San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed announced today the upcoming arrival of Civic Center Carnival, a vibrant four-day carnival that promises to infuse the heart of the Civic Center with summer delights and thrilling family entertainment.
Civic Center Carnival will kick off Thursday, Aug. 24 and run through Sunday, Aug. 27, on Fulton Street between Main Library and the Asian Art Museum. It will be open from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
The lively event is expected to draw between 500-1,000 people each day and will feature carnival games and rides, including a Ferris wheel,100-foot super slide, fun house, spinning teacups and more. Guests can indulge in classic fair treats including hand-dipped corn dogs, Hawaiian shave ice, funnel cakes, popcorn, cotton candy, caramel apples and French fries.
“Bringing a carnival to Civic Center is one of many ways we are creating joy and celebrating in the heart of our City,” said Mayor Breed. “Creating vibrant, lively public spaces with activities people of all ages can enjoy is how we create stronger, safer communities. There is much more to come, and I’m excited see this area continue to blossom.”
Admission to Civic Center Carnival requires a $10 minimum purchase toward games, rides or food for each person over 12. The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will distribute a limited number of complimentary passes to nonprofits serving youth in its Equity Zones, including the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
“The Civic Center area isn’t just a hub for cultural activities or city government, it is home to families who want to celebrate summer with healthy activities and fun right in their neighborhood,” said Supervisor Dean Preston. “I believe in activating our streets and plazas for activities that draw visitors and make life more enjoyable for residents, particularly kids, and I’m excited for this activation.”
The event comes on the heels of Rec and Park’s announcement of a pilot program to transform neighboring UN Plaza. Drawing inspiration from activations in Paris, Madrid and Philadelphia, Rec and Park will install a street skating area, exercise equipment, and tables for chess, ping pong and teqball. The project is scheduled to break ground in September and open roughly six weeks later.
“We are thrilled to roll Civic Center Carnival into the heart of the City,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “In our experience, the most effective way to make our public spaces healthier and more vibrant is to make them fun.”
“A carnival next to a library is my idea of heaven,” said City Librarian Michael Lambert. “I can’t wait for the public to enjoy the rides and the reads. We are thrilled to have this type of novel activation on Fulton Street and for the community to have another great reason to enjoy our beautiful Civic Center. I encourage everyone to bring their library cards with them so that they can take home books along with their fun memories.”
Adding to the excitement, the Carnival’s opening day coincides with the opening of the Asian Art Museum’s East West Terrace, a 7,500-square-foot outdoor venue that will be a destination for contemporary sculpture and events.
“At the intersection of culture, politics, vibrant immigrant communities, and tech, our neighborhood is always transforming in new and exciting ways and it’s a thrill to see the City reimagine how Civic Center can play a role in making San Francisco residents’ lives not just better, but filled with fun,” said Jay Xu, the Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum. “With the opening of our new East West Bank Art Terrace on the evening of August 24—the same day that the carnival begins—the Asian Art Museum will be sharing great art from local artists both indoors and out, making this a festival for everyone, whatever they love. That’s something we can all celebrate.”
To support these activations and make the area safe and welcoming for residents, workers, and visitors, San Francisco is continuing to coordinate law enforcement and cleaning resources around the Tenderloin, Mid-Market and South of Market Area, including dedicated Park Rangers who are focused on Civic Center and UN Plaza. The Mayor’s recently adopted budget also includes an additional eight new park rangers, to help build on this support for UN Plaza.