America’s Cup Races, Fleet Week, Music and Italian Heritage Day Kick Off A Rocking October
Story by Cathy Seeligson. Photos by Dean Borton.
It’s not October in San Francisco, but more like Rocktober.
That’s because the City by the Bay is rocking with a number of events to start the month.
So let’s get rocking!
It starts with sports. The 49ers are playing at home (and against the Buffalo Bills, no less), the Giants are in the MLB playoffs as NL West Champions and across the Bay in Berkeley the Cal Bears host the UCLA Bruins (Saturday, 7 p.m.).
From there it’s another preview of next summer’s America’s Cup with the America’s Cup World Series (Oct. 2-7), which overlaps with Fleet Week (Oct. 4-8), which itself overlaps with the Hardly Strict Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park (Oct. 6-8). And there’s also Italian Heritage Day in North Beach as well as the annual Castro Street Fair.
The America’s Cup World Series (www.americascup.com), is the next installment of the America’s Cup race, which San Francisco is hosting next summer. The America’s Cup race, a long-storied yachting tradition, features revamped boats, racing and viewing technology. The boats in the World Series event are 45-foot catamarans being sailed by some of the world’s best sailors. They reach speeds never before seen in sailing races.
The courses are short and fast, usually about 15 minutes for match racing (two boats) and about 30 minutes for fleet racing (up to 11 boats). The races are easy to watch from shore, and the use of modern technology permits them to be watched easily on television and even on the Internet.
But it’s better to be there, and it’s fun and it’s free. The America’s Cup Village has food, wine and champagne lounges and a big screen to watch the races. It’s at Little Marina Green, next to the St. Francis Yacht Club, and the racing will runs along the Marina Green, possibly to Crissy Field. Admission to this Village is free, with seating in bleachers available for purchase.
This World Series is the last time races will be on San Francisco Bay until July 2013, when the teams return for the finals (in 72-foot catamarans) and the America’s Cup races, when Team Oracle USA defends its position as the holder of the Cup against the top challenger from the finals, and tries to keep it for the United States.
The races are being coordinated with the Fleet Week events. Fleet Week (www.fleetweek.us) is a celebration of U.S. naval military forces. Events include the Parade of Ships, ship tours, and airshows featuring the Blue Angels. Most of the action, particularly the Blue Angels shows and Parade of Ships, will be centered on the San Francisco Bay, particularly along the Marina Green, where there will be a Marina Green Festival Center. Admission to this is free, and although paid bleacher seats are also available.
If naval displays and sailing are not your thing, then put on the blue jeans and head to Golden Gate Park for the Hardly Strict Bluegrass Festival (www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com).
This free music festival is set on six stages in the park and has a wide variety of musical acts performing for three days. Founded by the late Warren Hellman, a San Francisco philanthropist with a love of bluegrass music, the festival has evolved over the years from mainly bluegrass acts to a wider variety of musical genres (hence the addition of “Hardly Strictly” to the name).
This year’s event includes more than 70 acts, including Elvis Costello, Dwight Yoakam, Patti Smith and Emmylou Harris.
That weekend’s events also include the Italian Heritage (Columbus Day) Parade in North Beach and the Castro Street Fair in the Castro District, both on Oct. 7.
It’s an extremely busy beginning to Rocktober in San Francisco!