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Cinco de Mayo || May Events Calender 1999

 Here in the Mission, the month of May starts and ends with
 a street party. It kicks off with Cinco de Mayo, held this year May 2,
 and ends with a bang on May 30 with--Carnaval! The latin beat that
 simmers year round in the Mission comes to a full boil in May.

 Carnaval San Francisco is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
 It's come a long way since its modest beginnings all those years ago
 in Precita Park. Considering marriages and restaurants often don't
 make it past even the five-year mark, 20 years of anything is definitely
 something to celebrate.

 The festivities Sunday, May 30 (Memorial Day weekend) begin at 10
 a.m. The Grand Carnaval Parade, with its 32 contingents of
 gorgeously costumed dancers, electrifying drummers, imaginative
 floats, rollarskaters, stiltwalkers and scores of school children will
 wend its way through the heart of the Mission. Leaving from 24th and
 Bryant Streets, the parade moves along 24th, makes a right turn onto
 Mission, goes down Mission and takes another right onto 14th street
 and proceeds to Harrison.

 There will be a street festival on Harrison Street between 16th and
 22nd Streets from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Booths selling a tempting spread
 of ethnic foods and drink, colorful crafts, carnaval souvenirs and more
 will be there. Continuous live entertainment will heat up the area
 throughout the day. Two stages, one at each end of the festival block,
 will feature a dazzling array of dance and music performances,
 including headliner Miles Pena y Su Orquesta.

 1999 seems to be the year for anniversaries. As well as Carnaval SF
 itself, Escola Nova de Samba, the City's oldest samba school, has
 been going strong for 15 years and Foga Na Roupa is celebrating
 their 10-year anniversary with a continuous round of dances parties.
 the Mission Neighborhood Center is celebrating 40 years in business
 and 20 years participating in Carnaval. Whew!

 The major Carnivals of the world all have their own character--in
 Brazil its samba, in Trinidad it's calypso and Brooklyn, London and
 Toronto all ahve a strong Caribbean flavor. What's so wonderful
 about Carnaval SF is that it has a little bit of everything--a real
 multicultural mix.

 Grand Marshall Tom Ammiano, President of the Board of Supervisors,
 will be on the main float. Riding on the royal float in all their glory
 will be this year's King and Queen of Carnaval--Carlos Silva and
 Sorcidia 'Sorci' Harris.

 Traditionally, Carnaval enthusiasts like to arrive early to see the
 performers and floats line up on Bryant Street. The atmosphere is
 electric as the baterias warm up and the dancers practice their moves
 and put the finishing touches to their costumes. A definite photo
 opportunity. There are a couple of options available for those who
 prefer to watch the parade in comfort.

 Grandstand seating is available along the parade route for $20.
 Tickets may be purchases from all BASS outlets, Ritmo Latino on
 Mission Street and Discolandia on 24th Street. Information: 207-7747.

 Dance Mission Studios have a birds' eye view of the parade from their
 2nd floor studio on the corner of Mission and 24th Streets. Tickets are
 $20 per person. Children accompanied by an adult get in free.
 Refreshments are included. Space is limited. Information:

 To kick off all this excitement there will be a Carnaval ball on
 Saturday night, May 29, at Roccapulco, 3140 Mission Street. The hot
 local group, Avance, will headline. Further details were not available
 at press time. For ticket information: 415-648-6611. Proceeds from the
 ball and the sale of grandstand seating will benefit Mission
 Neighborhead Center programs.

 And, finally, while you're still in Carnaval mode, join dedicated
 Carnaval celebrants and head over to Oakland Monday, May 31, for
 the Carijama Festival held in Mosswood Park. It's laid-back, mellow, a
 lot of fun and well worth the trek over.

 Happy Carnaval, everyone!

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