Folsom Street Fair 2022 Fulfilled Fetishes and Fantasies [NSFW]

Sep 29, 2022

Adult entertainers, Morgan Thicke and Boomer Banks at Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco.

This past weekend, thousands of people made a sacred pilgrimage to San Francisco for the world’s largest leather and kink event: Folsom Street Fair. Folsom is where leather and kinksters come to live out their ultimate fantasies and fetishes, and to witness debauchery on the streets. It’s an event unlike any other. HomoCulture is excited to recap the highlights of Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco, California.

Massive crowds on the street during Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco.

Folsom Street Fair 2022 was held on Sunday, September 25, from 11:00am – 6:00pm along Folsom Street, in the SoMa (south of market) district, in downtown San Francisco. It was a warm, early fall day, with clear blue sunny skies, and a light breeze – the perfect day to be outdoors, warm enough to strip down, but cool enough not be overwhelmed with sweat. Attendees found themselves enjoying a sin-filled journey, unleashing their hedonistic and carnal desires.

A group of guys wearing leather harnesses and fetish gear at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

History of Folsom Street Fair

Gay rights activists will appreciate the history of Folsom Street Fair.

During the 1940s, thousands of soldiers were discharged from the army for homosexual conduct. After being sent home from the war, they landed in America’s largest port cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

After World War II, as a response to the war on gay rights, poverty, and the emergence of the leather and kink subculture, there was a growing revolution.

A movement began to take place in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood which is the epicenter of the gay leather scene in San Francisco. Although the city is expensive now, the neighborhood was originally a blue-collar, working-class neighborhood where many single men lived. Throughout the area, you could find whore houses, gambling dens and honky tonks.

By the mid-1960s the area was known as the hub for the gay leather scene. Life Magazine published an article called “Homosexuality in America” in 1964. The profiling by the publication firmly changed SoMa’s perception to many Americans, cementing it as the capital of gay deviance in the minds of gay Americans across the nation.

During this time, there was an activist movement to fight poverty in the city. The Society for Individual Rights (SIR) was a major contributor to the cause, but they also worked diligently to protect the SoMa’s residents.

By the late 1970s, SoMa had transformed, becoming home to multiple bathhouses, leather bars and clubs.

The first Folsom Street fair was held in 1984, and it was meant to proclaim healing and support for the AIDS-ravaged community during the crisis.

Folsom Street Fair mission

Folsom Street is committed to cultivating a safe, open, and inclusive environment for the kink, leather, and alternative sexuality communities while centering equity for BIPOC and LGBTQA2I+ people in our work. We are rooted historically in the fight against gentrification and displacement both here in San Francisco, on unceded Ohlone land, and worldwide. We unite, strengthen, and affirm the community through support, resources, education, advocacy, visibility, and celebration. We are dedicated to sexual liberation and the right to pleasure as a crucial part of the whole liberation movement.

a gay couple holding each other at Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco.

Highlights from Folsom Street Fair 2022

Folsom Street was a buzz of people, as tens of thousands of people gathered along Folsom Street for the 39th year of the event. After a pause during the COVID-19 global health pandemic there was a lot of pent-up energy and excitement. There was a 2021 event; however, it was much smaller and drew a smaller crowd.

Massive crowds on the street during Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco.

Entry to the 2022 event was free; however, donations were encouraged. In past years, donating $10 or more offered donors the benefit of discounted drinks at the Folsom drink stations; however, for 2022, vendors took the place of Folsom-organized drink stations.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in downtown San Francisco.

The inclusive, sex-positive space welcomed people to come as they were, and as they felt comfortable. There were people representing every corner of sexual orientation and genders, bringing together a beautiful collection of people interested in self-exploration and sexual acceptance.

A group of friends posing for a photo at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

Attendees were dressed in the best outfits, showcasing their sexuality—from leather harnesses and jockstraps, full nudity to rubber, to furries and pup play, it was all on display. People were dressed in what make them feel comfortable and provided an opportunity to meet and engage with others who were like-minded, bringing an amazing social atmosphere. It also provided the opportunity for attendees to learn about other kinks, fetishes, and gear, providing educational moments.

Two guys wearing fetish gear kissing at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

There were many demonstrations throughout the fair, including rope tying, flogging, paddling, and whipping stations. These were popular areas for attendees to watch, learn, and for consensual participation.

A man on a bench getting paddled by a dominatrix at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

There were DJs set up on cross streets, offering opportunities for dancing under the early fall sun.

A DJ spinning music as a crowd dances at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

Vendors were positioned throughout the event, offering up a wide range of products including harnesses, butt plugs, leashes, ball gags, circuit fans, and dildos. There were also local groups and organizations providing information, community engagement, and raising awareness.

A group of friends wearing leather puppy masks at Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco, California.

There were plenty of opportunities for sexual exploration and exhibitionism. It was common to find a crowd of people circled around one or more people receiving blowjobs, and to see random people stroking each other’s dicks.

Watersports were also a keen interest of attendees. Consenting participants, commonly wearing the signature yellow color, a fetish sign for being into watersports, would welcome individuals with a simple nod to come and piss on them.

Two guys wearing leather fetish gear and pissing on each other at Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco.

The biggest watersports play area had two people sitting in an inflatable kiddie pool welcoming all participants to come up and offer them a golden shower.

A man and a women in an inflatable pool drinking piss from random people at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

Monkeypox and COVID-19

Both monkeypox and COVID-19 were top-of-mind for event organizers and participants. Providing a safe and comfortable space was an important element for Folsom Street Fair 2022. The leather and kink communities take social welfare extremely seriously, and this event further reinforced this fact. Attendees were offered both COVID-19 and monkeypox vaccines, and COVID-19 testing on site.

A couple wearing fetish gear and N95 masks buying a wood paddle at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

Monkeypox is a huge concern for the gay community, and the overall rollout and adoption of the vaccine has been slow in the United States. Folsom Street Fair was affected by this epidemic, but for the most part, people who attended the event made sure others were safe by being vaccinated. And those who weren’t vaccinated were aware of the risk of infection and made sure they were keeping everyone safe with minimal personal contact.

A man squatting on a sidewalk jerking off while another guy watches.

The organizers of the event took the chance to educate the public on the health and safety concerns of Monkeypox. Anyone at the festival either knew about the vaccine or learned about why it was important as the festival happened.

Plan to attend Folsom Street Fair in 2023

Two people dressed in furry fetish outfits at Folsom Street Fair 2022.

If you haven’t attended Folsom Street Fair before, in a while, or if it’s on your annual gay agenda, it is time to mark your calendars for 2023. San Francisco and Folsom Street Fair welcome you with open arms. Be prepared to explore your sexuality, learn about kinks, try new gear, and discover fetishes that may pique your interests and desires.

Two muscle-clad men posing for a photo at Folsom Street Fair 2022 in San Francisco.

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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