Carnaval San Francisco to Welcome Gender-Neutral Competitors

Wednesday March 21, 2018

Carnaval San Francisco, the annual two-day festival and Grand Parade held in San Francisco's Mission District over Memorial Day weekend, will hold its new Royalty Competition in place of its traditional King & Queen Competition on Saturday, April 21 at Mission High School, inviting gender-neutral and drag competitors to partake in the competition for the first time.

During the event, the Bay Area's most talented samba, salsa and soca dancers will compete for the titles of Carnaval King, Queen, Drag or the new gender-neutral title, "Royale." The competition begins at 6 p.m., and a youth competition will also take place at 11 a.m. that day. Winners will become the official ambassadors for Carnaval San Francisco 2018, leading the televised 40th Annual Carnaval San Francisco Grand Parade on Sunday, May 27. They will also receive a cash prize.

"Carnaval San Francisco has always welcomed and celebrated all types of culture and diversity, and we're thrilled to expand this year's competition to include younger generations and titles for all genders and drag competitors," said Roberto Hernandez, Carnaval San Francisco's executive producer. "The event will be an exciting display of talent and creativity for everyone to enjoy."

Carnaval San Francisco's Royalty Competition is a colorful, challenging dance-off judged by a panel of leaders and master artists from the Bay Area's dance community. The competition will feature captivating performances from dancers with moves rooted in Latin American and Caribbean traditions, and contestants will be scored on their dance technique, costume, Carnaval spirit and the ability to engage the audience. This year, the youth competition will allow younger generations to participate in the excitement and culture of the event.

"The only way to ensure these traditions are passed on to future generations is to teach kids and teens about the history, art, and culture of Carnaval. They are the next generation of leaders, and it is imperative that we instill the importance of their roots at an early age," said Rodrigo Durán, Carnaval San Francisco's parade director and one of the young adults looking to continue the Carnaval traditions. "I am involved with Carnaval today because my middle school in the Mission District participated in the Grand Parade every year."

Mission High School
3750 18th Street, San Francisco

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