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article imageOp-Ed: The 'biggest little parade' in San Francisco is on Union Street Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Mar 15, 2014 in Lifestyle
San Francisco - As the 163 annual St. Patrick's Day parade here in the City is winding down, another parade to usher in spring time is on its way.
Bunny rabbits, chicks, ducks, lambs and ponies are all preparing to make another visit to San Francisco's Union Street for the 23rd annual Easter Parade and Spring Celebration in San Francisco on Sunday, April 20.
"It's the biggest little parade in San Francisco," said Dennis Beckman, owner of The Enchanted Crystal on Union between Laguna and Octavia Streets. He and a few friends are the founders of the event and when asked what was it that inspired him, he said, "I guess it was the movie 'Easter Parade,' and back when I was growing up all the ladies would wear hats for spring time." Beckman mentioned that if New York had a parade for Easter, then why not San Francisco!
"That first year we had the parade back in 1991, said Beckman, it was about 15 to 20 of us. Friends got all dressed up for Easter and the ladies wearing hats, we strolled down Union."
Since that time, "it just kept growing, every year adding a bit more, with more people attending. It has grown to about 30,000 participants," said Beckman. While the parade which starts in the afternoon, is very colorful and lively, "there isn't any floats or fancy marching bands, even as the event keeps growing each year, it is still a home-spun event," said Beckman.
The annual Easter Parade and Spring time celebration on Union Street in San Francisco gives families...
The annual Easter Parade and Spring time celebration on Union Street in San Francisco gives families an opportunity to visit with the Easter bunny.
Steven Restivo, event services, LLC
"There will be close to 50 parade contingents, noted Denise Lamott, press representative for the event. Five blocks of Union Street will be closed from 10 AM in the morning to 5 PM in the evening. "Creative individuals are wanted," Lamott said, because 'there will be the one-of-a-kind Easter Bonnet Contest. And, the contest invites all children, adults, and even pets to sport their most zany, elegant or outrageous Easter hats. The contest is all fun and for a chance to win prizes," she said.
Coordinated by Steven Restivo Event Services, the parade and all of its festivities is still sponsored and hosted by local merchants in accordance with The Union Street Association and others. "Over the years Dennis has always been my contact as a volunteer with this Easter and Spring celebration and parade, said SF Realtor Kathy Socal. A native of San Francisco, the Marina/Cow Hollow neighborhood, where the event is held is her home.
Here from last year s event is another example of the Easter bonnets many participants wear for the ...
Here from last year's event is another example of the Easter bonnets many participants wear for the annual Easter Parade and Spring time festival on Union Street in San Francisco's Marina District.
Steven Restivo, event services, LLC
Most of the work preparing and getting people to participate is done by volunteers. When asked if getting permits to close a portion of Union Street was difficult, Beckman said, "permits, no!" "Getting people involved and asking the community to pay for things, that is perhaps the hardest part." "The hours contributed are countless. Yet if someone were to pay to host and provide for this event, for just one day, the cost would be somewhere $25,000 to perhaps $100,000," said Beckman. Yet, he and others in the community like Socal think it is all worth it.
"Just to see all the people have fun especially for the families, it makes all the work a joy," he said. Beckman noted "it is a wonderful daytime event with wonderful things for the entire family. And most of all, it is free!"
Last year families were pleased that there were lots of games and activities just for kids; such as ...
Last year families were pleased that there were lots of games and activities just for kids; such as this horse round up ride provided by Radio Disney Road Crew.
Steven Restivo, event services, LLC
"There will be a pony ride at this year’s Easter Parade," said Sarah Tipple, project manager for Steven Restivo Event Services. "The Radio Disney Road Crew does some dance activities for kids," (among many other activities) she said. They will be at the main-stage And, of course there will be plenty arts and crafts and lots of food and music.
Beckman is very pleased with what he founded over two decades ago. He is amazed at its growth. "No matter how many people attend and all the various activities and events added each year, said Beckman, it still retains its hometown charm."
Each year Union Street gets all dressed up for Easter and Spring with its annual Union Street Easter...
Each year Union Street gets all dressed up for Easter and Spring with its annual Union Street Easter Parade and Springtime celebration.
Steven Restivo, event services, LLC
The Easter Sunday event, begins at 10: AM, the parade starts at 2PM. For more information visit The 23rd Annual Union Street Easter Parade and Spring Celebration website.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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