Each July for the past ten years, the neighborhood of Temescal in North Oakland has hosted a street fair. In a city known to outsiders as a pale shadow of San Francisco and as the urban area with the highest crime rate in the country, Oakland is often disparaged. But as this street fair demonstrates, a heart still beats here, just to a different drummer, perhaps a little faster for having to outlast its reputation. Here, in an hour's stroll on a Sunday afternoon, I found a scrappy resilience and a natural beauty among its residents. Diverse to a degree few other cities are today, Oakland demonstrates the viability of a truly multicultural society. It's far from a utopia but near enough to be real.

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