San Francisco’s Haight celebrates Summer of Love at Haight Ashbury Street Fair

SFGATE, by Peter Hockaday, June 11, 2017

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This year’s Haight Ashbury Street Fair had an extra dose of hippie.

The 40th anniversary of the street fair was also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in San Francisco. 

Among the usual street-fair staples of barbecue, t-shirt vendors and drumming, there was plenty of tie-dye and one man giving out free hugs.

How much has the Haight changed in 50 years? We explored that in a recent article on SFGATE: 

Beyond the cheesy smoke shops and tour buses, the essence of the Haight still throbs.

As in the 60s, grandiose Victorian mansions line the streets as the scent of marijuana wafts through the fog-choked air. Youngsters still abound, too, ranging from traveling

vagrants who carry their possessions on their backs to hipsters hoping to score a Smiths record at Rasputin Music.

Many of the buildings don’t look quite the same – or aren’t around at all anymore – but if you gaze intently enough upon your surroundings, hints of the old Haight materialize.

Sunshine Powers heard the call of Haight-Ashbury as a kid growing up in San Francisco.
“It’s where I first heard the Grateful Dead, met my first boyfriend, and did other things,” she told SFGATE inside her Haight storefront, Love on Haight.

Though she acknowledges that the neighborhood has changed since its hippie days, Powers says the spirit of color, creativity, and consciousness remain.

“The sex, drugs, and rock and roll are like the frosting,” she said, “but the real meat and potatoes is the social, conscious revolution that happened here.”

To properly honor the “historical magicalness” of the Haight, Powers advocates for continuing the social justice mission of the Summer of Love that gave the city still-standing organizations, like the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic (now called HealthRight 360) and Haight Ashbury Music Center.

“That’s what the Summer of Love is all about,” she said. “It’s about honoring what happened 50 years ago and shaping the next 50 years.”

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