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Drag Me Downtown brings glitter, glam and revitalization to San Francisco

Drag event aims to help revitalize San Francisco's downtown
Drag event aims to help revitalize San Francisco's downtown 03:13

SAN FRANCISCO -- Glitter, glam and a lot of charisma are part of a recipe to boost nightlife in downtown San Francisco, says Bobby Friday, who hosts the Drag Me Downtown event series. Bobby believes that "Drag is about unlocking that inner spirit that you have to just shine and feel fierce and fabulous and over-the-top."

The event series kicked off Thursday at Harrington's Bar and Grill on Front Street. Last year, each Drag Me Downtown event attracted over 200 people and this year promises to be even bigger.

Bobby is enthusiastic about the community response, saying: "I helped them produce the first event series of Drag Me Downtown and it was such a success, people loved it so much and it was so fun to bring queer beauty, queer art to spaces that maybe you wouldn't find it typically."

Dozens of people gathered at Harrington's to enjoy a night of spectacular shows and entertainment. The event is part of a broader effort to breathe new life into downtown while celebrating Pride.

Melissa Buckminster from the Downtown SF Partnership emphasized the inclusive nature of the event.

"It's a really important thing to remind folks that downtown is for everybody. I kind of kiddingly say. 'It's not just bros in vests that are coming to work for banks and tech. It is somewhere that has always been embracing of the LGTBQ community whether it's here, whether it's SoMa, whether it's the Tenderloin. This is everybody's downtown.'"

The series features new performers at different downtown restaurants each week, with upcoming events at PABU Izakaya on June 13, The Third Floor at the Jay Hotel on June 20 and One Market Restaurant on June 27.

Ben Bleiman, owner of Harrington's Bar and Grill, remarked on the significance of such events.

"People think it's a chicken-or-egg thing. They used to work downtown because they had to. Now they're gonna come downtown because they want to so we have to give them reasons for them to keep wanting to come. And First Thursdays, Drag Me Downtown -- we have all the entertainment right out there."

While Drag Me Downtown is free to attend, pre-registration is encouraged. All proceeds from the $10 pre-registration fee benefit San Francisco's Transgender District, the first legally recognized transgender district in the world.

Bobby encourages everyone to come and support the event, especially at a time when other places in the country are pushing back against drag culture.

"We want to celebrate who you are and I think that's what this series is actually about," Bobby said.

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