When you think of the month of October, one of the first things that might pop into your head is trick-or-treating kids, scary movies, and carving Jack o’ Lanterns. However, events at Golden Gate Park for the month of October include a wide range of fun activities and things to do for and outside of the Halloween season, including having fun at one of the largest, free music festivals in the country. When you’re looking for a good cause to support or a semi-educational night on the town, consider some of the following GGP events for October 2014:


Friday Night at deYoung (Asian Improv Arts) – October 3 

From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Friday Night theme will highlight a partnership with the Asian Improv Arts that features the artworks of Kelvin Ming Young, who will demonstrate his painting process in the Piazzoni Murals Room at 6 p.m. Wilsey Court also presents live music by Jon Jang at 6:30 p.m.

Other Friday Night events at deYoung Museum for October 2014 include:

  • October 10 – Gender-Bending Night: Mark your calendars for Two-Spirit poetry readings at Koret Auditorium (7 p.m.) and Gender-Bending performances in conjunction with the Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay exhibit at the museum. Live performances by Queer Rebels will take place in Wilsey Court at 6:30 p.m.
  • October 17 – What Tethers Us?: In commemoration of the late Monica Maduro, 18 known and up-and-coming local artists will pay tribute with painting, sculpture, video installation, film, fashion, photography, and music. Live performances of the evening will include the Vau de Vire Society, the Extra Action Marching Band, and Sanaz Gangei.
  • October 24 – Dia de los Muertos: To celebrate the Day of the Dead, the museum has partnered up with the Mexican Museum to bring an event centered on an ‘offering’ for a Fine Arts Museums trustee and arts advocate who passed away in 2013. While providing a glimpse into Day of the Dead traditions, the event will pay homage to Monica Maduro.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – Hellman Hollow, Lindley & Marx meadows – October 3, 4, 5

Free live music in the park is nothing new, but every year, loads of people anticipate this festival, which spans three days and takes place across seven stages. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass attracts thousands upon thousands of people who fill Hellman Hollow, Lindley & Marx meadows to hear more than 100 artists and groups perform. With a mixture of budding musicians and seasoned favorites, this year’s event kicks off on Friday and continues on until Sunday. This year, some performances will be streamed live, but there’s nothing better than seeing the active for yourself.

Some of the performers slated for the three-day event include:

  • Friday (10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.): Dawes, Lucinda Williams, Sharon Van Etten, The Good Life, and Ryan Adams.
  • Saturday (11 a.m.-7:15 p.m.): Chris Isaak, Whograss, Blue Rodeo, Parker Milsap, McCrary Sisters, and Chris Smither.
  • Sunday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.): Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Free Gardening Class –GGP CommUNITY Garden – October 4

If you’d like to learn more about sustainable pest management in the garden, then you may want to consider joining in the free class being held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. While the classes are complimentary, you must RSVP to [email protected]. This particular opportunity will focus on how to use a sustainable approach towards controlling weeds, pests, disease and other gardening issues.

GGP Band Performance with Special Guest – Music Concourse/Bandshell – October 5

Special guest Ron Borelli will join in on one of the last Golden Gate Park Band performances of the year. Starting at 1 p.m., come enjoy the sounds of this ethnic and jazz accordion player during the free program that is open to the public.

Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis – Panhandle – October 5

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., gather at the Panhandle between Lyon and Masonic to participate in the blessing of animals which includes special prayers of remembrance; the praying of the well-being of animals everywhere; and prayer cards for pets. There will be a posted ‘ Pet Blessing’ sign to mark the site. RSVPing allows the Church to prepare a blessing card if you like.

Sharktober Nightlife – California Academy of Sciences – October 9 

The sharks will take over the Academy this month in a Nightlife evening centered on these toothy water beasts. The East Garden will transform into a Pop-Up Beer Garden complete with brews from local establishments, such as Pacific Brewing Laboratory, Social Kitchen & Brewery, Drakes, Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, Ale Industries, and Triple VooDoo. Traditional German tunes will help set the mood, courtesy of Blow Musik! The East Pavilion will offer shark-related arts and crafts, while Shark Trivia in the Coral Reef is found on the lower level of the aquarium. Of course, shark specimens will be on hand for your viewing pleasure.

Additional Thursday Nightlife events at the Academy, which start at 6 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. will include the following themes:

  • October 16 – Navigation: With live performances of jazzy hip hop by BadBadNotGood and pop sounds of Saint Pepsi, the theme of this week’s Nightlife event is ‘navigation’ – whether it’s by walking, running, or biking. Artists will work on a collaborative project centered on salvaged art, while Outerbody Labs stages a virtual maze. Antique charts and navigation equipment will be on hand courtesy of Schein and Schein Maps, and you’ll also have a chance to make take-home coasters out of vintage maps with SCRAP.
  • October 23 – Eclipse: This Nightlife event will focus on delivering the first-ever solar eclipse after party of the Academy. Come explore the beauty of the Moon and Sun with astronomy-related fun that includes science chats with experts; seeing a live update of the solar eclipse in the planetarium; making take-home eclipse mobiles; enjoying the sounds of acid-techno, drum and bass, and electronic sound waves (courtesy of Ceephax Acid Crew); and learning the sky’s effects on nature’s creatures.

Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – October 11

This month’s plant sale held at the Nursery from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. will concentrate on Trees, Ferns & Rhododendrons that you can purchase for your garden or home.

Aztec Dance Demonstration – SF Botanical Garden – October 11

In conjunction with the Botanical Garden’s Cloud Forest exhibit, an Aztec dance group will come in full costume (including eye-catching plumed headdresses) to perform traditional ritual Aztec dances. This free event includes Altar Making with the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and a Xitlalli Danza Azteca demonstration (12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.).

Leap Sandcastle Contest – Ocean Beach – October 11

If you like playing in the sand, then take care in knowing that there is a fun contest made just for you. With the theme of “Food, Glorious Food,” you can catch the sights of the Leap’s 31st Annual Sandcastle Contest, which is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This competition includes the likes of architects, designers, contractors, corporations, engineers and local elementary school students that form teams to decorate the beach with creativity.  This event tends to bring out the crowds who come to see the unique sand structures built throughout the day. For more information, visit http://www.leaparts.org/14/overview .

Last Day to View Modernism Exhibit – deYoung Museum – October 12

Today will be the last day to catch sight of the Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection (Modernism from the National Gallery of Art), which you will find in the Herbst Special Exhibition Galleries. The collection includes paintings by masters of the post-war world, including nearly 50 pieces by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns.

Final Golden Gate Park Band Concert of 2014 – Music Concourse/Bandshell – October 12

The GGP Band’s 132nd season will come to a close with an all-request program that is free and open to the public, as always. Starting at 1 p.m., come hear the sounds of favorite tunes under the direction of Michael L. Wirgler.

Colors of Nature Workshop – SF Botanical Garden – October 19 

Join instructor Deepa Preeti Natarajan, who will spend the afternoon enhancing your knowledge of natural dyes, including introducing you to a number of local plants that provide color. A handful of extraction and application techniques will be explored during the workshop. Participants also get to take home a scarf, as well as a few samples of fibers. This event will run from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and costs $40 for members and $50 for non-members.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon – John F. Kennedy into Golden Gate Park – October 19

An estimated 20,000 women of all ages will hit the pavement throughout San Francisco to participate in the annual marathon that takes runners to none other than Golden Gate Park. The Half Marathon event is entering its 11th year, and touches upon a collection of lovely sights in San Francisco. The route goes along John F. Kennedy Drive before entering the park, where the last mile of the race includes a mostly downhill trek to the finish line, which is situated just outside of the park. The half-marathon begins at 6:30 a.m.

SuperNatural Halloween Party – California Academy of Sciences – October 24

There will be plenty of spooks and thrills to enjoy during a celebration of Halloween at the Academy. Participants are encouraged to come in costume so they may trick-or-treat in a setting filled with animals, specimens, and other forms of entertainment that may shock and creep out the kiddies. Plenty of fun for all ages includes photo booths, face painting, pumpkin carving demonstrations, dancing, live animal shows, crafts, and magic shows. This event is held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. To pay for tickets and for more information, you can call (415) 379-5411 or visit www.calacademy.org/halloween.

Charity and the JAMBand – Park Chalet – October 26

JAMband gatherings at Park Chalet are a blend of music, dance, and family fun. This month marks the last event of the year with a celebration of all things Halloween. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., bring the kiddies to enjoy an exciting outing before trick-or-treating time gets underway.

SF Mad Dash 5K – Polo Fields – October 26

Runners looking to stretch their legs before the influx of candy rolls in may want to sign up for the SF Mad Dash, which encourages participants to dress in costume for a 5K run at Polo Field Stables. Registered runners get a numbered bib, raffle ticket (with a chance to win $1000 in cash) and a goody bag. An after-party at the Polo Field Stables will follow the race with food trucks, beverages and live music supplied by Charity and the JAMband. Other activities to look forward to include a costume contest and kiddie zone with bounce house, face painting, and art/crafts. For more details, call (415) 504-6467 or visit http://www.sfmaddash.com/.

Walk to End Lupus Now – Music Concourse Bandshell – October 26

Another event for a good cause is being hosted in Golden Gate Park, and this time around, it is to raise awareness and funds for the Lupus Foundation of America. Proceeds from the event, which starts at 9 a.m., will go towards expanding research and education programs. For more information, you can contact Joan Pendleton at (202) 689-5516.

Pet Pride Day – Sharon Meadow – October 26

Pet lovers will enjoy a day at the park that is centered on just more than the love for our furry friends. From cockatiels to turtles, an array of cuddly critters has been known to make an appearance at Pet Pride Day. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a range of fun activities and demonstrations will entertain all ages. Thanks to the San Francisco Animal Care and Control and the city of San Francisco, the following events are planned for you and your pet’s enjoyment:

  • Canine Freestyle – Dog obedience mixed with flashy tricks set to music
  • Veterinarian Care – Bring your companion to receive a $10 rabies vaccination, dog licensing, and free PetLink microchips for all licensed dogs in San Francisco.
  • Photo Booth – Take a photo with your pet with the help of photographers from ACC for a fee of $20, which goes towards a good cause.
  • Working Animal Demonstration – Marin Fire Captain Jim Boggeri and his Search and Rescue dog team will offer a snapshot into what they do.

For additional details on Pet Pride Day, please visit http://helpacc.org/petprideday/.