Bay To Breakers Party Review
The Alcohol Crackdown Can't Crack Down On The Fun
Depite an attempted alcohol crackdown, people still have fun at B2B.
Bay to Breakers 2013 Date: Sunday, May 19
The once-grand Bay to Breakers is becoming a do-gooders flash point and a politically correct platform for politicians.
But that's not San Francisco!
The days kegs of beer in shopping carts being pushed for seven miles, tiki bars on wheels, themed "floats" such as pirate ships, prisoners and outdoor BBQs and beer pong tables are a faded (and fuzzy!) memory.
There are still bands playing on street corners, continuous block parties and some tens of thousands of people walking, running, dancing, walking. And still partying.
This is the Zazzle Bay to Breakers, an annual festival of 75,000 people of free expression, limited inhibitions and limitless alcohol (despite recent efforts to curb this portion of the event; keep reading for more on the crackdown).
That is NOT her boyfriend; that's PubClub.com friend "Breakers Bob."
Bands provide additional entertainment during B2B.
Hot girls are always a fixture at Bay to Breakers.
Depite the crackdown, Elvis has not left the Breakers.
There's a few places along the route that have house parties.
It's quintessential San Francisco, a gathering of gays and and straight people, of the clothed and the not-clothed, of the drinking and the drunk, all joined together for a day of drink-filled fun.
For Bay to Breakers, people come to walk through the streets of San Francisco in a fog. They come to party in what is basically a morning Mardi Gras. They dress up in costumes if, in fact, they dress at all.
Bay to Breakers is an example of what makes San Francisco one of this country's greatest cities. The tolerance for freedom of expression is a welcome change from the stoic Puritan overtones elsewhere in the United States. It's also proof that people of all walks of life, from different incomes and backgrounds, color, sexual preference and even varying political beliefs can indeed all get along together in this world of ours.
To call Bay to Breakers a race is a bit misleading. A rolling street party is more like it. The Mardi Gras of the West Coast. Covering 12K (7.46 miles), it rolls from the Financial District through the city's distinctive neighborhoods and into beautiful Golden Gate Park.
Organizers encourage costumes and even host a contest (win a fabulous trip to exotic places like Phoenix, Orlando and Reno!). Technically, the event has a registration fee but it is not mandatory in order to run (just don't expect to win a trip to Reno). Officially, there are something like 50,000 participants, but another 25,000 join the party.
The "Crackdown" Party Report
Is she the lookout for the anti-party police!?
The crowds are apparent at Hayes Hill.
By far, most people walk and don't run in B2B.
Bay to Breakers is the Mardi Gras of the West Coast.
The race is still a blast - tons of people dressed up with the usual festive tortillas flying at the start. Here's a report:
Despite repeated warnings on liquor, nudity and unregistered "floats" such as grocery carts, there was no real crackdown and the party raged on as usual. Naked people were everywhere, most wearing the requisite neon hat and some thoughtfully carrying balloons this year. Grocery carts and bags of booze were still evident. Even the occasional IV rack full of Franzia.
We did see some beers being confiscated in the Panhandle area, but they were being paraded right under the cops' noses. So discretion is key with beverages.
Camelbaks or sport drink bottles are probably the best way to go, or at least hanging out in the middle of the pack and away from the cops. If only people would learn not to drink so much at the start, though.
Pace yourselves, people! It's a long race!
Bands were set up alongside the course - surf guitar, rap, Pink Floyd covers, heavy metal. Parties were everywhere, from little ones at intersections and near the bands, to numerous house parties along the Hayes Street Hill, the top of the Hill, and then along Divisadero and the Golden Gate Park Panhandle.
There were a couple of new features at the start this year. The floats had official starting areas and an early finish line, and were not allowed to start until after most or all of the runners and walkers. So although we saw Vikings and Pirates, a GoGo girl cage and more, none of them were permitted to start until after we had gone past (and we were back of the pack). Although we missed seeing them on the course, they were clearly having a good time as they were waiting to start.
The other new feature, which I did not realize until the end, was that the evangelists were missing! No fire and brimstone until a few diehards showed up further along the course.There were also more porta-potties this year, which was great, and really really necessary, as well as larger water stations.
Footstock remains a disappointment.. Rather than holding the large party in the polo fields (the traditional venue), they set up booths and a small beer garden along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Although there were miscellaneous vendors, a beer garden and food booths, there was no stage or bands, There was nowhere to sit down, except along the curb of the road. The beer garden had a bit of lawn area, but it had a huge line to get in and appeared to have no food.There was no "there" so we just passed on through. Hopefully they will move it back to the polo fields next year.
– PubClub.com Bay Area Party Correspondent Cathy S.
Bay to Breakers Photos
Ahh, for the good 'ol days of cases of beers in shopping carts!
He lends a helpful hand for a keg stand.
This is good, harmless fun before the crackdown at B2B.
There was a time – a fun time – when floats were part of B2B.
The Vikings roar at Bay to Breakers.