Our first experience with the San Francisco Pet Owner came during a walk through Hayes Valley. A woman exclaimed, "Look Amy! A corgi!" We initially thought she was addressing a child, but upon further investigation we discovered the woman was conversing with her own dog. We now know the pets of San Francisco cannot be classified as simple companions; they're members of the family. They are talked to as if they were children, can be seen sporting designer clothing, and often lead fabulous lives. They'll obviously need spiritual guidance to continue with their successful lives, and just such a thing happens today at the Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. (We're sure it also does a world of good for the people whose children are actually corgis.) It's the Blessing of the Animals, part of the North Beach Festival, which also includes musical performances, arts and crafts booths, and Italian street painting. And when we say street painting, that's exactly what we mean -- the artwork spans large areas, with often photorealistic results. The festival celebrates North Beach's rich cultural history, including the Beat Movement and the Italian community. Spaces on the city's oldest street (Grant) can be purchased for (human) children to make their own masterpieces with chalk.
June 16-17, 10 a.m., 2012