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Pink Saturday replaces dancing with food trucks

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The annual Pink Saturday event, marked by a pink triangle above the Castro neighborhood, will eliminate dance music in an effort to deter violence. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • The annual Pink Saturday event, marked by a pink triangle above the Castro neighborhood, will eliminate dance music in an effort to deter violence.

Pink Saturday is going off the grid.

Last year, in an effort to improve safety and security, sponsors of the annual Castro neighborhood event the night before the LGBT Pride Parade opted to go alcohol-free. And now, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are going a step further, with plans to remove the main stage where alternative dance music and performances occur and replace it with food trucks.

Every year, tens of thousands of people descend on the Castro for Pink Saturday, which is scheduled for June 23 this year. In years past, the celebration has quickly turned into a large, occasionally unruly street party.

Increased violence is one reason the sponsors have looked to change the way the celebration is viewed and attended. In 2010, 19-year-old Stephen Powell was shot and killed at the event. Two others were injured in the shooting, but both survived. The suspect in the shooting is still at large.

“We want the street closures to be a place to come together and be comfortable,” Pink Saturday organizer Sister Selma Soul said. “And while the alternative dance music was a great performance and very generous, we want to encourage the diverse community we have to come and celebrate.”

Food trucks have become increasingly popular in San Francisco in recent years. Weekly assemblies of several trucks are permitted in several parts of The City under the event name “Off the Grid.”

Soul said the organization is working with Off the Grid organizers in the hopes of bringing at least 10 trucks to the celebration, but plans have not been finalized.

The trucks will provide food and an easy setup for participants at the intersection of Market and Castro streets, Soul said.

“It’s the best spot,” Soul said, adding that the absence of a stage will leave more space for the arrival of The City’s annual Dyke March.

The nonprofit Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence received approval for street closures in the area roughly bordered by Market, Castro, Noe and 19th streets earlier this month.

Four additional stages are still expected to feature various musical and entertainment acts.

Police and hired security will also be on hand to assist with the celebration. Last year, security confiscated alcohol, which was prohibited on the street.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com