It’s Pride weekend and I live in the Bay Area. While it’s possible to see this as a normal weekend, it’s not an easy task. San Francisco’s Pride Parade is the largest LGBT celebration in the nation, with 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and 20 stages. San Francisco’s normal anything goes attitude is amped up for festivals, and the Castro is even more alive than the customary queer nation hedonism that emerges for LGBT celebrations. In addition to the typical numbers above, organizers, officials and newscasters expect record numbers coming out to celebrate the demise of DOMA and California Prop 8. The projections are topping 200,000 to 300,000 more than the average 1.2 million attendees. Craaaazy town.
I don’t do too well with crowds, so rather than go to the big parade tomorrow, I hung out in the Castro yesterday. Saturday is relatively tame compared to Sunday but it does not disappoint. I started with a house party at a friend’s place in my old neighborhood. It started off fairly tame around 2pm, but it started getting rowdy as people prepared for the 5:30 start of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence annual Pink Saturday block party. 18th Street is part the main drag of the festivities, and I witnessed no fewer than 6 house parties–2 on my friend’s block alone. And those were just the ones that had spilled out onto the street.
Even getting there was funny. I ran into friends on my walk to BART and each one said, “wow, that’s brave. I’m staying away. It’s gonna be a zoo!” But I pressed on. With hundreds of thousands of folks. On the train ride in, I snapped a few photos of scantily-clad celebrants. I also had a few conversations with tourists who had little clue what was happening. Like the poor unsuspecting couple from Nebraska were traveling with another couple from Ohio for a wedding. “What are all the costumes for? Is this for Gay Pride?” They were so wide-eyed I was a bit worried for them. If they’re this wide-eyed on Saturday what’ll they think when the big fun hits on Sunday? But hey, a little exposure couldn’t hurt, right? Maybe they’ll get into it.
That was the last time I saw any real shock for the day. The rest was just love and fun and celebrations. Scantily-clad party-goers. Paste-on tattoos. Unicorns. Scantily-clad celebrants. Tie-dye and rainbows. And pink. Lots of pink. A few more pics are on my Google+ page if you a taste of the fun. Don’t worry, they’re pretty tame, apart from the rainbows and boas and tutus and unicorns. If you want the over-the-top celebrations, head on out there today! Or catch the live stream online. And if you’re out of town, you might want to add San Francisco Pride to your list for a visit next year.