The 11th Annual DogFest returned to Duboce Park on last Saturday, April 7. Although there were concerns that the steady rain that started on Thursday might not stop in time for DogFest, the rain did stop at about 7 a.m. and allowed the event to proceed as planned. DogFest is a benefit for McKinley Elementary School, a K-5 public school at Castro and 14th streets, and raised $112,800 this year for the school’s art and science programs.

The festival had something for everyone — dogs, kids, and parents of both breeds. There were great competitions for dogs and their human owners and celebrity judges picked winners in eight categories: Best Costume, Best Tail, Best Trick, Best Coat, Best Mutt, Best Ears, and Best Lap Dog. 

Celebrity judges included Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, State Senator Scott Wiener, Chronicle columnist Leah Garchick, McKinley Principal Molly Pope, DJ Kristin  & DJ Freska from KOIT, and Sister Guard N O’Pansies and Sister Chjola De Dah from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Comic Dhaya Lakshminarayanan was the emcee.

There was half-time entertainment by Cheer SF, a raffle, a silent auction, a Chow Zone, a Rescue Zone, and a Kid Carnival featuring carnival games, bouncy houses, face painting, children’s activities, baked goods, cotton candy, popcorn, and snow cones. Check out the album of photographs from DogFest on the Duboce Park Facebook page.


Join the Friends of Duboce Park at our next volunteer day this Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m.-noon. For the past two months, we planted and removed weeds in the planting beds in front of the Scott Street entrance of the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts. We will continue planting on Scott Street this Saturday in the area behind the Scott Street Labyrinth.

Past volunteer efforts in the park have resulted in two beautiful, colorful planted areas – the planting circle near the Pierce Street steps and the planting triangle between the basketball court and the playground. 

Contact or 415-255-8370 for more information or with any questions or comments. Our volunteer day is always the second Saturday of every month. 30 minutes or an hour of your time makes a big difference in the appearance of our park. Volunteers gave more than 203,000 hours of their time and energy to improving our 225 parks and recreation facilities in 2017. Those hours are equal to $6 million in park services.

Encaustic Paint & Collage Workshops will be offered to kids 9-12 years old on May 12 from 12-3 p.m. and teens 13-19 years old on May 5 from 12-4 p.m.  Both are one day courses offered at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts. The word encaustic originates from the Greek word enkausticos, which means to burn in. Heat and pigment infused beeswax are necessary for a painting to be called encaustic.

Both classes will cover a brief history of the medium, the diversity of encaustic painting, explanations of tools and materials, techniques used, visual references and a hands on approach. Students will learn many techniques that kids can do. Each student will complete two unique pieces of art. Students will need to bring collage materials including photographs and two-dimensional personal keepsakes (can be photocopied). All other materials will be provided. The workshops are open to all painting and art making skill levels and no experience is necessary.

There are also classes in dance, textile and sewing, music, as well as courses in yoga and arts and crafts. The 104-page catalogue of classes is available at, at the Harvey Milk Center or at Harvey Milk Photo Center. Rec and Park offers annual Recreation Scholarships to eligible, low-income individuals and families. Call Lillian Bautista, Scholarship Coordinator, at (415) 831-2717 for information on how to qualify. 

The opening reception of Surrounded by Reality, an exhibit of street photography by the San Francisco Street Photography Group (SFSP) is Friday, April 13, 5:30-8 p.m. at the Harvey Milk Photo Center. This exhibition’s name, Surrounded by Reality, comes from a well-known quip by Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner. The show aims to demonstrate the breadth, scope and skills of the group members capturing the vastness that is today’s San Francisco.

Street photography is about people. Street photographers try to capture everyday humanity in the midst of a “Defining Moment”, hoping for the odd candidly taken shot with perfect timing that says it all in a single frame. The effect of such a photograph is to call attention to often overlooked instances around us in our daily life, or to resonate with a viewer as a familiar moment in their life, or to provoke the viewer to stop and question their own social perspectives.

