The 2018 San Francisco Pride parade, furries and parties – what’s happening and how to join!
by Patch O'Furr
Before you read about fun with the SF Bay Area Furries, remember why Pride matters. A local furry posted about being a target of an unprovoked homophobic attack this week with a photo of a black eye. He got a lot of support and hundreds of comments, but preferred to keep the post friends-only. And while there was one bad thing, expect hundreds of good things for everyone involved.
Now, here’s how to join us animals for one of our biggest events of the year. Let’s prowl and howl for an all-weekend rager!
- Friday, June 22: So Stoked for Pride with Frolic. It’s a special edition of Neonbunny’s legendary furry dance party. (DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, 7PM).
- Saturday, June 23: Rave & Sweets. Furry DJs, rave music and yummy sweets, hosted by MDKai. (Neck of the Woods, 406 Clement St, 8PM.)
- Sunday, June 24th: SF Pride parade furry float. (Embarcadero to Civic Center. Parade starts 10:30AM, furries later in the afternoon.)
SF Pride has had rising furry attendance over several years. More than 70 furries are expected, half in fursuit (a real show-off occasion!) There will be national media coverage (a minute on TV among 280 other groups), and a crowd of over 100,000 watchers.
The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the hearts of the fandom, with likely the most dense furry population in the world. They have been active here since the 1980’s, and took part in Pride several times in the early 2000’s. They re-appeared (I’ve been organizing since 2012) with a float starting in 2014. Their interest starts with a hobby – but surveys find roughly 2/3 identify as LGBT. With ultimate creativity to make your ideal identity, it’s about being as free as you can be! (See bottom for a timeline with links to their past participation.)
IMPORTANT – the float can’t happen without your help!
WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT VOLUNTEERS. They monitor the marchers and wheels of the vehicle, so nobody turns into road pizza. Right now we need YOU so we aren’t short. The training is easy and online: 1) Watch a short Youtube video, 2) Answer a few questions, 3) Confirm.
Read these instructions to help: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z49_DL3_3ZU-Og9VaqP_c998_5gNFLYQcCfkRn00Qxk/edit?usp=sharing
New members, be ready to march. Space to ride on the float isn’t guaranteed, it was a reward for the fundraiser (we made the goal with matching from Spottacus).
INFO TO JOIN THE PARADE:
GROUPS: There may be planning on the fly, so keep in touch and check for updates.
- Telegram chat: https://t.me/joinchat/B81p1hDA-YHmjrxNVxaUJw
- Meetup page: https://www.meetup.com/SFBayAreaFurs/events/251103810/
HELP: Check for answers below or in the groups before contacting.
- Zoren for donors (@ZorenManray on Telegram or Twitter or Zorenm@gmail.com)
- Roman for volunteers (@RomanOtter on Twitter, same on Telegram and most things)
- Groggy (@GroggyFox on Telegram or @Grogginator)
- Patch (@patchmutt on Telegram, or Twitter PM’s).
Arrival on Sunday: BART riders, exit at Embarcadero.
Drivers: go to Moscone Center garage, 255 3rd Street. (That’s the middle of the route, for easiest walk to the prep area and back from the endpoint. It’s a 15 minute walk each way.) 1 day parking is $29. BE AWARE there’s a Giants game the same day.
Marchers and volunteers: Arrive at SF Pride parade assembly point N2, at 123 Main Street. We’re Contingent #175. Be no earlier than 10am, and no later than 1pm. Everyone should dress in animal theme, ears and tails. If you’re a volunteer, avoid head coverings to keep perfect vision.
Watchers: Be anywhere along the Market Street parade route, and the parade starts at 10:30. Remember, furries will be later in the day, possibly well after 1. If you want to attend the gated Celebration in Civic Center until 6PM, check the Pride website for details. (No bins are allowed inside.)
