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AP WAS THERE: The 1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/13/2017 By HAROLD V. STREETER, Associated Press
FILE - In this June 21, 1967 file photo, people keep a large ball, painted to represent a world globe, in the air during a gathering at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, to celebrate the summer solstice on June 21, day one of "Summer of Love." City officials have rejected a permit for a planned free concert intended to mark the 50th anniversary of the famed Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park that had been planned for June 2017. (AP Photo/File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 21, 1967 file photo, people keep a large ball, painted to represent a world globe, in the air during a gathering at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, to celebrate the summer solstice on June 21, day one of "Summer of Love." City officials have rejected a permit for a planned free concert intended to mark the 50th anniversary of the famed Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park that had been planned for June 2017. (AP Photo/File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Flower Children climbed a mountain, swarmed a polo field and crowded a beach to welcome the arrival of their "summer of love."

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 1967 file photo, a group of hippies greets the sunrise with music from a hilltop in San Francisco, Calif. (AP Photo) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 6, 1967 file photo, a group of hippies greets the sunrise with music from a hilltop in San Francisco, Calif. (AP Photo)

"A solstice happening," one bearded hippie termed the turnout for the first day of a season which the nonconformist disciples of love predict will bring 100,000 hippies to San Francisco.

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 1967, file photo, a man carries a guitar, a loaf of bread and a knapsack as he walks down the street away from the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. (AP Photo/File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 16, 1967, file photo, a man carries a guitar, a loaf of bread and a knapsack as he walks down the street away from the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. (AP Photo/File)

In the chilly predawn Wednesday, scores gathered on Twin Peaks — 900-foot mountains in the city's center — where they chanted and meditated until the sun rose.

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 1967 file photo, Timothy Leary addresses a crowd of hippies at the "Human Be-In" that he helped organize in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif. Leary told the crowd to "Turn on, Tune in and Drop out". The event was a prelude to the "Summer of Love", which brought the hippie experience into the American mainstream. (AP Photo/Bob Klein) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 14, 1967 file photo, Timothy Leary addresses a crowd of hippies at the "Human Be-In" that he helped organize in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif. Leary told the crowd to "Turn on, Tune in and Drop out". The event was a prelude to the "Summer of Love", which brought the hippie experience into the American mainstream. (AP Photo/Bob Klein)

"It was a sort of Buddhist yogi," explained bearded Bill Thomas, his arm crushing a red-haired girl in film gown against his suede jacket.

FILE - In this April 3, 1967 file photo, people parade up and down the streets of the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco. They came for the music, the mind-bending drugs, to resist the Vietnam War and 1960s American orthodoxy, or simply to escape summer boredom. And they left an enduring legacy. Fifty years ago, throngs of American youth descended on San Francisco to join a cultural revolution. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this April 3, 1967 file photo, people parade up and down the streets of the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco. They came for the music, the mind-bending drugs, to resist the Vietnam War and 1960s American orthodoxy, or simply to escape summer boredom. And they left an enduring legacy. Fifty years ago, throngs of American youth descended on San Francisco to join a cultural revolution. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein, File)

Wailing electric guitars and booming drums assaulted the ears of upwards of a thousand at the "happening" at Golden Gate park's polo field.

Tribal groups clustered about small combo bands — the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Mad River, the Phoenix, Big Brother and the Holding Company.

One tribe squatted under fluttering flags with the Star of David and the Cross, keeping time with a table — a bongo-type drum — a tambourine and a portable reed organ.

"This is a Krishna, an Indian ceremony," one explained. "This draws energy by clearing one's state of mind."

Nearby, a youth with hair hanging over his face ardently kissed a blonde.

The gathering ran the gamut of garb — miniskirts, shawls, black leather jackets, even a male wrapped in the royal purple of a Chinese Mandarin coat. Most of the males dangled bead necklaces. And everywhere were the paper flowers.

One squatting couple shielded a flickering candle from the wind with a sack, while they sipped wine from a silver chalice.

Grownups blew bubbles, while their children romped.

At the beach Wednesday night the moonlight ceremony focused on a 63-year-old witch.

"She's freaking out a few people," a hippie told a bystander.

"Freak out?"

"Well," replied the hippie, fumbling for words, "that means blow out a few minds."

That's how summer came to Twin Peaks.

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