Easter bonnets, hunky Jesus and foxy Mary contests in San Francisco

Throughout the Bay Area, the weather cooperated with sunshine for early morning Easter egg hunts. One annual tradition held in San Francisco is ‘Easter in the park’, hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. 

Thousands turned out for the 45th annual event held in the park at Mission Dolores. It's also the 45th anniversary of the leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns, who believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty. 

In 1979, it started with two men who donned nun habits as they strolled through the Castro. At that time, there were only four sisters. 

Today, there are thousands of sisters around the world. 

On its website, the organization explains they are devoted to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges. Additionally, the group promotes human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. 

The sisters admittedly use "…humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit." 

As a deejay played the catchy tune ‘We Are Family’, picnickers in fanciful hats danced on the lawn, while others enjoyed sitting on blankets on the lawn, soaking up the sun. Dogs were in attendance as well, some wearing bunny ears. 

An Easter bonnet contestant at Easter in the Park at Mission Dolores

Sister Bearoncé Knows came from Los Angeles. They were covered in a light turquoise shade of make-up, only outmatched by a beautifully assembled skin-tight outfit, covered in rhinestones and glitter, sparkling from head to toe. 

Sister Knows praised the event, saying, "The sisters are a wonderful reflection of our community. We are the LGBTQ, the I, and the A of our community. What better way to give them visibility than to throw some glitter and rhinestones on each other and prance around the park on Easter Sunday?"

Coincidentally, March 31 is the Transgender Day of Visibility. Sisters came from around the world to celebrate in their founding city, all enjoying unity in the community.

Sister Ida came from San Diego and has been attending Easter in the Park for nine years. 

They said, "We all come together in the spirit of togetherness and joy to spread that joy -and give It to other people. And that just recharges the battery." 

Since 1979, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have become a San Francisco institution, spreading joy and reflecting the community.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Easter in the Park, San Francisco (Alice Wertz )

The non-denominational, non-judgmental event offered egg-citing activities for people of all ages. An Easter egg hunt and games for young kids, ages infant to 4 years old.

Luka -A young Easter bunny enjoying a lollipop at the Easter in the Park event in SF on 3/31/2024

For adults, there was a contest for Easter bonnets, and later in the day, Hunky Jesus and Foxy Mary contests. There were several contestants and plenty of spectators. 

Sister Hellen Wheels has been participating in the event for years, as a local sister from San Francisco. 

They said, "Easter is a wonderful time for the sisters and for the community. You see oceans and oceans of smiles. I love that, and the fact that it's ‘Trans Awareness Day;’ it's so important because so many trans people have been picked on and abused over the years, and this is a chance for them to get some healing."

At noon, there was also a coronation of new sisters, who took to the stage and vowed to bring joy and never take themselves too seriously. At the end, in a joyous salutation, they recited together, ‘A-men! A-women! A-rest-of-us!’ 

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU FOX 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com