Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, June 14, 2010
The hippie movement had a flashback Sunday more than four decades
after the Summer of Love when thousands of revelers converged along
six blocks of iconic San Francisco pavement for the annual Haight
Ashbury Street Fair.
The annual block party came on the heels of a particularly ungroovy
time in the neighborhood, when residents and business leaders
conducted what might fairly be called a "hate-in" over a proposed law
preventing people from sitting or lying on the sidewalk.
But everything was copacetic Sunday. There was tie-dye, free dancing
and even a psychedelic bus. Familiar aromas wafted through the air,
lending a certain authenticity to the proceedings.
"Please, if you're going to take drugs - and we're not judging here -
don't take anything you don't trust," the loudspeakers blared at one point.
The scene included a bit of counterculture sprinkled with state fair.
Booths offered up "organic" funnel cakes and corn dogs, while an
entrepreneurial couple threw a blanket on the ground and sold
politically motivated patches for $3 each and ganja cookies for $5.
"Two makes you really squishy," the woman quietly warned a cookie
buyer who walked away with more than two.
It wasn't all 1967. Kettle corn appeared to be as popular as the
imitation hemp leis.
There were some old and young flower children, but there were more
tourists and parents who stopped to buy tie-dyed T-shirts, retro
purchases that probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Heidy Espinoza, 18, with industrial punk platform combat boots and
green-streaked hair, said she attends the fair each year to peruse
the independent art for sale.
"Usually it takes me an hour to decide what to spend my $20 on," she
said. In the meantime, she decided on a $1 Cheech and Chong button
for her sister.
Still, there was a decidedly karmic theme perfectly embodied by David
Alexander, who traveled with fellow members of the Twelve Tribe
Communities on the psychedelic Garden Bus from their farm commune in
San Diego County to attend the fair.
"We very much identify with the dreams that brought people together
in the Haight-Ashbury in 1967," Alexander, 55, said as he sat outside
the colorful bus munching on a sandwich as tourists took pictures.
Alexander was 12 during the summer of 1967 in San Francisco,
experimenting with drugs and singing Beatles songs in Olympia, Wash.
By the time Woodstock hit two years later, he was a hooked on the
Then it all "kind of crashed and burned for many people," he said.
His life took a detour through auto interior restoration, but he
found his way back seven years ago.
This week he made the pilgrimage to the Haight with his wife and
other members of the farm to prove that the Summer of Love was still
alive and well.
"We are here to look for the people who still have the hope in their
heart for the dream," said his wife, Shelem Alexander.
The good vibes did not completely drown out the political turmoil
that recently gripped the Haight.
Local resident Ann Dufrane perused the stalls wearing a "Stand
Against Sit/Lie" sticker, referring to Mayor Gavin Newsom's efforts
to make sitting or lying on sidewalks illegal during certain hours.
Dufrane's dog Franklin had a sticker too.
"I just have one word for our government wanting to pass something
like this: stupid," she said. "Ridiculous would be a good word too."
Franklin seemed to agree with the political sentiment and sat down in
the middle of Haight Street, the sticker placed prominently on his head.
E-mail Jill Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.