The How Weird Street Faire was back this weekend after a pandemic hiatus, with nine stages, more than 50 live electronic DJs, and dozens of merchants and artists entertaining the weirdly dressed in San Francisco’s East Cut district along Howard St.
Now in its 22nd year and sporting the theme “Eternal Return,” the How Weird Street Faire is a celebration of the city’s diversity and a fundraiser for an educational nonprofit called the World Peace Technology Organization (WPTTO).
“We encourage folks to wear costumes,” said Brad Olson. “It just makes more sense that way. But of course we leave it up to people to wear whatever they want.. or lack there of.”
With a handful of youth-focused programs that emphasize STEAM learning, the WPTTO looks for ways to incorporate art, music, games, and other activities into the classroom to improve learning and encourage cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.
Olson said How Weird was now the longest-running electronic music event in Northern California. “The faire started out very modestly, with a basic plan that involved two stages and vendors in the middle, but we have grown through the years, ” said Olson. In the early years, the How Weird Faire was located on Howard between 11th and 12th Streets, but after receiving backlash from neighbors, the city forced Olson and his team to move the festival ten blocks down.
No complaints this year, which is no surprise given that downtown San Francisco has remained largely deserted, as employees in the surrounding office towers have relocated to remote locations while visitors and conferences have also steered clear. According to Olson, the revival of the How Weird Street Faire is a “reminder of the originality and vibrancy of San Francisco’s cultural life.