Procrastinator’s guide to the weekend (June 16-17)

Depending on your interest, you’ll either want to get up early to stake your claim at whatever green or gallery you want to join at the U.S. Open golf championship, or steer as clear of The Olympic Club and the western half of San Francisco as you can to avoid the predicted traffic snarl. For Bay Area sports fans, you won’t get a better opportunity for an up close and personal view of golf’s biggest stars, from Phil Mickelson to Sergio Garcia, Tiger Woods to K.J. Choi. This is the biggest event in golf, and one of the biggest sporting events to hit the city since the World Series in 2010. Of course, you’ll either have to scalp a pass or sneak passed security, since tickets have been sold out for some time.

If your response to the above activity is “Tiger who?” then maybe this is the weekend to get far far away from the maddening crowds, as in out of the city and into the woods. June is a good time to enjoy the summer weather (elsewhere in the state of course) by paddling down a river. There’s several waterways to choose from, starting with the Napa River and a special guided Father’s Day Paddle, 9am-12pm Saturday, sponsored by Kayak Napa Valley and embarking from downtown Napa. Or simply rent a kayak from Napa Valley Adventure Tours. The Russian River is another option, with rentals and tour companies out of Healdsburg, including River’s Edge and Soar, or from Forestville with Burke’s Canoe Trips. Or head due east to Knights Ferry on the Stanislaus River and raft with River Journey Adventures or Sunshine Rafting. Class IV rafting is available farther upriver with All-Outdoors Rafting.

Last week I said the Haight Ashbury fest was one of the best neighborhood fairs going. I forgot about the North Beach Festival (Sat and Sun 10am-6pm). First of all, North Beach is a legitimate and cohesive neighborhood community of mostly Italian Americans (and some cranky old-timers) and they bring that spirit to the festival. Pretty amazing for a city of transplants and transients. Besides that, this event is now in its 58th year and practically invented the outdoor festival. It’s a big event, with vendors along Columbus, Vallejo, Green and Grant Ave, and three stages of music throughout the day. And what other festival has the Blessing of the Animals.

Besides North Beach, there’s several other street fairs happening that are somewhat similar and have something unique to offer. There’s the Marin Art Festival in San Rafael at the Marin Civic Center (the one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) that has some decent musical acts and attempts to bring in a higher level of art. The San Mateo County Fair finishes up this weekend at the Bay Meadows Racetrack. In Martinez, the King of the County Barbeque Challenge & Music Festival  has both of each at Waterfront Park Marina, and the Polish Street Festival is downtown. In the East Bay, the Danville Fine Arts Faire attracts over 50,000 visitors for the weekend.

Here’s a neat thing for Father’s Day, if you have the time and your dad has an interesting story that’s long enough to fill an hour. From 11am-5pm on Sunday, you can reserve a one-hour slot for your dad to record his personal story. The event is sponsored by StoryCorps as part of their ambitious story project, and is being held at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Or, you can just go fly a kite.

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