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Folsom fair date changed

by Seth Hemmelgarn
Saturday Dec 24, 2011

The date for the 2012 Folsom Street Fair has changed, marking the first time in 20 years that the annual San Francisco leather and fetish fest hasn't been held on the last weekend in September.

Next year's fair will take place Sunday, September 23.

Organizers opted to move the festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of people each year, to avoid a scheduling conflict with Oracle OpenWorld, which will run September 30 through October 4.

Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, which produces the fair, said the group first realized the potential need for a change when it learned that approximately 30,000 hotel room nights had already been booked around their desired dates.

"We were told only weeks after this year's fair that nearly the entire inventory of hotel rooms for the city had been sold out for the last weekend of September 2012. So, we were faced with a decision: either move the 2012 fair date and risk upsetting some people who had booked way in advance or not move the fair date, knowing that tens of thousands of visitors would be unable to book rooms at all," he said in a statement.

"We knew it would have been an absolute catastrophe to move forward with that same weekend," Moshoyannis added.

He said he's been in touch with an Oracle representative to make sure there won't be similar conflicts in 2013 or 2015. He said he's still waiting for the giant technology company to determine dates for Oracle OpenWorld 2014.

Folsom Street Events is also talking with the city to avoid future conflicts.

"We're trying to ensure we can go back to the way things were and continue to tell everybody Folsom Street Fair always happens on the last weekend of September," he said.

The person whom Moshoyannis gave as his contact for Oracle didn't respond to a request for comment from the Bay Area Reporter. The computer technology company draws about 41,000 people to its OpenWorld convention. CEO Larry Ellison is also involved in the 2013 America's Cup, which will be held in San Francisco.

Moshoyannis said organizers have been providing updates on the date change on their website and through Facebook. He said they also sent an alert to 25 to 30 community "leather leaders."

He said there probably are some international travelers who have had their tickets booked for a couple years.

"We will try to work with them to try to accommodate them and minimize the impact on them," Moshoyannis said.

He doesn't think the date switch will hurt attendance. He said with enough notice, most people making plans to come "should be fine."

"The vast majority of people book accommodations three to nine months out," he said.

Each year, the Folsom Street Fair and its associated gatherings raises money for numerous charities. This year, organizers estimated over $330,000 was donated to 16 nonprofits, including AIDS Emergency Fund and Transgender Law Center.

Dates for other Folsom events in 2012 are as follows:

Bay of Pigs: Saturday, July 28; Up Your Alley: Sunday, July 29; Leather Week: Sunday, September 16 to Sunday, September 23; Leather Week formal dinner: Thursday, September 20; Magnitude: Saturday, September 22; Deviants: Sunday, September 23.

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