Folsom Fair Friends

Folsom Street Fair, the high holy day for pervs, leatherfolk, kinksters, whatever we’re called. Everyone in town (and most try to be in town) drags themselves to the fair, no matter how they’re feeling that day. Excited, tired, sick, or healthy, it’s a chance to see and be seen, to show one’s leather pride, to fundraise, to do outreach, to play, to photograph and be photographed. This year, for me, the fair was about connecting and reconnecting with people.

With 400,000 participants crammed into only thirteen blocks, it’s nearly impossible to find anyone in particular. However, I do find that the fairs are a great place to run into people. I roamed the fair in the morning with an ever-changing group of lovers, metamours, and friends, and their lovers, metamours and friends, passing along the way people I knew from a variety of contexts. For example, there’s one person who I only run into at events like this; prior to Folsom weekend our last meeting was at IMSL. We know each other’s names, but not email or phone contact info. We’ve never played, but I have the vague sense that our kinks might roughly align. I ran into a person I met at an online dating site, and went on a few dates with before our waning interest and busy schedules conspired against us. I wonder what he’s up to these days, but there wasn’t time to ask, as we did our quick “hi, how are you, good to see you, bye” exchange before the crowds carried us off again. Other people I unexpectedly bumped into included a blushing bride and her beau (just married this weekend), and a friend who I first really connected with when I purchased a handblown glass necklace from him at Folsom, several years back; the ropework currently in my “about the authors” picture is his handiwork.

Sometimes I saw people but frustratingly could not reach them. While I was getting my boots blacked, I spotted several people I knew from my high perch, but it seemed impolite to start trying to yell at them to get their attention (and they were too far to hear me anyway, given the crowd noise). I also saw, for the first time since his child was born, a friend and occasional play partner working a booth, but he was far too busy to notice me and I dared not interrupt him. Having been the one to introduce me to the pleasures of the Hitachi Magic Wand (and its overuse), he holds a special place in my heart. Of course I also saw scads of people I recognized but don’t actually “know”, including a hot couple I recognized from several chats at a club we both go to who didn’t remember me, a woman I met briefly at the Liquid Munch several years ago who now lives on the east coast, and many many vendors.

Later, two entirely different groups of friends and lovers both decided to lunch at the Harvest market, located just outside the fair, at nearly the same time. I hung out at the market for a while, as people came and went, and found more surprises. A woman I had had a poly speed date with turned up at my table; I didn’t quite understand the connection, but it seemed like she was the friend of a friend’s roommate whose sister when to school with somebody else at the table… it was all very confusing but it was great to see her again and chat with her. I spotted a group of four people across the room that I knew all of, but did not realize any of them knew each other; it included a person who had gone to school with me, another person I had had a speed date with, a friend of a friend that I’ve been introduced to a couple of times, and someone I believe who was around the first time Pepper and I actually spoke.

Still later, I went to a party being held by some friends of a lover of mine, who have an apartment on Folsom Street itself (and a balcony overlooking the fair), where I had a chance to relax and chat more deeply with several of the people I had been wandering around with during the day. I was re-introduced to a few friends of friends there that I’ve seen around some, and expect to see around again (and if any of you are reading this, I apologize, because I fear I’ve already forgotten all of your names). I also got to meet a few new people, including the lovely hostess, who shares more than a few interests with me, and had the new experience of being introduced to someone as “whynotkay, the blogger”. It was a party I didn’t want to leave, but another party beckoned.

The second party was an after-Folsom chillout party, or so I thought. It was a group of people I see every couple of months or so, a very tightknit family of pervs, but somehow I forgot that their idea of chilling out can easily involve plenty of sex and kink. Luckily there was space for me just to cuddle in, and people for me to get to know better, to fit the mood I was in.

There are a few people I usually run into that I didn’t see this year. I wonder if they were out there too, just always on a different side of the street, or wandering at a slightly different time, with a slightly different agenda. I hope they all had a wonderful time, whatever they were doing, and hope I don’t have to wait another year to get a chance to see them again. Last year, I met a few people for the first time Folsom weekend, who have since become important parts of my life. I wonder what this year will bring…

How was Folsom for you this year?


  1. Folsom as in Sacramento?

  2. Folsom as in “Folsom Street”, in San Francisco.

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