What Happens If I Run Into My Boss at the Folsom Street Fair?

George McIntire | September 25, 2013 | Lifestyle Story Culture

This Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of the Folsom Street Fair (aka Rick Santorum's worst nightmare). The world's largest BDSM and kink festival will be taking place on Folsom Street between 7th and 12th Streets from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm. (They added an extra 30 minutes this year to commemorate the fair's 30th anniversary.) The festival's organizers strongly advise against bringing your pets and children.

We spoke with Executive Director Demetri Moshoyannis to find out whether they've ever invited someone from Focus on the Family, what it's like cleaning up after the event, and what to do if you run into a co-worker dressed in chaps.

Is it a challenge, from year to year, to out-shock yourselves?
Each year, we try to produce a new and different fair—to give people a good reason to want to come back. This year we've added a performance stage to our Erotic Artists' Area (located on 8th Street just north of Folsom Street). There will be burlesque dancers, kinky clowns, and live flesh hook suspensions.

What's the etiquette for watching a live flesh hook suspension?
The best etiquette is to watch and learn, and then ask questions. Engage the exhibitors! But touching should be consensual. The motto of the leather community is "safe, sane, and consensual." It's always best to follow it.

What should I do if run into a friend or coworker?
Well, if you're both there, then it's for the same reasons, right? So it might be awkward on both sides. But, each party will get over it—or become better friends!

Can we look forward to actual penetration? If not, why?
Insertive sex has never been allowed on the fairgrounds, or masturbation for that matter. Our security team spends a lot of time handing out promo cards to blow buddies, encouraging folks to go to established sex venues. However, there are tons of BDSM activities that don't involve insertive sex, and that's what we're on the street promoting.

What are the must-see exhibits?
There are some amazing demos every year by RECON, Kink.com, Society of Janus, K-9 Unit, and the Golden Gate Wrestlers. The Steamworks jockstrap twister stage is always a favorite.

How do you clean up afterwards? Is it worse than a normal street fair?
Probably not, although I haven't cleaned up after anyone else's street fair. It's mostly cups and assorted trash. No one is wearing a hazmat suit.

Scott Wiener's nudity ban made an explicit exemption for the fair. Why do you think the fair is so important to the city?
Folsom Street Fair speaks to some core San Francisco values: the importance of self expression, creativity, and sexual freedom. There are very few places on the planet that could host this kind of event. The fair is a part of the city's way of life now.

Have you thought about inviting Focus on the Family? Keep your enemies close—that kind of thing.
I think Focus on the Family has come to protest us in the past. And, they will come if they want to protest us; they certainly don't need our invitation. Or maybe it's Americans for Truth? They're all kind of delivering the same message.

How do you stay cool when you're decked from head to toe in black leather?
San Francisco usually has great "leather weather." But if it's hot, keeping cool is easy by staying on the shady side of the street, popping under a tent for some shade or going into one of the local bars on the street—and there are many! We love them all.

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