SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Annually, Carnaval San Francisco takes over the streets of San Francisco Mission District for a celebration of life and culture.

Here are four things to know about this year’s celebration and parade.

When and how did the Carnaval San Francisco begin?

The parade was first held in 1977 in the city’s Western Addition, but disappeared after just one year. On February 25, 1979, the current celebration was born when about 300 drummers and dancers, dressed in multifarious colors and shapes, paraded around Precita Park in the Mission District. It was the brain child of Adela Chu who staged her first Carnaval event at the Masonic Temple in 1976 and also at the 24th Street BART station. \

The 2017 theme is El Corazón de San Pancho/The Heart of San Francisco — Why San Pancho?

The name Pancho is the common nickname for Francisco in Latin America. The name San Pancho is embraced by many Latinos in the Mission District to refer to their community.

What is a comparsa?

A comparsa is a group of singers, musicians and dancers that take part in carnivals and other festivities in Spain and Latin America. The Carnaval parade will have dozens of comparsas taking part.

How did the tradition of the Carnaval street mural come about?

Local artist Michael Rios created the first Carnaval mural — Los Congueros Cabanos — on the side of a building in the Mission District. Daniel Galvez mural — Carnaval — followed on the corner of 24th and South Van Ness and Emmanuel Montoya, Josh Sarantitis and Carlos Loarca painted their Carnaval mural at Harrison and 19th.


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