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Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks for your interest in the Folsom Street Fair® and the Up Your Alley fair! The Folsom Street Fair® takes place during San Francisco's Leather Pride Week, eight days of leather at the end of September. This is a week's worth of intense activity, with the Folsom Street Fair® being the crowning finale to a festive time! Many bars, clubs and organizations have parties and events all during Leather Pride Week.

Selected events during Leather Pride Week and week before the Up Your Alley fair will be listed on the leather week page as information becomes available. Information on these parties and events is also published in most San Francisco gay publications. The information provided in this FAQ is meant to answer general questions for fair visitors and potential exhibitors as well as to provide additional information through links to other sites.

Folsom Street Events is not responsible for any information provided by outside links or other sources



What are the dates for the 2014 Fairs?
The Folsom Street Fair®, up until 2012, was always scheduled on the last Sunday in September. In 2012 (and again in 2014) the Folsom Street fair was moved because another event basically reserved 90% of the hotel rooms in San Francisco for that date. This year, the Folsom Street Fair® is scheduled for Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 11am to 6:30pm (we've added 30 minutes to the end of the fair since it is our 30th fair).

Folsom Street Fair Dates

2014 Folsom Street Fair: 09/21/2014 *** Not the last Sunday in September
2015 Folsom Street Fair: 09/27/2015

The Up Your Alley Fair is always scheduled on the last Sunday in July. This year the Up Your Alley Fair (held on Dore Alley) is scheduled for Sunday, July 27, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Up Your Alley Fair Dates

2014 Up Your Alley Fair: 07/27/2014
2015 Up Your Alley Fair: 07/26/2015
Can I smoke at the Fair? It's outside right?
In February 2013, San Francisco banned smoking at outdoor festivals and fairs, and is the first big city in the United States to do so. The ordinance requires that we post signage, make regular announcements during the fairs, and make it clear in any promotional materials that the fairs are smoke free.
Can I bring my Dog? Can I bring my Child?
Folsom Street Events STRONGLY discourages people from bringing either children or pets on to the fairgrounds. The organization feels that it is not an appropriate environment for them. We post this message at our gates with signage, and our gate volunteers reinforce this message upon entry. Given that we produce an event that is on public streets, we cannot prevent someone from entering into the fairgrounds (if you choose to bring a child or a pet). Additionally, our security volunteers repeat this message for anyone found on the fairgrounds to be in conflict with our policy
Where are the fairs?
The Folsom Street Fair® is located in San Francisco's South of Market district on Folsom Street between 7th and 12th Streets.

The Up Your Alley Fair is located in San Francisco's South of Market district on Dore Alley between Folsom and Howard Streets and the adjoining blocks of Folsom Street between 9th and Juniper Streets. In 2008 we added Tenth Street to the fair grounds and moved the Magnitude Dance area there in order to alleviate crowding.

Both Fairs are handicap-accessible.

I've combed through the website and I can't find the ticket prices for the fairs?
Addmission to the Up Your Alley Fair and the Folsom Street Fair is free with a suggested donation of $7.00 and $10.00 respectively. Attendees who choose to provide the suggested donation receive a sticker which entitles them to $2.00 off each beverage purchase. Please keep in mind that 100% of your gate donations go to our beneficiaries.
What are the main attractions at the fair?
Aside from the hundreds of thousands of fairgoers enjoying the day in their kinkiest fetish garb, the other main attractions of the fair are:
What's the best gate to enter the Folsom Street Fair?
If you exit Muni at Van Ness, walk down to our 11th and Howard St. gate. That gate is less busy than the one at 12th and Folsom.

If you exit Muni or BART at Civic Center, walk down to the 8th and Howard St. gate (or the 9th and Howard St. gate). Even better, our gates at 8th and Harrison, 9th and Harrison, 10th and Harrison, and 11th and Harrison are the least busy of all; So you be in the thick of things even faster.