Surrounded by Reality will feature one photograph from each participating SFSP member. In addition, the gallery alcove will feature “SFSP Photogs in Action,” which are candid snapshots of SFSP photographers exercising their craft! 


The nature of light is ephemeral and constantly changing. In Natural Lighting Workshop – Golden Hour, starting this Saturday, April 14, students will learn how to change with it. This class is geared toward students who have a solid understanding of their digital camera and are ready to dig deeper into challenging concepts, exposure, and finding their personal photography style. 

The class will examine the qualities of light during the golden hour in the day just before the sun sets, as the sun sets and moves into twilight and dusk, and into night. Students will shoot on-location examining the range of aesthetic possibilities when shooting in varied light conditions. They will learn tips and tricks to creating compelling photos that illustrate their point of view and find their photography style.

There are 19 other photography courses starting in April. The 2018 Spring Activities catalogue has the complete class schedule and description of all courses offered at the Photo Center. You can check the class offerings online at or pick up the catalogue of courses at the Center. Don’t hesitate to call the Photo Center at (415) 554-9522 with any questions. 

The two fences in the Dog Play Area were removed in time for DogFest on April 7.  Park Service Manager Michelle Pallavicini pointed out that “dogs beat up turf with urine, feces and bounding about and the owners always stand in one zone tossing the ball in the same spot…(which) creates the wear patterns.” She added that the fencing was put up to allow new grass to take root. There are now numerous bare, brown spots created by heavy use in the middle of the DPA that was not fenced.
Rec and Park has reduced water usage by 43% citywide since 2013, according to a community report from the department. This decrease contributes to brown and/or bare spots in the grass throughout the park during the dry season, but those areas returned to green during the recent wet winter.
Five signs are up around the People Only Area to remind people that dogs are not allowed on the grass in that area, whether on leash or not. Pallavicini said she had received several complaints from neighbors “wanting a clean and safe picnic area” and that there has been an increase of dog feces in that area. Temporary signs were helpful in the past, so Rec and Park is trying them again.
Rec and Park’s plumbing department repaired the irrigation system on the lawns on the Scott Street side of the park. Many of the sprinkler heads that become buried over time were “daylighted” and can once again provide water to areas near them.
Numerous requests have been made to resurface the basketball court, which is now pitted and uneven under the east basket. Rec and Park has been selectively addressing courts throughout the park system that are in need of total resurfacing, focusing on the worst courts first. Duboce Park is on that list and we will eventually see the court resurfaced.
One of the mosaic No Skateboarding signs at the Scott Street Labyrinth has been partially covered with black asphalt that was added to correct a tripping hazard, making a functional piece of art an eyesore. Rec and
Park will be correcting the situation soon.
The outside of the playground slide was painted green on April 3 to match the other green equipment in the playground.
The railing on the Pierce Street steps has been replaced after a car that drove down the stairs knocked it over.
You can report any problems you see in the park (or anywhere else) by using the 311 appor calling 311. The app allows you to take a picture of your complaint and makes it very easy to track the status of the complaint.

Rec and Park is offering more summer camps for youth and teens at 53 different San Francisco parks and recreations centers, including 15 art camps at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts. Starting in June, there will be two-week camps for each of four age groups (7-8, 9-10, 11-
12, and 13-19 years old).

Rec and Park offers intensive art making, where campers explore and develop their artistic abilities in art, dance, music, theatre, and technology. The activities require the ability to follow multi-step processes and normal hand dexterity. Each two-week session culminates in a performance and visual art show of campers’ work for family and friends on the last Friday of each two-week session.

If you have a teenager interested in acting, singing, dancing, or performing on stage or being a technician behind the scenes, the Young People’s Teen Musical Theater Company (YPTMC) offers six different camps in theater and performing arts at the Rec Center this summer.

