It’s a cloudy day, but that did not overshadow Carnaval: Countless families, friends, couples and, not to be forgotten, dogs flocked to the Mission today to watch the 45th annual parade, the second day of Carnaval and the midpoint in a long Memorial Day weekend.
Some 66 groups participated in the parade this year; hundreds of performers and singers, spectators and dancers filled the Mission for blocks. The festivities started at 9:30 a.m. and lasted through the early afternoon. Nearby, at the festival on Harrison Street, musical acts, food stalls, lowriders and artists set up through the evening.
DeSean Deams, 37, was standing at the sidewalk with his wife and their 8-month-old daughter in his arms. The baby, like others on the streets, wore a pair of comically-large headphones to block excessive noise. She looked around at the goings-on, laughing.
“I used to be in the parade a lot,” said Deams, smiling and remembering his middle school years.
People frequently approached Deams, who grew up in the Mission, during our conversation; he greets someone every five minutes.
He had no complaints, but thought last year’s parade was a little better — because it happened to be a sunny day.
Still, it remained a special day for Johanna Sainez, 40, who said she and her 81-year-old mother would not miss the parade.
They arrived at 11 a.m. with two foldable chairs, setting up at the starting point of the parade at Bryant and 24th streets. Sainez said she has come to the parade almost every year with her mother since she could remember.
“It’s a good memory,” Sainez said.
A breeze blew gently over the street, and Sainez put a jacket over her mother, who now has dementia.
The mother and daughter planned to sit and watch the parade till the end.
“Eventually she’ll forget about this,” said Sainez with a smile. “But it’s worth it.”