Hanging out with Carlos Santana in Precita Park

Did you know Carlos Santana is from Bernal Heights? Good for you. Did you hang out with him at the park as a kid? We guess not. Bernal resident Orlando Galvez grew up in the neighborhood, and the famed musician was a regular part of Sunday afternoons in Precita Park. Orlando recalls that time fondly, when the entire park smelled like “cannabis and fried chicken,” and “spectacular, sparkling low riders” roam the streets.

Orlando recounts this San Francisco diary entry from the late 1960s to the good folks at Bernalwood:

I remember when I was a six year-old boy, watching Carlos Santana play his guitar. I thought he was the coolest kid in the Precita Park. When Santana was playing, I would even drift away from my beloved satellite spinner to get a better view.

Precita Park was a weekend mecca where hippies, Black Panthers, Symbianese Liberation Army radicals, and neighborhood Chicanos with their spectacular, sparkling lowriders would all gather around the playground right near where the satellite spinner still spins today.

“Oye Como Va” always got the party started.
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