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  • Mail Holiday lights twinkle in San Francisco

November 22, 2013

Reposted from the
Written by Jana Katsuyama
Article originally published by, Nov. 22, 2013
View the original story here >>

Lights and fireworks helped usher in the holiday season at San Francisco's Embarcadero buildings Friday night. It has been a San Francisco tradition for more than 25 years and hundreds of people came downtown to enjoy the festivities.

Guia Labayan of Daly City comes every year with her husband and son.

"It's just like, a sense of holiday. It's a family thing," Labayan told KTVU.

The event featured ice skaters on the holiday rink at Justin Herman Plaza and many indoor activities near the shops and restaurants that stayed open late just for the Winter Carnival.

"I like about this cause there's an elf over here," said elementary school student Jun Yen of San Francisco

That elf, a man who identified himself as Oliver Twist, told KTVU he's participated in the event for several years.

"We've got ice skating, miles of smiles, twisty balloons, face-painting, craziness," he said.

The crowds brought a welcome boost to businesses, as people pulled out their pocketbooks and lingered at the restaurants and shops.

"We're just out and then we come down and we spend some money.  You know, it's nice and we can enjoy the holidays," said Sarah Shqair of Daly City.

With Thanksgiving just six days away, though, there was a call for help Friday night.

The San Francisco Food Bank is worried they won't have enough food to deliver to the local churches and community groups that plan to feed people on Thanksgiving Day.

"Now that people think the recession is over, we're seeing less giving. So we're short on turkeys about 500 turkeys that we'd like to have before Thanksgiving and we're also short on our fundraising," said Paul Ash, Director of the San Francisco and Marin Food Bank.

Donations can be dropped off at the main facility at 900 Pennsylvania Avenue in San Francisco or at the Marin office at 75 Digital Drive in Novato.

Ash says the Food Bank hopes to meet its goal of 2,500 turkeys by Tuesday.