Susan Suval: Festival Celebrates 20 Years

During the summer of 1994, a group from the newly-formed Sunset District Neighborhood Coalition (SDNC), founded by Sunset Youth Services, met at the Sunset Recreation Center and decided the best way to build unity in the Sunset was to develop a community festival.

With starter funds from a federal grant from Neighborhoods in Transition, a Multicultural Project (NIT-AMP), the Sunset Community Festival was launched.

Each year, through fundraising and planning, coalition members have developed working relationships with hundreds of individuals and organizations that work hard to improve the quality of life for residents of the Sunset.

Organizations include the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center; Neighborhood Parks Council; Sunset-Parkside Ed­ucation and Action Committee (SPEAK); Stones­town Shopping Mall; Western Neighbor­hoods Project; American Association of Retired Persons (AARP); Stonestown-YMCA; Surf­riders; and the Inner-Sunset, Taraval-Parkside, Noriega-Lawton, Judah-Beach and Outer-Sunset merchant associations, to name a few.

The leaders and members of many homeowner and neighborhood associations and civic leaders and office holders have contributed to the festival's successes. Several businesses have been generous with their support and some have contributed every year.

This year, on Sept. 27, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary! The free event will take place at the West Sunset Playground, located on Ortega Street and 37th Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We are anxious to reach out to all of the countless folks who have contributed in many ways throughout the years. We are sad to have lost contact with some.

If you were involved with the festival or know someone who was, please forward your information to [email protected] or call (415) 586-8103.

We hope to see many, many of our old friends at the next event.

As we reflect on the last 20 years, we are reminded of some of the amazing changes that have taken place. One of the most obvious improvements is the connectedness and unity we sought from the beginning - and the Internet doesn't get all the credit!

The Sunset Community Festival was the first event of this type in the community and we feel it played an important role in helping the Sunset celebrate the diversity and uniqueness that we all love about our neighborhood.

Please save the date and join us on Sept. 27.

Susan Suval is the long-time organizer of the Sunset Community Festival.