The 29th annual Folsom Street Fair will be an exhibition of kinktastic fun, filled with leather daddies, eager submissives and more than 250 vendors and exhibits displaying all that the Bay Area has to offer in BDSM. But don’t strap on your ball gag just yet — there’s much to learn before heading to your first Folsom Street Fair.

The fair, which will grace San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood with its presence Sept. 23, spans 13 city blocks between 7th and 12th streets and seven hours, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Estimated attendance for this year is 40,000 people coming from all over the world.

It’s kind of a big deal.

But never fear, Folsom newbies, your kink guide is here with some tips and tricks to get you ready for your big trip to the fair.

First, your outfit. Keep in mind that Folsom Street Fair is one of the only opportunities that some kinksters get to come out of the closet and show their true colors, so there’s going to be a whole lot of fetish wear — everywhere. The fair marks the end of Leather Week in San Francisco, so there’s definitely going to be a lot of leather.

If you’re a virgin to leather, this might not be the best time to take it out for a spin. Remember San Francisco’s freak summer that happens at the end of September? It tends to hit the fair with full force. Unless you know how to wear it, opt for just a leather harness and some booty shorts instead. Or forget the leather entirely and wear something else in the fetish realm, like a corset or assless chaps. What you wear can reflect your role and kink, so be careful to put in some research before you toss on a collar.

Don’t bring too much with you. It might not seem like a lot, but hauling around heavy gear or a large bag over the course of a hot day is not going to help you have fun. Just grab some cash, a phone and some water, and you’ll be good to go for the whole day.

While you’re at the fair, you’re going to see everything. Yes, everything, and maybe even some things your twisted mind has not yet realized existed. Consider it a learning experience and stash the memories in your spank bank or keep them locked up to use on a partner later.

We all know you’ll have a camera with you in some form, but remember that people attending Folsom Street Fair are there for their own merriment and not as sideshow freaks — some may not take kindly to you snapping photos of them. Do so at your own risk. Asking consent is welcome.

Vendors at the fair will have all kinds of incredible gadgets, toys and fetish wear on display so peruse extensively. However, don’t touch or play with everything. The same goes with people. Unless you are asked to participate in a scene, don’t do it. Again, you need consent.

Of all the crazy things you’ll see at Folsom Street Fair this year, the craziest will definitely be public sex. It’s the craziest because, if the real police scattered throughout the crowd catch you, you can be cited and arrested for your behavior. Getting caught engaging in public sex acts in California can earn you registration as a sex offender so please keep your legs closed and your dick in your pants until you get home. There are plenty of other sexual and kinky things you can do at the fair to keep your interest piqued.

Budget your time wisely. There’s lots to see and not a lot of time to see it. But don’t worry if you can’t get it all done — there’s always next year. See you at Folsom!

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Cassie Becker

Cassie Becker

  • goldrushjohnny

    this fair used to be so much fun when it was a local event. then the producers made it an international event, and all these obnxious people fly into san francisco every september and treat my entire city as if it were some theme park. hardly no one in san francisco goes to this fair anymore.
    i know this fair is not going away becasue too many people are seeing their coffers filled but please, if you are visiting san francisco for this fair, have some respect for the delicate fabric of neighborhoods and cultures and beliefs that make up this city. thank you.