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Up to 400,000 attendees expected for Folsom Street Fair

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Anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 people will descend Sunday on the South of Market neighborhood for the Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco’s annual adult-oriented leather and fetish free-for-all.

For the first time since 1992, the Folsom Street Fair – billed as the world’s largest leather and fetish fest – isn’t happening on the final weekend of September. Why? This year, tech giant Oracle booked most of the city’s hotel rooms for a San Francisco convention that coincides with the fair’s normal weekend. Folsom Street Fair organizers said holding their event on the same weekend as the Oracle gathering would have created a scramble for lodging, so they moved it up one week this year.

The nonprofit Folsom Street Events, which stages the fair, raised more than $330,000 for local charities in 2011. This year’s goal: Exceed last year’s fundraising total. Aside from the Folsom Street Fair, the events group hosts four other annual leather and fetish get-togethers benefiting charities: Bay of Pigs, Up Your Alley, Magnitude and DEVIANTS.

“Folsom Street Events is always thinking about new and different ways to minimize costs and maximize fundraising potential so we can give more money back to our charities,” Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of the events group, told Examiner.com.

The Folsom Street Fair and DEVIANTS wrap up San Francisco Leather Week, which kicked off Sept. 16. Last year, about 300,000 people attended the fair.

The fair covers 13 blocks on Folsom between Seventh and 12th streets; it runs from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, but a $10-per-person donation is suggested.

“Folsom Street Events is expecting a robust turnout for the fair. There has been a great buzz in the community about the entertainment lineups at the fair and all of the parties going on during SF Leather Week,” Moshoyannis said.

Highlights of this year’s fair include one main stage for entertainers; two dance areas; the Erotic Artists’ Area; Venus’ Playground, an area for women; and Riley’s Petting Zoo and Critter Corral (which, by the way, won’t feature live animals).

Major beneficiaries of proceeds from this year’s events are:

  • AIDS Emergency Fund.
  • AIDS Housing Alliance.
  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
  • Frameline.
  • Maitri.
  • Mission Neighborhood Health Center.
  • Pets Are Wonderful Support.
  • Positive Resource Center.
  • Project Open Hand.
  • Queer Cultural Center.
  • Shanti Project.
  • Other beneficiaries this year are:
  • Breast Cancer Emergency Fund.
  • Dolores Street Community Services.
  • Lyon-Martin Health Services.
  • San Francisco LGBT Community Center.
  • Transgender Law Center.
  • Westside Community Services.

Other beneficiaries this year are:

  • Breast Cancer Emergency Fund.
  • Dolores Street Community Services.
  • Lyon-Martin Health Services.
  • San Francisco LGBT Community Center.
  • Transgender Law Center.
  • Westside Community Services.

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