In honor of San Diego Pride Weekend, I’d like to post a quick summary of all the prides I’ve been to:
San Diego Pride (2006-2013)
Long Beach Pride (2 times)
Los Angeles Pride (1 time)
San Francisco Pride (2013)
Out of all the pride weekend events, I enjoyed San Francisco Pride the best. I took the train up the west coast to arrive in time for Friday night Pride kick-off. This was a kick-off unlike any I have ever experienced. Not only was I in an unfamiliar city, but I was still very new at using public transportation. When I didn’t want to walk eight blocks, I took the bart.
As I slowly crept up the stairs from the underground station to the street level, I saw the backs of dozens of people lined up around the street. They were watching what was literally a six-hour parade. There were so many floats and people walking alongside them. After some searching, I finally found a spot to stand with only three heads in front of me. Each hour each person left along with their friend/group. At about 3pm I had a front row standing position to the parade. I saw my brother march with his friend’s float in time. Everything was great.
Then I made my way towards City Hall. There isn’t any way I can describe the noise and the sights in order to prepare you for what you what experience. There were literally four or five dance floors. All of which had bass turned up all the way and then some. Every kind of person from different backgrounds and fashion styles were all dancing like their feet were indestructible and their energy unlimited.
On Saturday, every lgbt person and their friends gravitated toward Dolores Park. There is a paved road on a steep hill that you have to climb if you want to get to the good parts of the grassy park. To the left is a playground for kids. Then two rows of rolling hills where people set-up their blankets and alcohol (allowed for Pride Weekend) begins. At 10am there were a few people here and there (we were one of them). Then slowly, but surely the park was flooded with people. I have never seen that many lgbt people and friends concentrated in one area. It was great.
The thing about Long Beach Pride was that the first time I stayed over at my friend’s two-story house. We played drinking games all night. The next day’s Parade and Festival were fun, but did not go above and beyond any other city’s festivities. The second time, my friends and I rented a boat off the pier. We drank and played games again. On Saturday night, we went to a club with $10, which is pretty cheap considering it was Pride Weekend. This was also fun, but nothing too different other than where we stayed the night all weekend.
Los Angeles Pride was unique in that, I went to the Dyke March for the first time. I didn’t even know such a march even existed. It’s simply a bunch of women who identify as such marching together in solidarity. Sort of like, “Here we are. We are here together.” It was interesting.
All in all, I had a fun time each pride weekend. All the pride festivals charge $20 for regular admission with discounts for military, except San Francisco Pride. SF Pride was completely free to enjoy. They have it in their budget to hire workers to set-up stages and musicians to perform on them.
I look forward to experiencing Pride weekend at different cities. If you have never been to a Pride weekend event, you should check it out. It doesn’t matter what your background or preference is. It’s fun for all. It definitely tests your comfort zone if you have a small/select group of people you hang out with all year round. I highly recommend it.