Our busiest gate is at 7th and Folsom St. so, PLEASE avoid it, if you can.
What's the best way to get from the Folsom Street Fair to DEVIANTS?
Exit the fair via one of the numbered streets (8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th) toward Market St. and turn left onto Howard. Once you get to 13th St. (under the central fwy.), please cross the street slowly and obey the traffic lights. You will see our security volunteers and Parking Control Officers at the intersection. Continue right on 13th St. and turn left on Mission St. Erie St. is one half block south of 13th Street. DEVIANTS is located at Public Works, 161 Erie St., SF.
Can I be nude at Up Your Alley or at the Folsom Street Fair?
There is no Federal law against nudity but neither is it a guaranteed right. This means that state, county and local laws can take precedence. Nudity, per se, is not a crime in California unless a person is lewd. The San Francisco District Attorney's office has consistently discharged public nudity citations because "being naked in San Francisco is not a crime" (D.A. spokesperson Debbie Mesloh, September 2004).

That all changed in 2012. After nudity activist invaded the Castro neihborhood a backlash ensued. It is no longer legal to be nude on the streets of San Francisco. All is not lost, ye seekers of free body culture, both the Folsom Street Fair and the Up Your Alley fairs are exempt from the nudity ban. Please use the coat check service at the fairs to insure your compliance as you enter and exit the fair boundaries. Don't come to the fairs naked, undress at the fairs. Use the coat check.

Folsom Street Events maintains local community standards, such as at Bay to Breakers and the Castro Street Fair. As fair organizers, we do draw the line with public sex (see below).
What is the policy on lewd behavior?
Folsom Street Events encourages all fairgoers to express behavior that is safe and within the law. We encourage everyone to take personal responsibility for providing a positive communal environment for the adult alternative lifestyle community. Lewd acts will be disrupted by our security volunteers who reinforce this message for anyone found on the fairgrounds to be in violation of our policy.

At the suggestion of SFPD, we have implemented a more aggressive graduated policy for violators of the lewdness policy.

Step 1: Verbal warning
Inform the fairgoer that the behavior is not allowed and that they will face ejection from the fair on the next occurance.
Step 2: Reminder
Fairgoer will be reminded of the first warning and given a personal escort off the fair grounds with notification to gate volunteers not to allow re-entry. Warn the fairgoer that on the next violation of this policy we will escalate to SFPD.
Step 3: Turn over to SFPD
SFPD will be called to assist and requested to cite the fairgoer who has violated the lewdness policy.

Lewd behavior in second and third story windows on the fairgrounds will be referred directly to SFPD for intervention.
I'm 20 years old (or 18 or 19), can I come to the fair?
Of course you can. We look forward to seeing you. While we don't have any age restrictions at the gates we do inform attendees of the adult oriented nature of our events. We also strictly enforce the 21 or over restriction on beer and liquor sales. So if you are under 21, please don't try and purchase alcohol. We will card you.
Can I ride my bike or motorcycle to the Fairs?
Yes. That's a great idea. Folsom Street Events and the SF Bike Coalition have teamed up to bring free bike check and coat and bag check (donation requested) to the Folsom Street Fair. Dykes on Bikes will be offering free motorcycle parking and helmet check (donation requested) at the Folsom Street Fair.

Monitored bike parking is also available at the Up Your Alley fair for $5.00 per bike.
Is there handicap parking available?
Handicap parking at the Folsom Street Fair® is available at the following locations. Signs will be posted.

The northwest corner of:

  • 11th & Harrison
  • 10th & Harrison
  • 9th & Harrison
  • 8th & Harrison
  • 7th & Harrison
The southwest corner of:
  • 11th & Harrison
  • 10th & Harrison
  • 9th & Harrison
  • 8th & Harrison
  • 7th & Harrison
I lost my favorite 'whatever' at the Fair. Where is Lost+Found? I found someone's 'whatever', what do I do with it?
If you want to turn in a lost item at the fair, or wish to inquired about a lost item please go to the Volunteer Check-In on Dore Alley. Any orange-vested security volunteer can direct you to this location.

After the fair, please email the office (See About Us). We'll let you know if your item was turned in. Please note: The Folsom office is closed the Monday after the fair.
I'd like to help. Do you need volunteers?
Did you say volunteer? Come right this way. We rely on over 500 volunteers to help put on the fairs. Most are provided by our beneficiaries. However if you'd like more information you can be placed on our volunteer mailing list.
What about accommodations?
There is extensive lodging available in the South of Market district, mostly motels. Please see our Travel Deals section for special hotel offers. While there is no "host" or "official" hotel for either fair, Folsom Street Events encourages you to check out the hotels listed since they have generously agreed to support the fairs.

