Loco Bloco Rises to Take First Place Overall Prize in Carnaval SF 2018
San Francisco, CA July 30, 2018 - For over 40 years, San Francisco Carnaval has celebrated the rich traditions of Caribbean and Latin cultures in the Bay Area. Almost 100 contingents participate in the parade competition and Loco Bloco is proud to announce its 2018 First Place Overall Prize.
Having competed in Carnaval for the past 24 years, Loco Bloco leadership felt confident entering the contingent in the Contemporary World/Fusion category, as opposed to the youth division. Entering in an adult category allowed both staff and students to elevate as artists and educators.
“Being in that category challenges us more as artists. The youth categories would be a little less competitive, the standards wouldn’t be as high artistically,” said Arts Programs Manager Audrey Ingalls. “When we’re putting ourselves in a category of competing with actual adult groups, our standards have to be at a higher level. So that naturally pushes us from the gate to have our youth start at a higher level of artistry.”
The theme for this year, “Vuela Sin Parar,” was submitted by community parent Lisa Mestayer and selected by Loco Bloco students. Inspired by the legend of the young Yoruba goddess Oshun, who transformed from a peacock to a vulture in order to save the world, Loco Bloco leadership felt the story resonated with the organization’s mission and purpose.
“This story of Oshun is about youth leadership and transformation through love,” said Deputy Director of Arts and Community Annie Jupiter-Jones. “That’s what Loco Bloco is all about, we use arts to right wrongs and overcome inequalities and discrimination. Art is about love, meeting negativity with positivity, transforming something of beauty into something of power.”
The 275 person contingent, comprised of stilt walkers, percussionists, dancers and parents was certainly a powerful sight to behold. With the rising gentrification and displacement of Mission community members, having such a strong presence at Carnaval in itself, felt like a form of resistance.
“We’ve seen our community change so much, our families, our staff be displaced; but it has reaffirmed and strengthened what we do, because we are positioned to be the last remaining connection these folks have to the traditions where their families have lived for generations,” said Jupiter-Jones. “Carnaval weekend is for folks to come back and reclaim the streets as ours. It’s something you can really feel, it’s a powerful political statement to see 200 plus families taking over 24th and Mission. It’s the one time of year you get to feel like it’s the Mission of old.”
About Loco Bloco: Loco Bloco and The Jamestown Community Center merged on July 1st, 2018. Both youth development organizations have long established track records of providing enriching, high quality programming to youth to promote their healthy transition into adulthood. The organizations chose to merge because of their shared commitment to youth development, their love for the Mission community, and their experience in developing leadership among low income youth and families.
For More Information: http://www.locobloco.org/