SEPT. 30 — OCT. 2
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, SF. www.strictlybluegrass.com. Sure this homegrown free twangfest gets more crowded by the year — but attendance numbers are directly tied to the ever-more-badass lineup of multi-genre legends. This year: Emmylou Harris, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Robert Plant — and yes, MC Hammer.
Oktoberfest By the Bay Pier 48, SF. 1-888-746-7522, www.oktoberfestbythebay.com. Fri, 5 p.m.-midnight; Sat, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6 p.m.-midnight; Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., $25-65. Oompah, it's time for some bratwurst! Raise your stein to this boozy celebration of German culture.
Wildlife Conservation Expo Mission Bay Conference Center, 1675 Owens, SF. www.wildnet.org. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., $30-60. Save the Botswanan cheetahs and okapis! Learn from leading conservationists about innovative environmental projects around the world.
World Vegetarian Day County Fair Building, 9th Ave. and Lincoln, SF. (415) 273-5481, www.worldvegfestival.com. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $10 suggested donation, free before 10:30 a.m. The 40-year old SF Vegetarian Society sponsors this expo of veggie livin' — expert speakers talk science and advocacy, and there'll even be a round of vegan speed dating for those hoping to share their quinoa with a like-minded meatless mama.
Alternative Press Expo (APE) Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. (619) 491-1029, www.comic-con.org/ape. Check website for times and prices. The indie version of Comic-Con offers a weekend designed to give budding comics a leg up: workshops, keynote talks by slammin' scribblers, issue-based panel discussions, and tons of comics for sale.
Castro Street Fair Castro and Market, SF. (415) 841-1824, www.castrostreetfair.org. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., free. This is no standard block party — big name acts take the stage at our historic homo 'hood's neighborhood get down, and along the curbs, crafters and chefs park alike.
Litquake Times, locations, and prices vary. www.litquake.org. Our very own literary festival has grown a lot — the Valencia Street LitCrawl tradition has even spread to Austin and New York — check out its schedule for a chance to see one of your favorite scribes live and reading.
Italian Heritage Day Parade Begins at Jefferson and Stockton sts., SF. (415) 703-9888, www.sfcolumbusday.org. 12:30 p.m., free. Peroni floats and courts of teenaged "Isabellas" reign supreme at this long-running North Beach cultural day.
Decompression Indiana outside Cafe Cocomo, SF. www.burningman.com. Check website for times prices. The Burning Man after-after-after party will be slammin' this year, what with all the playa peeps that couldn't score a ticket in the sell-out.
Potrero Hill Festival 20th St. between Missouri and Arkansas, SF. potrerohillfestival.eventbrite.com. 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., free. $12 for brunch. A New Orleans-style mimosa brunch with live music kicks off this neighborhood gathering, also featuring a petting zoo and traditional Chinese dancers.