50 shades of fetish at today’s Folsom St. Fair in San Francisco’s SOM area S I Z Z L E S !

©ourtesy of Carolyne Zinko @ sfgate.com
Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suburbia may be open to the idea of bondage-tinged romance, thanks to the best-selling “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, but may not be ready for the Folsom Street Fair just yet. Among the costumed participants at the 29th annual leather and fetish fair, which drew an estimated 400,000 people to Folsom Street on Sunday to celebrate alternative sexuality, were men in leather chaps and studded vests and police-like hats; citizens in latex bodysuits and hoods that covered their faces; and women in corsets and fishnet stockings carrying whips. No one wore a silver gray necktie, the signature piece of apparel worn by the kinky main character in the E.L. James novels. Still, the contingent of looky-loos in T-shirts and jeans seemed larger this year than in the past. Their ranks included seven students from Skyline College in San Bruno who attended for extra credit in a human sexuality class. “I was surprised by people getting led around by ropes around their necks – someone who was dominant leading the other person around,” said Catherine Sala, 19, of San Francisco. “I’ve never even seen a naked person in public before,” said classmate Cassandra Lapuz, 19. “At first, it was shocking, but at these events downtown, it’s normal. I’m trying to get used to it.” A  49-year-old San Rafael woman named Laura said she went to the fair two years ago but couldn’t walk through the gate – she was too afraid to go in. This year, having read “Fifty Shades,” she came with a friend from Alameda for support. “I think this is too hard core for ‘Fifty Shades’ people,” said the friend named Ken, who also declined to give his last name. “They might like to think they’re ready, but I think they’d get two blocks in and say, ‘Honey, let’s go.’ “The fair began in 1984 as an antigentrification street fair and evolved into a fete of alternative sexuality, said Demetri Moshoyannis, the fair’s executive director. The adults-only event contained booths selling floggers, halter tops made of chain mail, sex videos and other bedroom aids,

Folsom Street Fair San Francisco, CA

Folsom Street Fair San Francisco, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

food and drink stands, DJ dance areas and live bands. The fair donates about $350,000 a year to local and national beneficiaries, including AIDS Housing Alliance, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, Queer Cultural Center and Westside Community Services. Festival organizers, informally tracking its geographic appeal through advance ticket sales to its associated events and weekend dance parties, said more people come from Australia than any other country outside the United States, followed by Canada, England, Germany, France and the Netherlands. To mark the fair’s 30th anniversary next year, Manmade Multimedia began shooting footage for a documentary film to be released next year. The fair endures, said Carol Queen of the Center for Sex and Culture, because “it’s so one of a kind. “It has a similar vibe as (gay) Pride, but is different because it is so costumey, even if the sexuality of the costumes isn’t overt,” she said. “Anyone over 18 can walk in and get an eyeful. People are curious, and it gives them a chance to dress up for the exhibitionist experience par excellence.”  — article by  Carolyne Zinko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

Folsom Street, Fair, San Francisco CA

Folsom Street, Fair, San Francisco CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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One thought on “50 shades of fetish at today’s Folsom St. Fair in San Francisco’s SOM area S I Z Z L E S !

  1. Pingback: Folsom Street Fair History

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