The Grand Parade of San Francisco’s Carnaval

Photo by Mass Confusion

I joined SambaFunk more than a year ago, a couple of weeks before Carnaval 2012 in San Francisco. Ever since, I’ve regretted not participating in the Grand Parade. I promised myself I would not make the same mistake twice. I kept that promise and I even got Yasu to join in on all the fun, and we weren’t just in the t-shirt section, no we were in full costume!

The day started early in the morning in the Mission, where we all got ready and waited to join the parade. We were the second-to-last contingent so the wait was long, but SambaFunk never has a problem entertaining themselves.

I have been so enthusiastic dancing over the last year, I way overdid it with SambaFunk classes and more. It resulted in injured knees. That really bummed me out for a long time, but there was no way I wasn’t going to be in the parade this year, so I joined SambaFunk’s bateria.

Photo by Starinnovative

We paraded for a long time, past hundreds of people who all looked very excited to see us. We did look pretty impressive:

Photo by Mass Confusion

I was proud to be part of one of the parade’s largest contingents and to be part of this awesome group of drummers:

I learned how to play the tamborim, a little handrum, and I’ve been loving it! I’m so happy I joined the bateria and that Yasu decided to dance in the parade, because we will not be around for next year’s Carnaval. No regrets this year! I cherish this parade experience, it was a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Photo by Mass Confusion

The parade ended around 3pm. We had been on our feet since 8 am, so we were pretty tired. A lot of people went home to rest up for tomorrow’s Oakland parade, but we stayed around for SambaFunk’s performance at the Carnaval Festival:

Photo by Mass Confusion

This may have been my favorite moment of the day. During the parade, Yasu and all the other dancers were behind us, but during this performace we were facing them and dozens of dance-happy festival goers. We got to enjoy each other’s energies and it just created such joy!

I’m not sure how many people are in our contingent, but I guess it’s more than 200. Too bad so many people had already left, when we took this end-of-the-day group photo, but there’s another parade in Oakland tomorrow, so we can try again!

Photo by Mass Confusion

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any good pictures of Yasu dancing in the parade. Actually, I never really got to see him dance the routines in the parade, since all the dancers were behind me. But I did get to see him dance freestyle, with Pat another tamborim drummer, in between the parade and the performance. This video makes me so happy:

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