People – and Costumes and Some Booze – Return to the Streets of San Francisco For Annual Zany Run & Informal Parade and Party
The 100th Bay to Breakers, the annual street party, block party and festival through the streets of San Francisco, should have been a celebration of epic proportions.
For years, the event went on without incident, people cutting loose and having fun dressed in costumes, rolling floats (big and small) from the Bay Bridge to the “breakers” in Golden Gate Park, and enjoying their adult beverages in an all-day party.
In 2011, however, city officials said “enough is enough” and attempted, to, once and for all, to make this a registration-only, no alcohol event.
In large part, they succeeded. Officially the Zazzle Bay to Breakers, it was a big security presence and while some people certainly managed to bring along booze, it was hardly the good ‘ol days of past B2Bs.
There were beer gardens set up this year and, as usual, bands playing along the route (not all of these are not officially part of the event but that’s fine).
People did dress in costume and there were a few who dressed in nothing (and it’s never the people you want to see naked who do this for some reason!).
For more on Bay to Breakers, plus tons of photos, click the PubClub.com B2B Party Guide.
Bay to Breakers – Report From A Runner
By Catherine Seeligson
For the 100th anniversary, the 2011 Bay to Breakers was more subdued and restrained than it has been for years. Part of it was the hour earlier start time – 7:00 a.m. Then there was the bad weather forecast – rain and possibly thunderstorms or even hail. But a major part of it appeared to be the new crackdown on partying.
The race officially, 100% banned alcohol and meant it. Floats were completely banned as well, including anything wheeled (think grocery carts stocked with liquor). security and police lined much of the course, particularly in areas where parties had been big, like along the Hayes Street Hill and the Golden Gate Park Panhandle. There were even barricades along the entire panhandle, with very few spectators in the park. A few houses along the course had music playing and groups watching, but nothing like last year’s race.There were still bands along the course. However, it seemed as if they were fewer and further in between. San Francisco is clearly not an early morning town.
Apparently police were checking open containers and taking away obvious booze. In addition, bandit runners (those who did not register) were called out although not ejected from the race. There were “sobriety tents” but very few people were brought in.
All of that being said, it was still the Bay to Breakers. There were over 55,000 official runners, with over 42,000 official finishers. There were crazy outfits and costumes galore, including the strangely appropriate cops drinking beers. Of course there were nudists (you can tell a newbie to the race when she repeatedly says “Oh my God!” Heh). And yes, there was booze, although it was generally hidden away. There was also pre-partying. I know of at least one group who were drinking mimosas before 5:00 a.m. There are bars along the course. Participants still seemed to be enjoying themselves – just not toasting each other with drinks along the course.
At the end was Footstock. It seemed subdued as well. Of course, it could be because we were running this year and got there early. (This could also be why we were not seeing much in the way of booze or drunken partying). It was at Speedway Meadows, which is 1.5 miles from the finish, even further from the end than the old location of the polo grounds. However, it was much much better than the 2010 Footstock location, which basically did not exist.
Footstock has been disappointing in various ways for years. It’s supposed to be a little festival, which it is not. But it is a fine place to grab your t-shirt, meet up with friends, grab something to eat or get a drink in the beer garden, see the costumes, and rest. This year was better in that the location is large, so there was lots of space for people to hang out with little congestion. Plus there was a large beer garden area.
Overall, it was not the crazy party of prior years. It may have been excessively quiet due to the early hour and threatening weather which never actually materialized. Clearly there was an effect from the security which reduced boozing runners and drunken parties along the way. It will be interesting to see if it was considered a “success” and see what happens next year.