Art Car Soapbox Derby Returns to McLaren Park April 10th


Wacky, Homemade Cars Will Soon Roll Down the Hill in SF’s McLaren Park Again

It’s a sunny afternoon in McLaren Park in San Francisco’s Excelsior District. Throngs of people are gathered on either side of a roadway that snakes down a steep hill. As they watch, a person riding what looks like a giant black Converse sneaker whooshes past. Coming up close behind it, a cast-iron bathtub whizzes by on what could’ve been the frame of a lawn mower. Then another driver — this one clinging for dear life onto what looks like a torpedo — hurtles by, inches off the ground.

This was the first Artists’ Soapbox Derby held by the San Francisco Museum of Art — what we now know as SFMOMA — on May 18, 1975. It was a race for homemade cars. No engines! You just needed to be able to roll, steer and stop.

Bay Curious PodcastBay Curious is a podcast that answers your questions about the Bay Area. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsNPR One or your favorite podcast platform.

On April 10, SFMOMA is reviving its Soapbox Derby in McLaren Park. Homemade cars that can coast under the power of their own gravity will have their turn in the spotlight, careening down an 800-foot hill. It’s free and open to the public.

The Soapbox Derby is a revival of the 1975 event, which is now an institutional legend at SFMOMA. Then, as now, the country was in transition. The war in Vietnam had just ended and San Franciscans were looking for a bit of fun in their lives.

“It was playful. It was joyous,” said Amanda Pope, a professor of cinematic arts at the University of Southern California. “It wasn’t about advertising. It was just the artists getting out of their studios, doing something fun, a little outrageous, which is very much in the style of San Francisco.”

In the spring of 1975, Pope was living in San Francisco and got tipped off about the event by a friend with ties to the museum. She borrowed a camera and recruited her friend, Lisa Fruchtman, to help her with sound. (Fruchtman would go on to win an Oscar for editing “The Right Stuff” and was nominated again for her work on “The Godfather Part III.”) The footage they captured became Pope’s first documentary: “The Incredible San Francisco Artists’ Soapbox Derby.”

The first derby was the brainchild of late Bay Area artist Fletcher Benton. Benton wanted to bring local artists together to have fun and raise money for the museum at the same time. He hoped the museum would use any money raised to acquire more work from local artists.

“The Soapbox Derby started out as a whimsical statement that I made in the studio one day,” Benton told Pope’s documentary crew. “I said, ‘Why don’t we get the artists to build cars that would reflect their art or reflect their feelings or their fun? And we’d all get together and coast down the hill.'”

‘The flag is up on the first Artists’ Soapbox Derby’

Benton and his fellow planners got the go-ahead from the museum and started recruiting local artists to make cars and trophies for the derby. Artists got up to $100 per project to put toward expenses. Some of the more notable contributors who signed up included Ruth AsawaViola Frey and Carlos Villa.

A black and white photo of a woman posing in a long white dress with a colorful cape and a crown shaped like a hat.
Florence ‘Flo’ Allen, a beloved artists’ model, played the role of Derby Queen at the first Artists’ Soapbox Derby in 1975. (Courtesy Unidentified photographer. Florence Allen papers, 1920-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

In addition to artists, there were community icons like the late Florence “Flo” Allen. A legend among artists’ models in San Francisco, Allen was sketched by the likes of Diego Rivera and Mark Rothko. She was Derby Queen, with a car-themed headdress that looked like a mini-version of something from Beach Blanket Babylon.

Some of the cars were more direct in concept, like a giant No. 2 pencil from renowned ceramicist Richard Shaw. Pope interviewed him about his creation back in 1975.

“I was really nervous about the pencil impaling somebody, so we flipped coins [about who would drive],” Shaw said. “And we just tried to tell the people to get back so that they wouldn’t get wiped out.”

Other cars were more conceptual. There was a giant hand holding a pen by artist Jim Finnegan that Amanda Pope remembers as “The Mark of the Artist.”

