A year in San Francisco

Bouquets to Art — March The de Young Museum hosts this annual ode to spring every March, gathering 150 of the area's top floral designers together to create flower arrangements that complement and interpret the museum's artworks. These are not your average nosegays: Painstakingly crafted with an eye to augment the collections in color, form, materials, and period details, the bouquets are striking works of art in and of themselves. Hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tea Garden Dr. at 9th Ave., Golden Gate Park, 415-863-3330

Annual Cherry Blossom Festival — AprilRevelers pack the streets of tiny Japantown (Post and Buchanan sts., www.nccbf.org) every April for this annual celebration of Japanese culture and traditions. Begun in 1967 in the spring before that famous Summer of Love, the festival honors the tight-knit Japanese community that planted roots and flourished in San Francisco, despite the dark days of internment during World War II. Events include arts demonstrations, a raucous taiko drumming contest, sumo wrestling, performance of traditional Japanese dance and theater, and of course dozens of booths selling sushi, yakitori, ramen, and other Japanese specialties. The festival culminates with a grand kimono-ed and parasol-ed parade from Civic Center to the Japantown Peace Plaza.

Bay to Breakers Race — May May in San Francisco should be renamed Extrovert Month, with a series of annual events that never fail to bring out the uninhibited in full farce, er force. The third Sunday in May, some 70,000 weekend warriors and jogging loonies take to the streets for the spring ritual known as the ING Bay to Breakers Race. Ostensibly, this is a foot race — and there are indeed serious seeded runners — but really it's more about watching giant cocktail weenies, Fruits of the Loom, Dollie Parton look-alikes, and naked guys two-step their way from the foot of the Bay to the breakers of the Pacific Ocean in what has become the world's largest costumed conga line. The 7.5-mile course is fairly tame, but even if you've never jogged down the street for a carton of milk, the sheer momentum of the crowd will get you to the ?nish line. Don't miss the school of spawning salmon who run the race "upstream" every year, and the finale Footstock Festival at the Polo Fields (36th Ave. and John F Kennedy Dr., Golden Gate Park). Race begins at 8:00 a.m. at Howard and Beale streets.

Bay Area National Dance Week – April/MayIf Bay to Breakers doesn't do it for you, you can strut your stuff in an actual citywide conga line at the kick-off of Bay Area National Dance Week. The 10-day free event offers classes, workshops, performances, and public dance celebrations – some 300 in all – showcasing local dance studios and companies. At venues all around San Francisco.

Carnaval San Francisco — May While it's not Rio, Carnaval (usually last weekend in May) is probably the most multicultural, toe-tapping, hip-shaking festival and parade you'll see all year. Samba dancers strut their stuff wearing costumes that make Las Vegas showgirls look like Amish folkdancers; enormous stilt-walking puppets undulate down the street; and onlookers shake their groove things to a steady Latin and Caribbean soundtrack of mariachi trumpets, steel drums, and congas. Food and cultural festival takes place on Harrison St., bet. 16th and 24th sts.; parade is Sunday, starting at 24th and Bryant sts.

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