Sunday, May 17, 2009

Asian Heritage Street Celebration

Larkin Street in the Civic Center was a first-time host on Saturday afternoon for the Asian Heritage Street Celebration, which has roamed all over San Francisco in its five year history (click here for their website).

The sponsor of the event is the AsianWeek Foundation, which is run by the Fang Family.

They are an old-fashioned, politically connected Chinatown clan who have published the free AsianWeek for decades, the now-defunct Independent free daily in the 1990s, and for a period earlier in this century, The San Francisco Examiner, in a weird deal with the Hearst Corporation brokered by Willie Brown, Jr. (Click here for an old, interesting article on the clan by Susan Sward in The Chronicle.)

The previous four "street celebrations" were set in Japantown (Japanese), the Sunset District (Chinese) and South of Market (Filipinos), with this year's version nodding towards Larkin Street's Little Saigon district (Vietnamese).

According to signage in the Asian Art Museum, there's no such thing as "Asia" since the term is a Western invention, and the totally multi-culti crowd among the vendors, chefs and strollers just underlined that point.

Ethnicity was not what was important about the event, though.

Any excuse to shut city streets down to traffic for the purpose of outdoor barbeques on a warm afternoon for friends and strangers is a good thing and cannot be encouraged enough.

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