What looks like a giant hand holding a pen rolls down a hill. Spectators stand in the background
Soapbox car by Jim Finnegan, at the first Artists’ Soapbox Derby, May 18, 1975. (Courtesy Rudy Bender/ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Archives)

“Ingenious. At a certain point, he release[d] ink from inside the hand,” she said.

An artist known as Meadow created “52 Vibrations” — a mishmash of sculpted anatomy that included a row of hands clutching working vibrators jutting out like spikes.

“There was definitely a dimension of eroticism in some of the designs of the cars. Just a celebration. I mean, you’re talking ’70s. It was, you know, feminism, women’s rights,” Pope said.

But the car that is probably the most recognizable from the event — and which continues to capture the imaginations of people who are only just learning about the 1975 race — is “Moulton’s Edible Special,” created by artist Dorcas Moulton. The whole frame of the car was made from real bread — even the hubcaps, which looked like giant English muffins.

A woman in a car entirely made out of bread comes speeding down a hill. A crowd of spectators look on with trees behind them.
Moulton’s Edible Special, by Dorcas Moulton, at the first Artists’ Soapbox
Derby, May 18, 1975. (Courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Archives)

“Fannie Farmer had a hot roll mix, and I figured rolls were appropriate, so I did that for the white bread. And then the black bread was a Russian rye or pumpernickel,” Moulton said. “It was a plywood and chicken-wire frame on top of four bicycle wheels. We had axles. We had a steering wheel somehow.”

She miraculously stayed upright all the way down the hill, despite pieces of bread flying in every direction. When she reached the finish line, eager admirers swarmed the bread car, prying off pieces of the frame — either as souvenirs or snacks.

“I made this little quip about, if you get stuck in a traffic jam, you can just, you know, break off a piece of the fender and have a snack while you’re stuck,” Moulton said. Legendary San Francisco columnist Herb Caen printed the remark along with an Associated Press photo that ran in newspapers around the country.

The sense of humor and ephemeral nature of Moulton’s Edible Special echoed one big idea put forward by the derby: that art didn’t need to be inside a museum — or even permanent — to be worthwhile.

“I guess I am a ‘lifestyle artist,’ working in whatever medium I was currently playing with, like bread or, now, [in] my garden here in El Sobrante,” Moulton said, “Not every artist wants to be in museums.”

So much more than cars

You didn’t have to make a car to participate in the Soapbox Derby. Some artists made trophies instead. Categories included: “Most Amorphous,” “Most Macabre,” “Most Biodegradable,” “Most Illusory” and “The Booby Prize.

Moulton’s Edible Special won the “Most Endearing” prize, but Moulton didn’t remember what her trophy looked like or where it ended up. I had to break the news to her that, according to SFMOMA’s records, the world-renowned sculptor, Ruth Asawa, made it.

“Oh, dear. What have I done? A priceless Ruth Asawa slipped through my fingers!” Moulton moaned.

SFMOMA also confirmed it has no photographic record or description of the trophy, and even Asawa’s daughter, Aiko Cuneo, a working artist who still lives in the Bay Area, doesn’t have a recollection of it.

“I wish I could remember what the trophy looked like because I’m sure I saw it at some point,” she said. Cuneo was 25 when the first derby happened, and remembers it fondly.

“I had never been to McLaren Park before, so it was a great sort of field trip to go there. The location was so perfect because it had these really wide roadways that weren’t too steep,” she said.

Like Moulton, Cuneo appreciated that the derby was a chance to get away from the formality — even pretension — that often surrounds museums.

“The Soapbox Derby brought the museum outdoors and did make it so much more accessible to anybody. I thought it was so great that these artists could relive their childhood and be outrageous and uncensored and just have a lot of fun,” she said.

A changing museum

Back in 1975, the San Francisco Museum of Art had a new director named Henry Hopkins.

“He had a background as an educator, and so I think he really saw the value of community engagement,” said Tomoko Kanamitsu, the director of public engagement at SFMOMA today.

When Hopkins took the helm of the museum, it was much smaller and less distinguished. It originally took up just one floor of the War Memorial Veterans Building on Van Ness Avenue. But during Hopkins’s tenure, the stature of the museum would shift dramatically. It would become the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Hopkins would help chart its rise to international prominence.

