On Sunday, September 29, 2019, more than 400,000 people from all sexualities and genders will gather in San Francisco for one the largest kink and leather events of its kind: Folsom Street Fair.
What is Folsom?
Folsom is a fetish, BDSM and leather street fair with hundreds of vendors displaying a broad range of goods, live music shows, and public play stations to explore your dirtiest fantasies. Held on Folsom Street (between eighth and 13th streets) in the SOMA neighborhood – the epicenter of San Francisco’s gay leather scene.
How did it start?
Long story short, back in the 70’s, gay motorcycle clubs use to gather in the area. After the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s, the local government began shutting down the bathhouses and placing stringent regulations on the bars. The first Folsom Street Fair in 1984, began as a protest against redevelopment. It’s been going strong since then and nowadays functions as a fundraiser to combat AIDS.
What to pack?
Make sure to bring comfortable shoes; San Francisco is a walking city. September is usually hot. However, it can get chilly so at least pack a light jacket to protect from the breeze. Don’t forget your sunscreen; you’ll need it. I always travel with this Lab Series Day Rescue Defense Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 35. Also, due to a new San Francisco ordinance, single-serve water bottles cannot be sold or provided on public property at a permitted event. Water towers are available throughout the fair, so bring your bottle, opt for an easy-carry one. This Hydro Flask Bottle can easily be attached to your gear or backpack with any carabiner.
What to wear?
No trip to Folsom Street Fair would be complete without leather gear. If you’re looking to buy your first harness, go for something versatile such as this Leather Suspender & Harness Combo. – Easy to figure out, if you don’t like the way it looks like a harness you can easily wear it as suspenders. For those ready to go for whatever comes their way, the X-Treme Hybrid Jockstrap is the perfect option. Features removable pouch so you can show off your junk in the built-in cock ring.
Go the extra mile, match the color of your harness to this Varsity Crew Socks or Bandanas – Just learn the hanky code because kinksters at the fair take their color code seriously. Right back pocket means you’re a bottom, left back pocket means you’re a top: yellow for piss play, red for fisting, etc.
Since you’re hopefully going to be naked at some point, make sure to bring a phone holster. This Leg Harness is the perfect place to stash your mobile, cash, and most importantly lube. Not only functional but fucking sexy as well.
Where to stay?
San Francisco offers a lot of selections regarding lodging but if you’re looking to explore your fetishes in the bedroom too, try KinkBNB. This marketplace specializes in adult playrooms or accommodations with the open-minded. I was browsing the listings; there are some pretty equipped dungeons, so no need to carry heavy suitcases with all your toys and equipment. If you’re a novice, you could stay at a less intimidating location such as Yotel San Francisco, which is within walking distance to the festival.
What to expect?
You don’t have to be gay or wear leather; this is an event that welcomes everyone, except children and pets, unless it’s a human puppy! At the fair, you’ll see people suspended by hooks, spanked in broad daylight, playing naked Twister. Whipping one another to the point of welts, wearing ball-gags, sipping urine, and possibly giving and receiving blowjobs. Be careful! You’re not supposed to engage in lewd behavior, yet if you get caught, you’ll have two strikes before getting a citation.
Most importantly, before taking photos or touching someone – even if they’re the naked or in gear, always ask for permission or consent. Be respectful, don’t make fun of things, go with an open mind, watch, participate, enjoy and learn. Donate $10-15 at the gates and get a sticker that entitles you to $2 off each drink you buy at the fair ALL DAY LONG!
This article was first published in 2017 and has been updated with this year festival's info
Not just a pretty face