returns to the Mission for two days of cultural celebrations. This year's theme is "La Cultural Cura – Culture Heals," to make participants aware of how art helps communities build support systems.
"We believe that culture has the power to affirm one’s value, build a diverse community, and politically mobilize people of color, leading to positive outcomes and collective healing," Carnaval San Francisco co-founder Roberto Hernandez said in a statement.
The highlight of the festival is Sunday's Grand Parade, featuring various floats with multicultural themes and performers. It will kick off at 9:30 a.m. at 24th and Bryant streets, proceeding west to Mission Street before heading north on Mission towards 15th Street. From there, participants will turn east on 15th.
Meanwhile, Harrison Street will be closed to cars between 16th and 24th streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The closure will allow for booths featuring music, dance, costumes, and food from various countries.
Drivers should expect street closures starting on Friday at 7 p.m., along with traffic delays, no-parking zones and crowded buses on Harrison Street. On Sunday, these delays will expand along the Grand Parade route through the Mission.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said that large crowds are expected on Saturday for the festival along Harrison. "Plan ahead, and consider public transportation, including BART, as your first option," transit agency representatives wrote, noting that the 16th-Mission and 24th-Mission BART stations are good access points to the festivities.
As for city buses to Carnaval, Muni suggests the 9-San Bruno, 12-Folsom-Pacific, 14-Mission, 14R-Mission Rapid, 22-Fillmore, 27-Bryant, 33-Ashbury/18th St., 48-Quintara/24th Street, 49-Van Ness/Mission, 55-16th Street, and the 67-Bernal Heights routes.
While there are are no planned service changes for the festival on Saturday, some of these routes listed will experience increased ridership and minor delays in the area of the event, the agency said.
During Sunday's parade, the 12-Folsom-Pacific, 14-Mission, 14R-Mission Rapid, 22-Fillmore, 27-Bryant, 33-Ashbury/18th St., 48-Quintara/24th Street, 49-Van Ness/Mission, 55-16th Street, and the 67-Bernal Heights lines will see reroutes.
The festival will also affect local businesses, especially animal rescue organizations and veterinary hospitals.
Because of the street closures, popular climbing gym Mission Cliffs (2295 Harrison St.) will close altogether on Sunday. As for Saturday, the gym alerts its customers that "it will be challenging making your way [here]," so be advised.
Since Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (255 Alabama St.) is located a block away from the festivities, it's looking for short-term fosters from today through next Tuesday. "[Carnaval] is very loud and stressful for the mutts," representatives say, and getting them away from the noise is key.
Also at 255 Alabama St., Animal Care & Control (ACC)'s city shelter will only offer limited services on Saturday, and will close on Sunday. Shelter staff can be contacted by ringing the bell for entry. (Editor's note: The author of this story volunteers at Muttville and ACC.)
Animal guardians should also know that veterinary emergency hospital VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (600 Alabama St.) will not see patients over the weekend. Due to the street closures, VCA will remain shuttered from Friday at 6 p.m. to Monday at 8 a.m.
For those in need of emergency pet care, VCA suggests visiting the 24-hour emergency hospital on SPCA's Pacific Heights campus.