Kanamitsu noted a shift in focus at the museum in the decades following the first Soapbox Derby that coincided with that period of growth for the museum. She said the ’70s were a unique, inward-looking time for the museum.

“I think that if I was to kind of project about what happened later, I think there was a lot of outward looking later on in the ’80s and ’90s and 2000s about being a museum at a world-class-museum scale,” Kanamitsu said. “And I think that has, in many ways, created a separation with the local art community.”

Within SFMOMA, Kanamitsu said, the derby is seen as a touchstone that encapsulates what a museum can be to its community. So reviving the event this year is a gesture of community recognition — and also a galvanizing force inside the museum.

“The pandemic has been so devastating, obviously to the whole world, but to arts institutions in particular. We suffered many layoffs,” Kanamitsu said. “Then there was the whole public reckoning around the censoring of Taylor Brandon, and as SFMOMA staff, we’ve had a hard time, and we really need something to kind of get us excited about why we do what we do and to kind of show that art isn’t just something that’s on the walls at the museum. Art is everywhere. And what better way to do that than to revive the 2022 Soapbox Derby?”

Due South Concert Series at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre


New Free Concert Series to Feature Mexican Institute of Sound, Helado Negro, Giraffage, and Astronautica

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 15, 2019) ­–­ The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, San Francisco Parks Alliance, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, and Noise Pop are excited to announce the inaugural season of the Due South Concert Series.  Due South is a new series of free concerts made possible by the City of San Francisco, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, and SF Rec & Parks.

The concerts will be held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco’s McLaren Park on Saturday August 24th and Saturday September 7th from 3-6pm each day.  The series will feature a diverse lineup of contemporary talent that reflects the local neighborhoods and populations of the City’s Southern districts neighboring the park.

The kick-off concert will feature the Latin folk-infused electronica of Mexican Institute of Sound and the ambient cosmic pop songsmith Helado Negro.  Mexico City DJ and Producer Camilo Lara is the driving force behind Mexican Institute of Sound, who have built an international reputation and fanbase through an infectious mix of vintage Mexican pop and traditional music with modern loops and beats. Helado Negro is the current moniker of Brooklyn-based Ecuadorian-American producer and songwriter Robert Carlos Lange, whose lyrically personal and political avant pop music explores the expressivity within intense states of being, Latinx identity, and pluralistic sensibilities.

San Francisco-based producer Giraffage and lush electronica artist Astronautica will hit the stage for the second concert of the series. A son of Taiwanese immigrants, Giraffage (Charlie Yin) started posting his self-produced projects online in 2009 and quickly struck a chord with listeners and music blogs alike. Drawing from a wide crop of sonic cues including R&B and ‘70s Japanese techno-pop, Giraffage makes dreamy synth-pop that has seen international stages with Porter Robinson, Phantogram, and Flume. Edrina Martinez, aka Astronautica, channels the eclectic sounds of LA’s experimental scene and its web of global imprints. With elements of indie, EDM, and hip hop, Astronautica and her celestial beats have become a respected staple in the underground electronic community.

“I am honored to help make this community vision a reality,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safai, “It is about time the whole City discovered what a gem the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre truly is through great music. I look forward to helping usher in a new generation of San Francisco residents who make McLaren Park and the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre a regular stop for community events and concerts.”

McLaren Park is the City’s second-largest park, located near the southern border of San Francisco. This hidden gem features immense natural areas of scenic meadows, grassland and wetland habitat, and more than 7 miles of trails throughout 312 acres of native plants and wildlife. Established in 1927, the park is named for John McLaren, the ‘grandfather of Golden Gate Park.’

“From Outside Lands, to Stern Grove to Due South – music and parks go hand and hand,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department.  “We are thrilled to bring great music to McLaren Park.”

