Celebrating Our 28th Year Block Party

We hope that your holidays have been happy in and out of Hayes Valley this year! In case you missed it, the 28th annual holiday block party on December 7th brought neighbors together to support the community’s small businesses who pulled out all the stops to bring the commercial side of Hayes Street a dose of holiday cheer.

Mackenzie Stone, who has been in Hayes Valley since 2011 says she attends the event every year and brought her 2-year-old son. She said the that the highlight of the kids section was the activities in Proxy from the nonprofit music organization Blue Bear.

“Blue Bear was here last year and I think that’s really fun because they bring a lot of fun instruments and they really encourage participation with the kids,” said Stone.

Once the childrens’ activities died down, three youth members from nearby SF Jazz performed in Proxy.

Adults got to have plenty of fun too. Businesses like Azalea offered free beer and karaoke while Gather SF had malt wine and tarot card reading. Many others like Gimme Shoes and Alternative offered spreads of food and treats.

“I like how some stores have … provided treats and made it really festive and you know they are playing music,” said resident Lana Reyes. “Everyone has been pretty welcoming.”

Stores in the area also stayed open extended hours and advertised special promotions for gift-shoppers.

San Francisco native bag business Timbuk2, for example, offers a special called “break up with your bag,” for the holidays, where a donation of any bag will give customers 20 percent off their purchase. But during the extended hours of the block party, Timbuk2 gave Hayes Valley customers an extra 10 percent off.

According Daisy McClellan, owner of Gather SF, there is a great sense of community between the merchants and that the block party is a good way to bring the neighborhood together while bringing traffic into stores.

“I love that all the shops are locally owned, so you cant find stuff that you could find at the mall or online. It’s a lot of like hidden gems so I appreciate that because people come specifically to this neighborhood to shop or cool new items.”

Bob and Marie at the HVNA table

“Since this has been such a longtime annual event, there was an emphasis this year to revitalize and get more of the merchants involved in this, said Bob Barnwell,” membership secretary of HVNA.

A special thanks to all the HVNA volunteers that pulled together this year to help plan and coordinate this annual event.

Author: Carly Wipf