With a timely theme of “Pride Unites the World,” San Diego’s annual celebration of the LGBT community returns July 15 through 17. Highlights of Pride’s 2016 festivities include the parade, which winds through Hillcrest along University and Sixth Avenues, and a two-day music festival in Balboa Park.
This year, event organizers are thrilled to have a modern-day pop star among the hundreds of musicians who will perform live on multiple stages at the Saturday/Sunday festival.
“We’re excited to headline Kesha,” says San Diego Pride’s Executive Director Steven Whitburn.
Kesha has 31 million Facebook fans, two million Instagram followers and a roster of chart-topping hits.
New to the Pride this year is the Rainbow Zone, an exhibit area where nonprofit organizations providing services to the LGBT community can showcase their initiatives for free. Also inside the zone, the public can check the Art of Pride gallery, featuring works by LGBT artists. DJs, food trucks and vendor booths round out the weekend’s offerings.
Attendance of the July 16 parade, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators, is free. General admission to the musical festival costs $20 per day in advance. A $120 VIP pass grants access to food/drinks, comfortable seating and upgraded amenities. sdpride.org
Here’s a peek at what else promises to help make Pride fabulous.
PRIDE OF HILLCREST BLOCK PARTY
Friday, July 15, 6 to 11 p.m.
Fabulous Hillcrest will host its fifth annual Pride of Hillcrest Block Party in the streets of Hillcrest. Centered around the Pride Flag on Normal Street, this high-energy dance party rocks with DJs, luminescent carnival rides and go-go dancers.. Tickets start at $20; ages 21+ only. fabuloushillcrest.com
UNITE! MUSIC FESTIVAL
Friday, July 15, 10 p.m. through Monday, July 18, 8 a.m.
UNITE! Music Festival paints a diverse sonic and visual tapestry designed to bring together the entire LGBT community and its allies. Five events - to be held at FLUXX and House of Blues in the Gaslamp, Quartyard in East Village and Spin nightclub near Mission Hills - will stretch over what’s being billed as “three days that will rock your world.” Tickets start at $40. umfest.com
PRIDE 5K RUN/WALK
Saturday, July 16, 9:30 a.m.
Front Runners and Walkers San Diego presents its annual Pride 5K, which follows the parade route before the parade begins. Warm-up begins 9 a.m. at University Avenue and Centre Street. Race participation starts at $35. frwsd.org
Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m.
A free community event, the 1.1-mile parade begins at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Avenue and Normal Street, proceeds west along University Avenue, and then turns left at Sixth Avenue toward Balboa Park. sdpride.org
SAN DIEGO PRIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL
Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, July 17, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Pop star Kesha headlines the two-day festival, which showcases hundreds of live performances on multiple stages around Marston Point in Balboa Park. Tickets start at $20 per day. sdpride.org
PRIDE ON THE PIER
Saturday, July 16, noon to 8 p.m.
Broadway Pier comes to (night)life with DJs, a laser show and sexy go-go dancers. Tickets start at $69. prideonthepier.com
FLAWLES PRIDE POOL PARTY
Sunday, July 17, noon to 8 p.m.
Organizers of this pool party at Rooftop600 at Andaz San Diego “believe in a community of amazing women that want more.” Expect DJs, music, magic... and a few men, too. Tickets start at $40. flawles.com
THE ZOO PARTY
Sunday, July 17, 4 to 11 p.m.
Go wild as Pride takes over The San Diego Zoo with DJs, dancing and other delights. Tickets start at $110 and include Zoo admission. billhardtpresents.com