Late April is one of the most glorious times of the year in the Bay Area. Usually by this point the rains have abated and people are coming out of their hidey-holes all twitterpated and ready to be outside. Suddenly people start planning camping trips, waterfall hikes, and sojourns to the Russian River. They begin frolicking in the parks, climbing our hills, and taking long walks to get to their destinations. Everything is a celebration of not having to choose between being soggy or being indoors and it’s our slight respite before the fogs of summer roll in.
Somehow, miraculously a whole bunch of wonderful holidays happen to fall during this period as well, giving us even more things to celebrate than just the weather.
For those who like smoking green just as much as they like frolicking in it, 4/20 shows up just in time to greet the spring flowers. The illegality of weed didn’t much inhibit anyone’s 4/20 festivities beforehand, but now that it’s really legal, April 20 is like an actual holiday. From expected events like a Snoop Dog concert to completely unforeseen ones like a Bollywood 4/20 party, there are dozens of ganja related happenings lighting up the Bay Area. And of course there’s the humongous 4/20 party at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. Tens of thousands of pot loving people show up to smoke massive amounts of marijuana. The cloud of smoke is so thick the birds probably get high as well.
Hot on the trail of 4/20 is Easter, another one of those holidays that San Franciscans have completely made their own. Everybody’s favorite drag queen nuns, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, are putting on their 40 th Annual Easter Party in Dolores Park thisyear. While there are DJs and performances throughout the day, the real highlight is always the Hunky Jesus Contest where men wearing loincloths compete to see who is the sexiest deity in this town full of heathens.
The Sisters aren’t the only party in town on Easter though, there’s also the Bring Your Own Big Wheel race in Potrero Hill. People come from all over to wear silly costumes while riding a Big Wheel Down San Francisco’s crookedest street. That’s right, contrary to popular belief, Vermont St. between 20th and 22nd Sts. actually holds that title. Sorry Lombard!
To round things out Passover always falls around this time too, giving Jews and their non-Jewish friends another reason to celebrate. While this holiday doesn’t necessarily take place outdoors, it’s still plenty festive. Since Passover commemorates the Israelites’ freedom from Egyptian captivity, it’s one of those Jewish holidays where indulging in wine (even over indulging) is encouraged. Four cups of wine are drunk during the Passover Seder, and some people drink more, so Moses suggests taking a walk home since it’s so nice out.
Yes spring is finally here…hopefully (crosses fingers). And with it comes all the reasons I listed above to celebrate. Living in the Bay Area lately has been tough. With all the evictions and displacements, and the shuttering of so many of our favorite places, it’s been a heart wrenching few years. But over the next few weeks take a little time to enjoy one of the reasons you’re still here: this place is beautiful and still full of strange and wonderful things to do.
Happy Passover/Easter/420 everyone.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. . He is a guest opinion columnist and his point of view is not necessarily that of the Examiner.