Fursuiters: No bins! Soft foldable bags only. Due to space, hard bins are NOT ALLOWED on the parade float. A backpack is OK for small personal items. Consider changing on-street at the float (many do.) A van may be a base for changing or limited storage at Moscone Center garage, 255 3rd Street.
RIDING ON THE FLOAT IS NOT GUARANTEED unless you paid the GoFundMe campaign that earned a spot. Those who start on the float, stay on – it won’t stop. Everyone else be ready to walk the route. Consider outdoor footpaws and partialling.
This isn’t cushy or casual. It’s on the street, in the sun, and on the move. Be rested and hydrated and stick together. There’s no lounge, the crowds are wild, and it’s a show that needs exertion, so be ready to work it for the crowd!
Parade details: In previous years the real start was hours after the official time. Be patient, but don’t be late, the parade can’t wait!
Marchers, watch your spacing as a group, and where the float is. Try not to clump up, leave gaps or fall behind. The front-facing banner is where the crowds first see us, but active performing close to the barriers is good too. Use the whole street between the float and crowds on BOTH sides. Pose, give hugs and work it! Look for TV cameras on the right side after Fremont Street (a few blocks from the start.)
Parade length is around 45 minutes – 1 hour. At the drop-off on 8th Street, bags and personal items on the float will be handed back to you.
Refreshments: Bottled Water and Sports Drinks. Please bring your own snacks or extra water.
Crash space and dinner: Relay (@relayraccoon on Telegram or Twitter) can host overnight in SF. We can meet at his den after the parade ends to go out for dinner at Picaro, on 16th street near Valencia.
SUITERS, for another changing option consider asking Relay to assemble at his den and leave your stuff. You can wear your fursuit on BART to the parade (he’s a 10 minute walk from 16th.)
Conduct tips: San Francisco gets furries, so be fabulous! Pride was born out of protest and some will let their freak flag fly. Organizers reserve the right to deny participation to anyone (it’s never happened). Contact if your costume may be questionable but the only rule is: Be nice and safe. At large urban events there have been incidents like fursuit thefts or hostility, so stay smart and buddy up. Riding BART in fursuit can be intense with crowds, but it’s doable. They love it just like crowds on the street love fursuit photos.
A LOOK BACK:
- 2017 – San Francisco Pride had a furry float after they took the previous year off, and this time it was a Burning Man art car.
- 2016 – Bay Area Furries did a booth and fursuiting instead of a float. They also had two well-attended furmeets for movie screenings (Fursonas and Furries: a documentary) at Frameline Film Fest, the oldest ongoing festival for LGBT cinema.
- 2015 – Return of the furry float. Elsewhere, Silicon Valley Pride invited furries and Fangcon and FWA sponsored furries in their local parades. It was a huge year because same sex marriage bans were overturned across the USA.
- 2014 – The first furry float at SF Pride since 2005, putting them in front of national media and huge crowds.
- 2013 – Growing attendance for informal fursuiting meets at SF Pride.
- 2012 – The first time I organized and covered fursuiting meets at SF Pride (I don’t believe they were active for a long time previously).
- Bay Area Furries were in SF Pride in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Tom Howling posted parade video from 2002 – the first appearance of furries at a Pride event anywhere as far as we know.
Tom Howling said about 2002: “I was one of the (minor) organizers for that, and want to remind people that there was significant pushback from within the furry community — including among some who consider themselves “leaders” — to prevent us from doing this. They felt that associating with such an event would pigeonhole us as The Gay, or sex-crazed, or whatever. At times it was quite a fight. Sometimes you just have to just ignore and contradict “leaders”.”
UPDATE: the anon local fur who was attacked responded: “Hey it’s important to note that there has been an uptick in hate crimes targeting gays. Obviously since the election it’s been up in general, but in this month, pride month- I know of three other guys who got beat up in SOMA. I think it would be cool if you mention them as well. My situation is the 4th that I know of in the past week.”
Building a tighter group is a good way to help.
There’s all the info you need to be ready. Come out and bring your friends, this will be the best weekend of the year!