Hoping to enliven San Francisco’s Civic Center, the city will host a four-day carnival in late August that is expected to draw 500 to 1,000 people each day, Mayor London Breed’s office announced.

Located on Fulton Street between the Main Library and the Asian Art Museum, the Civic Center Carnival will feature a 100-foot super slide, carnival games, a fun house, and Ferris wheel and spinning teacup rides. There, visitors can feast upon traditional carnival fare including corn dogs, Hawaiian shave ice, funnel cakes, popcorn, cotton candy, caramel apples, and French fries.

“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,” Supervisor Dean Preston said.

“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,” he added.

San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza appears in an undated Google Street View image taken at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the plaza was converted into a temporary area to shelter the city’s homeless population. The tents are now gone, and the city hopes to reclaim the area for special events and the general public. (Google image)

The carnival’s Aug. 24 opening day also coincides with the opening of the Asian Art Museum’s East West Bank Art Terrace, a 7,500-square-foot outdoor space that will host contemporary sculptures and events.

“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,” CEO of the Asian Art Museum Jay Xu said.

Other places to check out

City Librarian Michael Lambert encourages visitors to bring their library cards and stop by the nearby public library while attending the carnival.

The creation of the carnival follows Rec and Park’s announcement of their plans to revitalize neighboring UN Plaza. Inspired by projects in Paris, Madrid and Philadelphia, the department will install a street skating area, exercise equipment, and tables for chess, ping pong and teqball.

According to the mayor’s office, the project is set to break ground in September and open around six weeks later.

The Pioneer Monument in the middle of Civic Center Plaza on Fulton Street is shown in a pre-pandemic photo. The San Francisco Main Library is visible in the background. The city’s Recreation and Park Department currently has plans to revitalize neighboring UN Plaza. (Google image)

Seeking to ensure that the areas around the projects are safe for residents, workers and visitors, the mayor’s office said San Francisco will continue to provide law enforcement and cleaning resources around the Tenderloin, Mid-Market and South of Market area, including park rangers focused on Civic Center and UN Plaza — the mayor’s recently adopted budget includes eight new park rangers.

The carnival will take place from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 24-25; 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 26; and noon to 8 p.m. on Aug. 27.

Visitors older than 12 must make a minimum $10 purchase toward games, rides, or food for entry. The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department plans to distribute a limited number of free passes to nonprofit groups in an effort to support youth in areas such as the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.

Helena Getahun-Hawkins is an intern at Bay City News through Stanford’s Rebele Fellowship. She’s a rising junior at Stanford majoring in International Relations and minoring in Spanish. She writes for The Stanford Daily under the campus life desk and was most recently managing editor of the Daily’s podcast section. She enjoys covering stories that center around education policy, immigration policy, and identity. Outside of journalism she enjoys drawing, yoga, listening to music, and watching TV.