Jerry Garcia Amphitheater is a Greek-style outdoor concert theater with outstanding acoustics and facilities. Originally created in 1970 by SF Rec and Parks, it was renamed in 2005 in honor of the Grateful Dead icon, who grew up in the nearby Excelsior neighborhood. The Amphitheater has a capacity of approximately 2,500 attendees, and has hosted many community and music events including the annual Jerry Day concert since 2002.

“Jerry Garcia Amphitheater and McLaren Park are amazing, under-appreciated spaces that deserve to be recognized and experienced by all of San Francisco,” says Noise Pop founder Kevin Arnold. “It’s a privilege to work with the Parks Alliance, Rec & Parks, and the City of SF to bring relevant, contemporary free music programming to this amazing space and the community.”

Expect afternoons full of music, food and drinks, and fun in the sun – all in one of SF’s most beautiful natural settings. Due South will celebrate the unique character and beauty of the park and neighborhood, and help to preserve and sustain other community spaces by donating a portion of the proceeds to the San Francisco Parks Alliance.  Also on hand will be representatives of Friends of the AMP/Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre, who produce regular community music events including this year’s Live from the AMP series. They work closely with a wide group of neighborhood and park advocates, including the McLaren Park Collaborative, Help McLaren Park, Save McLaren Park, FACE, EDIA, Excelsior Collaborative and OMMRA.

“We are excited to build on the success of the surrounding community groups who have championed this park for many years,” says Drew Becher, CEO of the San Francisco Parks Alliance. “We are also thrilled to bring more recognition to the second largest city park in San Francisco.”

RSVP online at to be entered to win reserved premium seating and special prizes at each concert. Due South VIP Packages including premium seating and a drink from the bar are now available for purchase with Parks Alliance Membership.

Stay tuned for more information on the full series line up and upcoming events soon!

Due South is produced by SF Parks Alliance and Noise Pop Presents in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Special thanks to the City of San Francisco and our sponsors for their support in making this series possible.

Due South Concert Series Dates:

8/24: Mexican Institute of Sound and Helado Negro

9/7: Giraffage with Astronautica



2019 Kidz Fest – Sunday August 25th

Back by popular demand, the 2019 McLaren Park Kidz Fest in the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater offers families with children 4 hours of magic, art, exploration and music – all FREE – SUNDAY, AUGUST 25th from 11 am – 3 pm

Starting at 11 am, bring a blanket and enjoy a fun and free event for kids with an entertainment line-up that includes The Alphabet Rockers, Magician Mike Della Penna, Tree Frog Treks, along with giant bubbles, face-painting and more! This is a great event for kids!

For more information call (415) 413-7501.


Live From the AMP Hosts 2019 Concerts

Once again Friends of the AMP will host free shows in the Jerry Garcia Amphtheater. Renamed from “Saturday in the Park McLaren” to “Live From the AMP” will produce 3 new show this fall.

Sunday, August 25th, 2019 – in the 2019 Kidz Fest featuring Alphabet Rockers and Magician Mike Della Penna

Sunday, September 29th, 2019 – African Arts Festival from the Duniya Dance & Drum Company

Saturday, October 19th, 2019 – Big Band with Sven and the Masterful Orchestra

A full show lineup will feature SF Shakes performing “As You Like It” in September, Sundown Cinema showing a sing-a-long “Bohemian Rhapsody” and 3 Noise Pop afternoon concerts. You can also visit Live From the AMP’s web page at Stay tuned!

LiveSITPM flyer1

Summer at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater

This Sunday will be the annual Jerry Day concert in the Amphitheatre!

Sunday August 4th is the all-day concert which celebrates Jerry Garcia’s 77th Birthday.

August 4th 2019  – 11:30 AM ~ 6 PM – 17th Annual Jerry Day – Jerry Day 2019! at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, John McLaren Park, Shelley West off Mansell Street, San Francisco, CA 94134


jerry day poster



San Francisco has countless spots perfect for the ’gram. From architectural gems in the Financial District to water towers in the Excelsior, the city was made for the soothing social media platform. But the most frequently Instagrammed spots (i.e., AT&T Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge) are also tourist meccas. Where do you go for a good shot that isn’t saturated with people

To see the entire list use the above link.

