San Francisco’s 45th annual LGBT Pride parade and celebration this weekend shines with special meaning after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday to make same sex marriage legal in the United States, according to the San Francisco Travel Association.
President and CEO of the association Joe D’Alessandro said hundreds of thousands will be in The City as it comes alive with music, dancing and excitement:
“Today our city is filled with joy. … This decision is the culmination of a struggle that began in San Francisco on Feb. 12, 2004, when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom began issuing same-sex marriage licenses at City Hall. My husband and I will be celebrating this weekend with the thousands of people who will come to San Francisco to share in this historic moment.”
This year’s Pride theme is Equality Without Exception.
The celebration begins Saturday at noon in Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall and goes to 6 p.m. Sunday’s events begin with the parade at 10:30 a.m. along Market Street from Beale Street to Eighth Street, according to SF Pride. Events like Trans March 2015 began as early as Friday night.
More than 240 organizations will participate in the parade.
Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. SF Pride is hosting a VIP party at City Hall. Tickets can also be purchased at sfpride.org.
Other events on Sunday start at 11 a.m. in Civic Center Plaza and go to 6 p.m., organizers said.
The two-day Civic Center celebration will have more than 20 stages and venues and nearly almost 300 exhibitors, organizers said.
“For 45 years the annual Pride event in San Francisco has been a catalyst to build community, celebrate diversity, and unite to take on those who would deny us our freedoms locally and abroad. Our theme Equality Without Exception is timely; queers and allies alike need to vote and stay vigilant,” SF Pride board president Gary Virginia said in a statement.
SF Pride is a nonprofit responsible for producing the celebration and parade.
The celebration also includes speakers Alicia Garza, who started The #BlackLivesMatter Movement and Kate Kendall, who leads the National Center for Lesbian Rights, organizers said.
Entertainment is planned too. Grammy-nominated rock/electronica band Shiny Toy Guns will play on the main stage Sunday, according to organizers.
BART officials said to help participants get to the parade they will be running more trains Sunday, which will be the length of weekday commuter trains.
Golden Gate Ferry is also offering more trips than usual Saturday and Sunday from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. Ferry officials are asking travelers to purchase tickets in advance.
Complete arrival and departure information can be found at www.goldengate.org/news/ferry/prideferry.php.
Pride organizers are asking attendees and spectators to donate $10 at the entry gates to support SF Pride’s mission and to support the celebration’s nonprofit partners, according to SF Pride.
Pride executive director George Ridgely said in a statement:
“As with every Pride event, this year serves as the perfect opportunity to commemorate the struggles our community has faced, celebrate the victories we have won, and shed light on the barriers we have yet to dissolve before we reach full equality and fair treatment for every member of our community.”