For sheer surrealism, it's hard to top the sight of children sledding on a hill of manufactured snow in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza, backed by a huge, three-headed, six-armed Buddha statue. There's a reason we live in San Francisco, part of which is its pure weirdness.
Sunday's outdoor children's event was put on by an outfit called Steve Restino Event Services out of San Rafael, which also stages everything from the St. Patrick's Day Festival in Civic Center to the Petaluma Butter & Eggs Day Parade and Celebration.
The crowd seemed small, under a thousand adults and kids, for such an ambitious event, and when I asked at the Information Booth who was paying for the activities, the organizers weren't quite sure.
It wasn't the Recreation and Park Department, nor the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services. It turned out to be the first City Hall Holidays Open House, which was being hosted by the departing Mayor Gavin Newsom (above). Newsom is set to become California's Lieutenant Governor on January 3rd unless he decides to stick around San Francisco longer, and cause more trouble.
After making an appearance at the snow hill, Newsom spoke to reporters and then went to his office at City Hall to join his wife and young daughter as they received the public in small groups who waited in a line that wrapped around City Hall.
According to an article by Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday,
"Officials said the $65,000 event was covered by Wells Fargo, Levi Strauss and other corporations."
Those corporations, I am sure, were donating money towards this event out of the sheer holiday goodness of their marketing budgets, and were certainly not looking towards any past, present or future political paybacks from Mr. Newsom.
I do hope that the next mayor continues this new holiday tradition, because the kids on their sleds looked like they were having a blast. And next time, maybe they could tell a few people ahead of time about the event.