We’re showing the section that lists McLaren Park!

La Grande Tank

For some, even Sutro Tower is too played out. Enter the Excelsior water tower, the real landmark of locals. Officially called La Grande Tank, this Tiffany-blue water tower can be found atop McLaren Park and is one of the first things folks see as they enter the city on Interstate 280.


Saturday in the Park Makes Examiner’s Front Page!

In the late 1990s, Linda D’Aviro and Linda Litehiser — neighborhood activists who are collectively known as “The Lindas” — wondered why the amphitheater in San Francisco’s McLaren Park was never used.

“I couldn’t believe how empty it was. It was so sad,” said Litehiser, a resident of the Mission Terrace neighborhood, recalling how in the 1980s-90s, the theater was largely abandoned and had rotting benches.

Today, the venue is brimming with music, celebrating its fourth annual “Saturday in the Park” concert series on weekends through Oct. 22.

Having put in thousands of volunteer hours over more than a decade to help revitalize the venue, D’Aviro and Litehiser are pleased with their grassroots success in bringing people and music to the theater, which hosts Cocker Power, a Joe Cocker tribute band, headlining Saturday’s show.

But they still have more to do.

“We are ladies in our golden years. We need to take this to the next level,” said D’Aviro, who has lived in Crocker Amazon since 1989, and, along with Litehiser, are Friends of the Amphitheater’s most active members.

The women — who have written “their fair share of grants” and still do everything from cutting checks to storing tents in their garages — obtained $30,000 to fund the concerts. Support comes from corporate sponsor Airbnb, as well as the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Their goal is to set up a foundation, similar to the one supporting Stern Grove’s free concerts, to keep their program sustainable.

After looking at models from all over the country, they’ve conquered many initial hurdles, including safety.

“The challenge of the amphitheater is that it’s in a bucolic setting. You can’t see it from any road,” said Litehiser.

Working with police at the Ingleside Station and parks advocates, they fashioned a security program that volunteers can execute, which addresses the potentially dangerous five-to-10-minute walk from the parking lot to the 750-seat theater.

They’ve also helped other organizations, including the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, navigate the “daunting” permitting process required to use the theater.

Among their early triumphs was their role in naming the facility the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in 2005 (the late Grateful Dead leader was born and raised in the Excelsior) at a bash with then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, Jefferson Starship and Wavy Gravy. It was two years after Friends of McLaren Park hosted the first “Jerry Day,” an event designed to bring neighbors to the 318-acre park and theater.

More recent renovations include four handicapped parking spots, improvements to the seating and stage, and the park’s first restrooms.

With more stable funding, plans include increasing lighting and landscaping to accommodate booths, food trucks and “other amenities you take for granted when you go to a concert,” D’Aviro said.

Perhaps the advocates are most proud to present local musicians playing many genres. “We’ve done everything from big band and the Great American Songbook to Bollywood and Celtic Dead music,” D’Aviro added.

They also point to the upcoming “great, fourth annual” blues show (in the mid-1970s, the theater was home to blues festivals) and extensive programs for young kids, including a popular September show with a stroller corral rather than bicycle parking.

Most importantly, they want to continue to get the word out to those still unaware of the extraordinary natural area in their neighborhood.

“We don’t need to make sure that somebody from the Marina knows about it, but do for someone who lives five blocks away,” Litehiser said, admitting that public transit to the theater is difficult even for people living nearby.

“People who have never gone to a concert before often go on a hike afterward,” said Litehiser, referring to the trails, views, picnic grounds, lake and reservoir in the park, which is “like the wild, west end of Golden Gate Park.”

Enjoying the customer service aspect of her many volunteer duties, D’Aviro said, “We welcome people. It’s really about joy and happiness.”

Both of “The Lindas,” as they have come to be known, added: “What it’s all about is to come and spend the day with us; it’s really a wonderful place.”


Saturday in the Park Concert Series

Where: Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 45 John F. Shelley Drive,
McLaren Park, S.F.

