SF Pride is a showstopper
by Cynthia Laird
There isn't another parade like it in the region. And it draws hundreds of thousands of people to San Francisco the last Sunday every June. You know what we're talking about and Bay Area Reporter readers were emphatic: San Francisco's Pride Parade and festival is the best LGBT event in the city in this year's Best of the Gays readers' poll.
Going on 43 years in 2013, the Pride Parade is awash in rainbow colors, hot bodies, and hundreds of contingents representing the best of San Francisco, the Bay Area, and beyond. The diversity is electric as straight allies march with their LGBT friends, family members, and co-workers.
The two-day festival in Civic Center Plaza offers a mix of up-and-coming musical acts and hit-makers, along with an assortment of grand marshals, political leaders, spoken word, and other entertainment. Pride's numerous community stages offer something for everyone: leather, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latin, ghetto disco dance area, homo hip-hop, the Faerie Freedom Village, queer youth, and more.
SF Pride was also voted best LGBT fundraiser. Over the years, Pride's successful community partners program has returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to a variety of local nonprofit organizations that provide volunteers to collect donations at the festival gates and operate the beverage booths.
Earl Plante, the new CEO of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, which produces the parade and festival, told the Bay Area Reporter earlier this year that he envisions Pride-sponsored events taking place throughout the year. But first, getting things in order for the June 29-30 weekend is the priority.
Plante said last week that the organization is thrilled with its wins.
"On behalf of the board, staff, and thousands of volunteers associated with San Francisco Pride, I want to personally thank everyone who voted for us," Plante said in an email. "We are deeply humbled that our loyal stakeholders from across the SF Bay Area recognize our bedrock principles of service, and the larger role that we play in the community at large.
"All of us are profoundly committed to promoting our groundbreaking mission, using inclusive liberation as a graceful medium for honoring our past, celebrating the present, and fearlessly reaching into a bright future. We take our obligations and responsibilities seriously," he added.
Expect announcements soon about community and celebrity grand marshals, and this year's entertainment headliners. Then mark your calendars and prepare to take in one of the largest LGBT Pride parades in the world. San Francisco Pride. http://www.sfpride.org.