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June 8, 2010

Carnaval Heats Up La Mission [Photo Slideshow!]

¡HOT HOT HOT! Diving into Summer with a Splash of Culture: San Francisco’s Mission

The pulsing beats bounce off buildings, finding their way around corners and into my ears while I am still five blocks away from the Carnaval parade route. As I approach Mission Street, my stroll becomes a salsa—the festive energy is contagious—and I am captivated by the barrage of colors, feathers and sequins exploding off the bodies of the beautiful dancers.

I am suddenly craving sliced mango and spicy mayo-slathered corn, and although it is only ten in the morning, a cerveza would really hit the spot.

It’s hot. It’s always hot for Carnaval.

“Colors of Sound, Splashes of Culture,” San Francisco’s Annual Carnaval, is the largest multicultural celebration in California, with over 400,000 participants gathering to showcase their rich cultural traditions throughout the weekend.

In the face of increasing discrimination against immigrants, and mounting xenophobia, both socially and politically, this year’s festivities are infused with a heightened sense of pride and support for the Latin American community. The mix of scantily clad women, skilled Samba troupes, Indigenous Aztec dancers, and t-shirts reading “Stay Brown” (promoting the Bratt brothers’ new film, La Mission) make for an inspiring and dynamic display.

I am enthralled.  At this moment, I too, am filled with pride. I am proud to live in this neighborhood, where all colors, shapes and sizes are embraced.  I am proud to witness such a spectacular creative expression. I am proud to be dancing in the street.

¡Viva La Mission!

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