When: 12:30 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 22

Admission: Free



Saturday: Cocker Power; Rock Candy with Lindsey Boullt, Jason Muscat, Tony Patel-Dunn and Bryan Turner; Lost Comet with Sharon Pucci (rock ’n’ roll)

Oct. 15: Back Porch Band; Beauty Operators String Band; Canyon Johnson, Windy Hill Bluegrass Band (bluegrass)

Oct. 22: Diva Ladee Chico with the Saturday in the Park House Band; The Groove Riders; Bobbie “Spider” Webb Band (blues concert, amphitheater opening 45th anniversary party)



Saturday in the Park Fundraiser – Friday September 16th 6-8PM – Gleneagles Golf Course “Old Peculiars” Clubhouse

GleneaglesIMG_3850Come enjoy pizza and your favorite beverage at Saturday in the Park McLaren’s fundraiser 6PM on Friday September 16th in the “Old Peculiars” Clubhouse at the Gleneagles Golf Course.

The Fundraiser will feature live music, raffle prizes and a chance to see and honor the work of the pre-apprentice program working to improve the grounds at Gleneagles.2016-08-27

Come and enjoy time with your friends and support both Saturday in the Park and Gleneagles at this fun Friday evening at Gleneagles Golf Course located at 2100 Sunnydale Ave, San Francisco, CA 94134.

Laughing Monk Fundraiser Saturday in the Park – Thursday September 22nd 4-8PM

laughingmonk_breweryJoin us at Laughing Monk Brewery to support Saturday in the Park McLaren, a great free concert series.

– Live DJ
– Free Giveaways from Airbnb
– Free snacks

Laughing Monk Brewery will be donating $1 from each glass of beer we sell from 4-8pm.

