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San Diego Pride Weekend Kicks Off Friday Night

A float carrying participants in the San Diego Pride Parade waits its turn on Normal Street, July 13, 2013.
A float carrying participants in the San Diego Pride Parade waits its turn on Normal Street, July 13, 2013.

San Diego Pride Weekend kicks off Friday evening with a block party and the Spirit of Stonewall Rally, a celebration of the 1969 Stonewall riots widely recognized as the catalyst for the modern LGBT rights movement.

State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, will be the keynote speaker at the rally, set to begin at 6 p.m. by the Hillcrest Pride Flag at 1500 University Avenue. The rally is part of the official Pride Block Party, which will get under way at 5 p.m. The block party will feature headliner DJ Nina Sky, local DJs K-Swift and Dirty Kurty and special guest performer David Hernandez, a former American Idol competitor.

Many Hillcrest bars and restaurants will host parties Friday night and well into Saturday morning, but the official festivities continue at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the Pride 5K, which will begin and end on University Avenue at Centre Street.


The weekend's main attraction, the Pride Parade, kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Hillcrest Pride Flag. The 1.1-mile parade route will proceed west on University Avenue, turn south on Sixth Avenue, left on Balboa Drive and ends at Quince Drive.

RELATED: San Diego State Raises Rainbow Flag To Celebrate Pride

The theme for this year's San Diego Pride Parade is "Allied in Action: United for Justice." It is a theme that a Gloria spokesman said the state assemblyman is expected to speak about at tonight's rally. Gloria's address will "focus on the need for unity amongst all disenfranchised communities, especially in light of recent actions by the federal government to roll back LGBT protections," the spokesman said.

Saturday's parade is annually one of the largest in the country, typically drawing a crowd of more than 100,000 spectators, and according to data from Airbnb — the app that allows locals to rent out lodging to visitors — the weekend's Pride festivities will draw more than 3,300 visitors who found a place to stay using the app.

Those visitors "bring tourism spending into neighborhoods with few hotels, benefiting small local businesses and helping residents make ends meet," the company said. "The 3,300 guests arriving to stay this weekend mark an increase of 37 percent over arrivals last year — when there were 2,400 — and total host earnings for the weekend will reach $1 million."


The typical host will earn $620 over the weekend, Airbnb said. The company projects that Airbnb guests will spend about $3 million over the weekend on lodging and at local businesses, with the most visitors coming from Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tucson and San Jose.

More than 240 organizations are expected to march in Saturday's parade. That list includes elected officials and politicians like San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office, State Senator Toni Atkins and state assemblymembers Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher; church groups like St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Mormons Building Bridges and the Buddhist Temple of San Diego; schools and school groups like Grossmont College, San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego State University Pride Center; corporations like Starbucks, AT&T and Bank of America; public safety agencies like the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, San Diego Police Department and San Diego Fire- Rescue Department; and dozens of LGBT organizations like the Fellowship of Older Gays, Stonewall Citizens' Patrol, San Diego Gaymers and many more.

A full list of parade participants can be found here.