Alcohol Crackdown Is Unnecessary for San Francisco’s Annual Fun Event, So Let B2B Be A Party
Why do city officials and politicians always want to shut down the fun, harmless events?
We are living in an angry society – protests at state capitol buildings, rants on social media sites about anything political or even a bad meal at a restaurant, violence and killing in all of manner of video games – yet what gets their attention. An event like Bay to Breakers.
There’s no more fun activity the entire year in San Francisco. Nothing that says San Francisco so clearly, nothing that so perfectly demonstrates the creativity and carefree attitude of its inhabitants.
Yet because there is some manner of alcohol involved, city officials want to turn it into what it most definitely is not: A teetotalling foot race through the streets from the base of the Bay Bridge to the “breakers” at the end of Golden Gate Park.
Bay To Breakers Is Much More Than Just A Fun Run
That was the original intent, of course, but San Francisco’s crazy residents would not let it happen that way. So they started dressing in costumes, holding block parties along the route and even constructing floats ranging from pirate ships to tiki bars, and rolling them for seven-plus miles.
They should be commended, not reprimanded.
They were joined by what eventually surpassed 75,000 people walking through the streets, stopping at house parties, dancing and laughing with strangers. Bay to Breakers is like Mardi Gras except it’s like being in a Mardi Gras parade.
And yes, alcohol is involved. People party. Booze is transported in shopping carts – so many used to be taken from grocery stores they eventually put electronic devices that lock the wheels when the carts leave the parking lot – and beer keg stands are commonplace.
It’s all good, clean fun, a release for many from the stresses of work, a chance for people of all varieties of backgrounds to come together for a single day of harmless, albeit most definitely adult, behavior. Bay to Breakers is one of the best events on the PubClub.com annual party calendar.
All of this was fine for years, of course, until some moral majority members started to complain because that dreaded word “alcohol” was involved, so the city responded with a crackdown on the fun. “No more drinking at Bay to Breakers” they proclaimed at press conferences.
Well, they put up “NO ALCOHOL” signs up, anyway. Then they wanted to eliminate the floats. Then they said they would arrest anyone caught drinking (this is something the cops assigned to B2B do not even want to do, though in 2010 they made a few confiscations, mostly to those foolish enough to flaunt their booze right in front of the officers).
Why? Yes, the abandoned floats cause a bit of a clean-up issue but I’ve been to the event more than a half-dozen times and the most distasteful thing I’ve witnessed is the occasional ugly person running past me completely naked, except for having their body painted red, or blue or even yellow. (Why is it, by the way, that the people you want to see naked in public always have on their clothes, while the ones you never want to see naked are the ones who are always in the buff?)
What I have never witnessed is any lewd or bad behavior, fistfights, not even so much as a scuffle. In fact, the biggest affect alcohol has on people at Bay to Breakers is that it makes them more funny, such as when a male friend chased a girl all the way into the breakers at the finish and emerged (alone, not surprisingly) from the Pacific wearing little more than seaweed.
From the tortilla-tossing start to the funny finish, Bay to Breakers is one non-stop laugh for anyone fortunate enough to be there for it. Bay to Breakers is not in need of a crackdown because it’s a crack-up!
Plus, it brings in tourist dollars to a cash-strapped city, as people come in from throughout not only the Bay Area, but also Southern California (and, as was the case one year, also the “boyz from Toronto”).
Let’s hope it stays that way.