see event invite at

Laughing Monk Brewery is located at 1439 Egbert Ave, Unit A, 94124


McLaren Park History

  • 1840 – When California was part of Mexico, land later to become parklands was part of RanchoCañada de Guadalupe la Visitación y Rodeo Viejo, granted by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado
  • 1868-1904 – Subdivisions drawn up for development
  • 1904 – Daniel L Burnham proposes creating a multi-acre park in current site of McLaren Park & Portola District housing
  • 1926 – SF Board of Supervisors passes resolution directing land purchases to create 550 acre Mission Park in current site of McLaren Park & Portola District housing
  • 1927 – SF Board of Supervisors, SF Park Superintendent, staff & others host a celebration dedicating park to John McLaren, the city’s Superintendent of Parks; hundreds of new trees had already been planted to transform the landscape
  • 1928 – Bond initiative fails
  • 1928-1946 – City continues buying up properties for park land
  • 1932 – Park Commission reduces plan park acreage to 428 acres and again to 361 acres
  • 1939 – WPA work force completes installation of a long system of foot paths, hiking, fire, and equestrian trails, culverts, roadways and view drive. Also completes the planting of over 10,000 trees of the eucalyptus, cypress and pine varieties
  • 1944 – The Board of Supervisors recommends reducing park acreage to 241 acres; the Planning Department recommends park acreage be 413 acres
  • 1946 – From 1946 -1958 John McLaren Park’s present 318 acres created with final land purchases completed in 1958 and acreage approved by Resolution No. 5557
  • 1958 – Pool opens in southeast corner next to future Herz Playground
  • 1961 – Gleneagles 9-hole Golf Course constructed on 60 acres
  • 1963 – Mansell, Visitacion, Brazil and Persia Streets constructed
  • 1964 – Shelley Drive completed; park lake and drainage structures constructed; McNab Lake was designed as a model yacht basin using California state funds
  • 1965 – Louis Sutter and Herz Playground constructed
  • 1970 – SF Recreation Department completes construction of a multi-purpose outdoor Greek-style amphitheater
    • Amphitheater opens in 1971 providing “excellent acoustics” & seating for 700
    • Press reports amphitheater adds “a new cultural dimension to San Francisco”
  • 1971 – Tennis courts constructed
  • 1975-77 3rd, 4th, 5th SF Blues Festival held in the amphitheater
    • 1978 – SF Blues Festival outgrows amphitheater; moves to GGP Band shell, then Kezar, then Fort Mason until holding final Festival in 2008
  • 1978 – The Mansfield-Burrows Playground opens
  • 1981 – The Wilde Reservoir Overlook Tower constructed
  • 1983 – Large Group picnic area developed for 172 people; with large barbeque, built-in tables and benches, sink with running water and serving table
  • 1994 – Friends of McLaren Park/FOMP formed
    • Fiscal sponsor is SF Parks Trust
  • 1995 -Yosemite Marsh, is designated a “significant natural resource area” by the city. The marsh is the start of a creek, now covered by homes and streets, that runs down to the bay
  • 1996-1999 – SF Parks and Recreation installs ADA compliant restrooms, seating and pathways at amphitheater
    • Project removes amphitheater lighting and hillside stage electrical panels
  • 2001-2002 – Community group Friends of Crocker Amazon & Outer Mission Residents Association sells T-shirts to raise funds for Crocker Amazon’s “Purple Playground”
    • Estate of Jerry Garcia permits artwork image use for t-shirts sales as a way to support youth
    • Fiscal Sponsor is Excelsior District Improvement Association
    • T-shirts sold as the “Jerry Shirt” raises $5,000 for the playground
  • 2003 – F.A.C.E./Friends & Advocates of Crocker Amazon & the Excelsior formed as a neighborhood booster group
    • Focus: raising awareness of the neighborhood, its history & attractions
    • Motto: Having Fun in the Neighborhood
    • Neighbor Parks Council/NPC become its fiscal sponsor
  • 2003 – F.A.C.E. members create idea of a birthday celebration for Excelsior native son Jerry Garcia as a neighborhood promotion
    • August 3, 2003 – 1st “Jerry Day” celebration held
      • Hosted by F.A.C.E.
      • Attended by 50-75 people
      • Cake & Cherry Garcia ice cream served during concert
      • SF Examiner writes article about the event
  • 2005 – July 21 – Resolution Number 0507-003 passed by SF Recreation & Park Commission
    • “unnamed Greek style amphitheater in John McLaren Park…shall hereinafter be known as the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater”
  • 2005 – August – 3rd “Jerry Day” held in the newly named Jerry Garcia Amphitheater; Crowd size doubles from previous year
  • 2005 – October 29 – Official City Dedication of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
    • Official Proclamation by Mayor Gavin Newsom
    • Master of Ceremonies: Wavy Gravy
    • Performers: The Jefferson Starship & Several Grateful Dead Tribute Bands
    • Organized by Friends of McLaren Park, F.A.C.E. with support of District 10 & 11 community members, musicians and artists
    • 2005 – F.A.C.E. member Tom Murphy elects to solely organize & promote annual “Jerry Day” concerts
  • 2006 – SF Parks Trust becomes “Jerry Day” fiscal sponsor
