Carnaval San Francisco 2017 Theme


El Corazón de San Pancho/The Heart of San Francisco

What do Spanish-speaking locals call the great city of San Francisco? By its nickname -- and no, it’s not “Frisco.” The name Pancho is the common nickname for Francisco in Latin America, so it’s no wonder that Carnaval San Francisco would affectionately acknowledge their city in the 2017 theme, El Corazón de San Pancho/The Heart of San Francisco. Even though the name San Pancho is embraced by many Latinos in the Mission District to refer to their community, it is a name that can refer to all of San Francisco’s sense of unity, inclusion and multicultural pride.


2017 marks the 39th annual Carnaval San Francisco parade and festival. On May 27th and 28th, the Mission District will transform into an enormous celebration pulsating with dancing, drumming, live music, brilliant costumes and delicious food. Traditions from Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Haiti, and West Africa will be presented. The annual event attracts more than 400,000 people who come to enjoy the revelry and soak up the pageant of color and culture.


San Francisco has always shared a welcoming heart to people from around the world. Some of the residents are economic or political refugees who sought and found sanctuary in neighborhoods throughout the city. Although San Francisco has been hard-hit by gentrification and many people of color have left, it still maintains a distinct flavor by those families, businesses and cultural organizations who have managed to survive.


The theme, El Corazón de San Pancho/The Heart of San Francisco refers to the very essence of what it means to identify with the enriching love that this city has to offer. It’s about belonging, community-building, diversity and celebrating multicultural arts. It means passion, strength, and empathy. It recognizes a common struggle while promoting solidarity and compassion. It’s an acknowledgement that culture cures what’s ailing us, or “la cultura cura.”


The relentless assault of rising rents, evictions, displacement and limited access to economic opportunity is painful but it also serves to unify San Franciscans to cling together and celebrate the beauty of their families and traditions. This bond in the face of adversity is presented in the theme, El Corazón de San Pancho/The Heart of San Francisco.


The theme represents a connection that is revered by San Franciscans who cherish their connection to the community. People who grew up in “San Pancho” speak fondly of the tight-knit bonds that are uniquely theirs. Neighbors pitch in to help each other, organizing fundraisers for friends in need; and volunteer in the area’s schools and community organizations. In fact, the huge event that is Carnaval San Francisco happens only because hundreds of volunteers mobilize to make this cherished tradition a reality.


The city’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, is quoted as saying: “ Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” The Carnaval San Francisco team proves these words year-round as they prepare and produce a magnificent two-day celebration using the most powerful resource that exists: love. Love for community, culture and tradition; love that comes from the heart -- El Corazón de San Pancho.



Written by Sylvia Ramirez, Director of Digital Content for Carnaval San Francisco. Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.