Some other area Hotels and Motels are a Ramada Limited as well as the Ramada Plaza Hotel nearby on Market Street, several Best Westerns, and a HoJo (Howard Johnson's) Inn. Other lodging is found throughout the city, including downtown San Francisco and the Union Square area. Downtown and Union Square are a long walk or short cab ride from the fair sites. All accommodations in San Francisco are required by law to be handicap-accessible.

YOU ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO MAKE LODGING RESERVATIONS AS SOON AS YOUR TRAVEL PLANS ARE ESTABLISHED, AS AVAILABLE ROOMS SELL OUT VERY EARLY! Please contact your travel agent for further assistance!

What about transportation?
FROM THE AIRPORTS -- San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located approximately 15 miles south of downtown San Francisco and the Fairs. Oakland International Airport (OAK) is located directly east across San Francisco Bay from downtown San Francisco.

BART now takes you directly into the International Terminal at SFO. For US domestic flights, you can either walk or take a free AirTrain shuttle from the BART station to your terminal.

Bus and cab transportation is also available, as well as van shuttle services. Van service costs approximately $12 - $22 from SFO or OAK into San Francisco, one-way.

San Jose International airport (SJC) is also an option. SJC is approximately 50 miles south of San Francisco.


IN THE CITY -- San Francisco has extensive public transportation provided by MUNI (cable cars, buses, streetcars, subway trains); taxicabs and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). BART also connects to SFO as well as Oakland and the East Bay. Tickets are required for the use of BART. Other public transportation requires coins or passes. Passes for multiple-day use can be purchased from MUNI.
What kind of weather can I expect?
San Francisco usually has excellent weather in September and October, although be prepared for cool nights. Bring your leather jackets! The temperature on Folsom Street Fair® day is usually warm. It can get as high as the mid-eighties; in 1997 it was close to 100! In 1998 there were rain showers, although rain is very unusual in late September and early October. 1999 and 2000 were sunny and hot.
What about nightlife, bars, and restaurants?
We knew you'd ask this question!  San Francisco is internationally famous for its restaurants! Good food, in all price ranges, are available throughout the city. San Francisco has extensive nightlife of all kinds! Gay bars and other clubs are located mainly in three areas: the Castro, South of Market and the Polk Street area. The majority of leather bars and adult-oriented clubs are located South of Market, although there are others in the Castro, and leather is welcome in the Polk Street area too.
I am interested in booth space at the fair(s). How do I get an application?
Applications for booth space at either the Folsom Street Fair ® or Up Your Alley Fair will be available on-line in PDF format in March 2014. Now that the applications are available on-line in PDF format we are no longer mailing out application forms automatically to last years exhibitors.

Exhibitor space at the 2013 Up Your Alley fair sold out and we expect the same for the 2014 fair, so get your application in early.

You may also send an email to exhibitors@folsomstreetevents.org with your name, address and telephone number requesting an exhibitor application.

How many people attend the fairs?
The Folsom Street Fair® is a major international destination. More than 400,000 people attend this major leather event from all over the world every year.

The Up Your Alley Fair is a more local event, much the same as the Folsom Street Fair®, except on a smaller scale. Approximately 12,000+ leatherfolk attend.
Who runs the "REAL BAD" party? How can I get tickets to REAL BAD?
REAL BAD is produced by Grass Roots Gay Rights West (GRGR/West), a local, all-volunteer non-profit committed to raising and distributing funds to grassroots organizations that strengthen the diverse populations that make up San Francisco's LGBT community. REAL BAD is the only event of its kind that gives 100% of the money raised from ticket sales back to its beneficiaries. There is no affiliation between Folsom Street Events and REAL BAD or GRGR/West.

Tickets for REAL BAD are sold primarily through party hosts. If you are not a host or do not know a host, there are limited tickets sold through retail outlets and at the door. Complete ticket purchase info for REAL BAD can be found on their website: realbad.org. You can also email them at info@readlbad.org.

The best places to find REAL BAD tickets are:

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Copyright © 2003-2011 Folsom Street Events. Folsom Street Fair®, Up Your Alley®, Bay of Pigs®, and Magnitude® are registered trademarks of Folsom Street Events. Unauthorized use prohibited. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the folsomstreetevents.org LEGAL statements. Folsom Street Events' privacy and legal policies. Design by Nik