San Diego Pride set to return in person in 2022

In a 2019 file photo, Ian Recio walked along the San Diego Pride Parade route as part of the Apple contingent.
(Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The announcement, made Thursday, puts the region’s largest civic event back on the streets of San Diego, where it attracts more than 350,000 people annually


After two years of being a mostly virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, San Diego Pride — highlighted by the 1.5-mile-long parade in Hillcrest and two-day festival in Balboa Park — will return in person in 2022.

The announcement, made Thursday, puts the region’s largest civic event back on the streets of San Diego, where it attracts more than 350,000 people annually.

San Diego Pride — founded in 1974 and now, organizers say, the fourth largest Pride event in the United States — was a completely virtual event in 2020, with more than 400,000 people watching the mostly pre-recorded streamed event.

In 2021, organizers mounted an eight-day celebration that culminated July 17 with a streamed Pride parade — dubbed Pride Live — accompanied by numerous small in-person events across the county.

Organizers of the region’s largest civic event, attracting more than 350,000, said they don’t see a clear path to safely producing the annual event

In 2022, Pride events are scheduled to begin on July 9 and end on July 17, with the highly popular and festive parade scheduled for July 16.

“Pride brings us together in times of protest, mourning, victory and celebration,” San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Z. López said in a statement. “Pride helps connect us to community and our found family. Pride gives us access to life-saving direct services and provides grant funding to our local and global LGBTQ community. I’m inspired by the thought of our community coming together again. Together we will continue to pursue justice with joy.”

San Diego Pride is normally one of the region’s most anticipated events, attracting hundreds of thousands of people during San Diego’s busiest tourism month, with Comic-Con International and the opening of the Del Mar Racing season held in the same month.

The significance of its return is not lost on Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, who stressed the importance of the annual event, which, organizers say, has a local economic impact of $26.6 million.

“LGBTQ diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our efforts to invite people to our vibrant city because when people feel welcome, they want to visit,” Coker said in a statement. “That is why we are so excited San Diego Pride is scheduled to return in 2022. It will highlight our friendly, inclusive spirit while attracting visitors to our hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions and boosting our local tourism economy.”

Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, echoed that sentiment.

“I’m excited San Diego Pride festivities will return for 2022 in full force,” he said. “It’s an honor for our region to play host to one of the nation’s largest Pride celebrations. Pride Month in San Diego County unites communities, supports regional businesses, and benefits people served by local nonprofits. As an ally, I stand with our diverse LGBTQ+ neighbors as they continue to raise awareness, celebrate LGBTQ+ history and pursue equity, opportunity, and a future free from prejudice.”

On Thursday, San Diego Council President Jen Campbell praised the announcement.

“I’m delighted that Pride week is returning in 2022 in its full capacity — its events are true San Diego institutions,” she said in a statement. “This return signifies how far we’ve come in our battle against COVID-19 and how close we are to returning to normal. Thank you San Diego Pride for not only the work you do for these events but every day to make us a better city for all.”

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