By Ken Steadman
On Monday evening, Dec. 3, the Fairfield Glade Lions Club will present the third adventure in the Travelogue Series. It will take you on a trip to “The Heart of San Francisco.” It will all start at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. Tickets are available at the door for $7 per person. Sandy Mortimer will return again to our city to present a delightful evening about one of the most colorful cities in the USA.
The fascinating anatomy of San Francisco begins with a heart that almost stopped beating on April 18, 1906. Through rare footage, you will witness the devastation of the 8.6 earthquake that wiped out three quarters of the downtown buildings, and the rebuilding of the city. The balance of the Travelogue will give you a detailed view of what San Francisco has to offer and save you a great deal of walking.
There are countless varieties of faiths, creeds and beliefs thriving here in the fascinating places of worship… including Mission Delores, built in 1776, the oldest church building in California. At Saint Boniface, you will attend the blessing of a variety of pets including dogs, cats, fish, birds and even horses. Also in one the Spanish-speaking mission districts, you will join one of the parades.
Your walk through Chinatown, with the largest concentration of Chinese outside Asia, takes you by shoppers buying fruits, vegetables, live fish, frogs and other amphibians as well as all kinds of mysterious herbs and spices. We stop by a fortune cookie factory to watch ladies insert paper fortunes and bend the hot cookies at one thousand per hour. In a nearby park you’ll join men, women and children enjoying everyday life and leave after admiring the traditional Chinese New Year’s Celebration and parade, one of the top ten parades in the world.
The Haight/Ashbury District is reminiscent of the hippie movement. While exotic stores still line the street, today the Haight is a successful commercial center with exclusive boutiques, high-end vintage shops and a hotel where each room is decorated differently, keeping some of the aura of that unique ‘60s time alive.
Another street keeps another history alive with its famous Victorian homes or painted ladies. Italianate style and Queen Ann style with curved bay windows and gingerbread. These stepped homes were San Francisco’s first tract homes, known as the postcard houses.
In Japantown, we learn about our Japanese citizens and visit authentic restaurants, watch the Cherry Blossom Parade led by the Queen, her court and lion dancers. You will also see professional dance instructors performing below the towering Peace Pagoda, a five tiered structure representing the friendship between the people of Japan and the people of America.
At Fisherman’s Wharf the workers put on a great show cracking crabs. And Ghirardelli Square, originally an old chocolate factory and woolen mill, now has shops of all kinds to satisfy even the pickiest shopper. You will see and learn much, much more tonight including the history of America’s only moving national landmark, the cable cars, which haul over 13 million passengers yearly up and down grades of up to 21 percent.
So, even as the beautiful Ferry Building bids you goodbye, it seems to welcome each new visitor saying, “Get to know our people for they are what make San Francisco the world’s favorite city.”