Stay calm at the North Beach Festival

Does anyone else out there get a little anxious when they first arrive at a festival?

I’ve always loved a good festival.  But, I get a little too excited about making sure I see and do everything there is to do.

To explain how much I love festivals, friends have given me a festival persona — “Festival Fiona” — who comes out when I attend said events.

On Sunday, Dave and Fiona attended the 59th Annual North Beach Festival, held in the historic Little Italy neighborhood of San Francisco.  There were 125 arts and crafts vendors, 20 food booths, a number of beverage gardens and several stages hosting live musical performances.

This festival is pretty big.  It takes at least two hours to fully enjoy all of the booths.  If you stop to watch the musical performances at the various stages, you could be there all day.

In addition to window shopping the booths, we were looking for something specific.  We’ve been on the hunt the last few months for a colorful San Francisco painting by a local artist.  Although there were several vendors selling paintings, nothing was quite right, so we didn’t make any purchases.

There were a ton of local hand-cream vendors.  I mean, maybe more than 10.  I tried several creams and lotions for my hands, and they were all well-beyond the quality of Bath & Body Works, with some amazingly creative scent combinations.

Part of the reason I get so anxious at festivals, is because I want to make sure I choose the right food.  After about two circles around the festival, I decided to eat at an “Authentic Organic Greek” place.  This place claimed to use only the best locally sourced ingredients.  So that we didn’t have to split up, Dave stuck in line with me.  Sadly, I led us astray.  Not only did it take 10 minutes to prepare our respective souvlakia in pitas, but there was hardly any meat in either of them.  We waited far too long while hungry, paid $25 and didn’t end up full.  This somehow reminds me of the major Food Truck Fail I experienced several weeks ago at the Treasure Island Flea Market.

In hindsight, I would have ordered a grilled corn on the cob as an app and followed up with a turkey leg.  That seemed to be what most people were eating, and they all looked happy with their choices.

The North Beach Festival is definitely family-friendly.  And quite honestly, it looked helpful to have a stroller in tow to store a cold beverage.  People say it’s one of the best festivals of the year, but we have a lot more to experience before Fiona can vouch for that bold statement.

During our three hours at the festival, we met up with some friends for a brief hello, enjoyed some live Bluegrass music and, yes, we saw all there was to see. Thank goodness.

North Beach Festival.
Braids and shades at the North Beach Festival.
North Beach Festival
One of many meat vendors at the festival.
North Beach Festival
Check out the festival sidewalk chalk artists.
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