By William Lopez
Featuring nearly 200 floats and other contingents, San Diego's Pride Parade marches through Uptown San Diego on Saturday, July 18, setting the pace for a two-day music festival celebrating diversity and equality for all people around the world. The procession will run along University and Sixth Avenues in Hillcrest beginning at 11:00 a.m., and everyone is welcome.
This year's theme, "Liberty and Justice for All," commemorates the growing acceptance of the LGBT community and how San Diego's Pride Parade has been at the forefront of this progress. Over the years, attendance has broadened, making Pride one of San Diego's biggest events, with more than 100,000 people expected to attend.
"Pride is for everyone. It's a place for everybody to feel free to express who they are and to celebrate each other," says San Diego Pride Executive Director, Stephen Whitburn. "It's a party for all people who believe in equality."
This year's Grand Marshall is not a single person, but rather the transgender community at large, which marks the first time in Pride's history that the distinction is being given to a group of people versus an individual.
Projected to draw a crowd in excess of 40,000, Pride Music Festival will showcase live performances by more than 120 artists (see below) on five stages in Balboa Park on Saturday (11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., following the parade) and Sunday (11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.). Carmen Electra will host the Main Stage during Saturday evening's festivities.
In addition to the performance stages, the festival includes a wedding expo, the Leather Realm experience, an open-air art gallery, food vendors, craft beers, spirits and more than 200 exhibitor booths. Purchase advance tickets ($20 for general admission; $120 for VIP) and find all the fabulous details at sdpride.org.
Living In Harmony
A few of Pride Music Festival's 120-plus performers
Emma Hewitt (singer-songwriter, trance vocalist)
Late Night Alumni (house music with stringed instruments)
Mary Lambert (singer-songwriter)
Ruby Rose (EDM DJ and Maybelline model)
Pierce Fulton (Brooklyn-based EDM artist)
Taryn Manning (singer-songwriter and actress)
Big Freedia (hip-hop/bounce)
Rocio Banquells (pop singer from Mexico)
7/17: Pride of Hillcrest Block Party
Catch a headlining performance by "Queen of Rocktronica" JES as San Diego Pride and Fabulous Hillcrest (the neighborhood's business improvement district) host the fourth annual Pride of Hillcrest Block Party to kick off Pride weekend with urban style and flare. This dance-music-fueled party in the streets beneath the Pride flag (at University Avenue and Normal Street) rocks Uptown from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17. Admission is $20. Must be 21-plus to attend. Purchase advance tickets at fabuloushillcrest.com.
Front Runners and Walkers San Diego presents its annual pre-Pride parade 5K run/walk/race, which follows the parade route along University Avenue to Balboa Park and back. The start/finish line is located at Centre Street, adjacent to the San Diego LGBT Center. Race time is 9:30 a.m. Register for $35 at frwsd.org.