Details can be found in the 2018 Summer Day Camp Guide, available at the Rec Center or online at Summer Camps begin June and end in early August and are led by talented art specialists.

Registration began on March 17 and most spots filled almost immediately, so sign up right away to reserve a spot. Rec and Parks does offer Recreation Scholarships to eligible individuals and families. Ongoing eligibility is dependent on attendance record. Please call Lillian Bautista, Scholarship Coordinator, at (415) 831-2717 for information on how to qualify. Campers should arrive with a healthy lunch, snack, and water bottle daily.


The 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park will be in 2020 and Rec and Park is considering another light show on the Conservatory in Golden Gate Park. Ben Davis, who helped create the Summer of Love light show that was shown at the Conservatory this past summer and fall, is hoping to do another show for GGP’s anniversary.
Rec and Park broke ground on the $14 million Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse Renovation at San Jose and Ocean avenues in March. The $14 million will fund the first phase of the renovation of the Powerhouse area and once the renovation is complete, the it will host a variety of youth arts classes in dance, theater, music, spoken word, and more. The programming will be provided by Performing Arts Workshop, a highly-respected arts education nonprofit that has been serving children and teens in San Francisco for more than 52 years. The Workshop will also help rent the Powerhouse for broad use by the community for meetings, events, rehearsals, performances, arts classes for adults, and exhibitions. The renovation is expected to be completed by early 2019.
San Francisco’s newest off-leash Dog Play Area opened on March 22 in Balboa Park, just behind Balboa Swimming Pool. There is also interest in opening a Dog Play Area in Esprit Park.
Koret Children’s Quarter Playground in Golden Gate park celebrated their grand reopening on March 31 after being vandalized by a fire last June that destroyed 40% of the play area. The renovations cost $388,000 and were funded by $18,000 from the Parks Alliance, $25,000 by the Koret Foundation, $95,000 by San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation, and $250,000 allocated from the officer of the late Mayor Lee.
Stretch those legs out and join us for the3rd Annual Kids’ Games at Kezar Stadium, a free Olympic-style track meet for boys and girls ages 5 to 14 years old. The event will take place on Sunday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature the 50 meter dash, 100 meter dash, and the Long Jump. Lunch will be served for all participants with food trucks will be on site for everyone else. Trainers and coaches will be working with the runners and t-shirts will be provided. The deadline to register is Sunday, April 22. To register, click here and search for activity #15358.
Reservations for Camp Mather are still available for Week 1. If you missed the lottery registration or are on a wait list, now is your chance to grab a spot for Camp Mather this summer! Rec and Park still have two-, five- and six-person cabins available as well as some tent sites for the first week of Family Camp Mather from June 3 to 9. To make a reservation, email your request to These open reservations will be filled on a first come-first served basis. 

Annual Membership dues for a Supporting Member are $25 per person and entitle you to voting privileges and participation in the governance of the organization. Your dues help cover the few costs we have, such as our website, newsletter, movie nights, and insurance.

Your tax-deductible membership is gratefully accepted and should be sent to Friends of Duboce Park, 79 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA 94117. Friends of Duboce Park are a 501(c)(3) organization. General Membership is still available at no cost but does not carry any voting privileges. Another way to show your support is by getting involved. If you are interested, please contact President Doug Woo at

Our Mission Statement includes the following: “to organize and represent the collective interests regarding Duboce Park; to beautify and promote safety within Duboce Park; and, to initiate and/or support beneficial neighborhood projects on behalf of Duboce Park.”


Friday, April 13, 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Opening Reception: Surround by Reality – San Francisco Street Photography Exhibit. Harvey Milk Photo Center. Visit or call (415) 554-9522.

Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-noon. Friends of Duboce Park Volunteer Day. Contact Rose at or 415-255-8370.

Saturday, May 23, 10 a.m.-noon. Friends of Duboce Park Volunteer Day. Contact Rose at or 415-255-8370. 


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