Call it yet one more casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of this year’s 47th annual Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown (Aug. 1 and 2) is simply the right thing to do.
In a city that prides itself in the diversity of its neighborhoods, the Nihonmachi Street Fair (NSF) is the “little street fair that could.” Founded in 1973, the NSF started out as a four-booth event that was built on the strength of the youth in Japantown. That momentum has continued for the past 46 years and the Street Fair has become an important annual celebration of the diverse Asian Pacific American communities. During the first weekend of August, Japantown became the backdrop to a beautiful melting pot and intersection of cultures that are uniquely San Francisco.
With over 30,000 in attendance, you were immersed in the diverse local Asian Pacific American cultures through food as well as entertainment including taiko, hip-hop, salsa, jazz; and the crowd favorite, the Doggie World parade, where 100+ attendees showed off their best friend. Post Street became a gallery of Asian artisan and check-in points where nonprofit organizations did their outreach.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the NSF Board of Directors to convene an emergency meeting. The safety of festival attendees, participants, 100+ volunteers, the many surrounding businesses and core planning group took center stage. And for the first time in its 47-year history, the Nihonmachi Street Fair will be canceled.
The Street Fair is completely staffed, produced, and organized by dedicated volunteers, alongside our community youth. Providing leadership and mentorship opportunities for our youth is the core of our mission. Ask anyone who has worn the coveted NSF Staff T-shirt. “We’re all about community and sharing that passion with our youth. We’ll be back in 2021 much stronger and even more resilient.”
If you’d like to continue to support the Nihonmachi Street Fair, we will be organizing a Facebook fundraiser in the coming weeks. Your support will help the Nihonmachi Street Fair continue their planning efforts for 2021.