  • 2008 – July 15 – Friends of McLaren Park/FOMP holds preliminary meeting to form Friends of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
  • 2009 – November 7 – D11 Supvr. John Avalos convenes McLaren Park community meeting to promote the park and Jerry Garcia Amphitheater
    • December 6 McLaren Park Festival planning meeting held
    • Meetings continue through December & January/February 2010
  • 2010 – January, March, May – SF Recreation & Parks Department holds 3 Community McLaren Park Needs Assessment meetings
  • 2010 – February 11 – F.A.C.E. and Friends of McLaren Park form “Friends of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater/Friends of JG A”
    • McLaren Park Festival planning meetings on event fees take place with SF Park & Recreation Permit Department & SF Parks Trust
    • Amphitheater Summer concert series planned
    • Friends of JG Amp/FOJGA work at 2 “Radio Alice’s Summerthing” Concerts in GG Park to raise money to lower permit fees
  • 2010 – June 15 – Draft plans started for an amphitheater “Docent Program”
  • 2010 – July – Plans scrapped to hold McLaren Park Festival due to high fee structure
  • 2010 – December – F.A.C.E. sets meeting dates with Neighborhood Parks Council/NPC to discuss fiscal sponsorship of new umbrella group of neighbors and McLaren Park groups to be called the “McLaren Park Council”
  • 2011 – Newly-formed group called “McLaren Park Collaborative” begins meetings
  • 2011 – May – JG Amp meetings continue on permit fees with NPC & RPD Permits department
  • 2011 – October – SF Parks Alliance created from the merger of Neighborhood Parks Council & SF Parks Trust
  • 2012 – February – SF Parks Alliance sign fiscal contract for “Friends of the AMP/Amphitheater at McLaren Park” (renamed from Friends of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater)
  • 2012 – June – Friends of the AMP plan a “2013 Jerry Garcia Amphitheater Music Festival” & initiates Docent Program
  • 2012 – November – Friends of the AMP co-founders Linda D’Avirro/Linda Litehiser attend meeting with RPD GM Phil Ginsberg & Dahlia Khoury discussing possible RPD/Levitt Pavilion proposal for the amphitheater
  • 2013 – Gleneagles Golf Course signs nine-year lease extension and initiates pre-apprentice gardener program with Local 261
  • 2013 – Mansell Corridor Project receives $1.7M in One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) funding, bringing a total of $5.1M in transportation funds for the project.
  • 2013 – June
    •  Friends of the AMP plan “Saturday in the Park McLaren” fall concert series
    • Creates  Docent Manual, detailed Safety Program & full concert series design/programming/dates
    • SF Parks Alliance awards small $2k grant to initiate Docent Program
    • D9, D10, D11 Supervisors contribute $5k each in add-back funds to defray concert series costs
    • SF RPD puts full support behind concert
      • SF RPD Permits Dept. lowers fees
      • Provides PR & printing support
      • Videotaped October 12 concert
      • Asks Friends of AMP to set dates for 2014 amphitheater concert series
  • 2013 – September
    • 1st McLaren Park Mountain Bike Festival – September 7th attracts over 300 participants
    • Levitt Pavilion withdraws proposal; seeks larger venue
    • 1st Saturday in the Park McLaren 6 concert series held
  • 2013 – October
    • Saturday in the Park 2014 concert dates submitted to RPD Permits Department
    • Newly refurbished and improved Peru/Burrows Playground opens
  • 2014 – September – October
    • SF Shakes performs 5 shows of “The Taming of the Shrew”
    • 2nd Saturday in the Park McLaren 7-concert series held
  • 2015 – September-October
    • SF Shakes performs 5 shows of “Romeo and Juliet”
    • 3rd Saturday in the Park McLaren 4-concert series held
  • 2015 – November – Mansell Corridor Project Groundbreaking Celebration held
  • 2016 – June-October
    • Annual Help McLaren Park Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser held in the Louis Sutter Roundhouse
    • SF Shakes performs 5 shows of “Winter’s Tale”
    • Saturday in the Park McLaren presents its 4th 6-concert series
  • 2017 – February – Mansell Corridor reopens as a pedestrian and bike-friendly roadway separating the roadway
  • 2017 – June – Annual Help McLaren Park Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser held in the Louis Sutter Roundhouse
  • 2017 – August – October
    • SF Shakes performs 5 shows of “Hamlet”
    • 5th Saturday in the Park McLaren holds its 6-concert series
  • 2017 – November – The SF Recreation and Parks Commission approves RPD’s Tier 1 Project Plan as part of the overall McLaren Park Visioning Plan
  • 2018 – In the Amphitheater:
    • Jerry Day concertgoers exceed 2,000
    • SF Shakes performs 5 shows of “Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • Sundown Cinema presents “Sing-Along Grease” movie
    • 6th Saturday in the Park McLaren holds its 6-concert series held; Renames its series as “Live From the AMP”
  • 2019 – Work begins on the Group Picnic Area & new playground and restroom
  • 2019 – In the Amphitheater:
    • SF Shakes performs 6 shows of “As You Like It”
    • Sundown Cinema present “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie
    • Do the Bay presents a 3-concert “Due South” series
    • “Live From the AMP” presents its 3-concert series