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SF Thanksgiving week: Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony, Milk and Moscone Vigil, More

Alcatraz’s Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony | Photo: Patricia Montes Gregory
By Saul Sugarman - Published on November 27, 2019.

The population of San Francisco feels a little thinner every year around Thanksgiving, but there’s always a robust selection of things to do. If you plan to stay home for the holiday, here’s what Hoodline thinks you should get up to before and on the big turkey day:

Alcatraz’s Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony

An annual early morning ritual held on Alcatraz celebrates a Native American group that took over the island and occupied it for more than a year. The group, “Indians of All Tribes,” occupied Alcatraz from November 1969 to June 1971.

This year's sunrise ceremony marks 50 years since the Native American occupation. Festivities include speeches and dances.

When: Thursday, November 28, sunrise. Ticket booth opens 3 a.m., ferries depart every 15 minutes 4:15-6 a.m.

Where: Alcatraz

Price: Free for the event, $14 for the ferry ride (Ticket information; We also recommend checking to see if tickets are sold onsite.)

Harvey Milk and George Moscone Vigil and Candlelight Walk

Harvey Milk. | Photo: Daniel Nicoletta

Now in its 41st year, the annual walk to honor the legacies of former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone takes place Wednesday evening.

A candlelit procession begins shortly after 7 p.m., and organizers with the Harvey Milk Democratic Club plan a short audio-visual program along with speeches from those who knew the politicians. Attendees are encouraged to bring flowers.

Photos of Moscone and Milk by renowned photographer and activist Daniel Nicoletta are available for print through the Harvey Milk Democratic Club website to carry along during the vigil.

When: Wednesday, November 27 at 7 p.m.

Where: Harvey Milk Plaza (Castro St. at Market)

Price: Free

Drag queens perform to benefit victims of Castro fire

Sister Roma. | Photo: Jason Krueger

A 4-alarm fire earlier this month spread to three buildings along 452 to 464 Castro streets, injuring two people and displacing at least seven. Damage from the incident forced the closure of prominent businesses Q Bar (456 Castro St.) and Japanese restaurant Osaka Sushi (460 Castro St.) while they undergo repairs.

Performance and charity group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have pulled together 14 sisters, drag queens, and performers for a free benefit event at SF Oasis in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Performers include Sister Roma, Motha Chucka, and Donna Satchet (Their full list is here). In addition to the performances, organizers will sell JELLO shots to benefit the victims of the fire.

When: Wednesday, November 27 at 8 pm.

Where: SF Oasis

Price: Free, donations accepted at the door and inside

Sugar castle unveiling

Sugar castle at Westin St. Francis. | Photo: Sharon Mollerus

Jean-François Houdré, executive pastry chef for The Westin St. Francis, will unveil a 12-foot castle made of sugar and other confectionary goodies. The annual unveiling is now in its 14th year, and the chateau produced by Houdré is estimated to use more than 600 pounds of sugar.

The Westlake School for the Performing Arts Choir will perform at 11:30 am, and free holiday cookies and hot cocoa will be provided.

When: Wednesday, November 27 at 11 am. The sugar castle will be on display through January 2, 2020.

Where: The Westin St. Francis at 335 Powell Street

Price: Free

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