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KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego Pride returns 'full scale' after pandemic pause

The Pride Block Party is now underway in Hillcrest. It runs through Friday evening. KPBS Reporter Kitty Alvarado spoke to organizers who say it’s a way to get through tough times.

For the first time in three years, San Diego Pride is back. This Saturday, the San Diego Pride parade returns to the streets of Hillcrest. These and other Pride events mark the return of fully in-person festivities for the first time since the pandemic began.

"I think everyone is absolutely ready for Pride. Ready to celebrate, ready to come out and be joyful," San Diego Pride executive director Fernando Lopez Jr. said. "We were all isolated, separated from our friends, family and loved ones for two years. And that means it's been three years of full scale Pride, and everyone is ready to come out."

Lopez joined Midday Edition on Thursday to talk about what the return of in-person Pride festivities means to them.

"It connects us to each other, and it tells us the long road of work that we have ahead of us," he said. "To make sure that LGBTQ people are fully protected, equal citizens in the United States and hopefully all around the world. It's one of the most moving and meaningful weekends of my year, every single year."

Ben Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association, agreed that this year’s celebration will be especially meaningful. His association organizes the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

“If you know Hillcrest, you know that the way we get through difficult times is we celebrate and we get out in the streets and sometimes its a protest and sometimes it’s a party,” Nicholls said. “Today it’s a party.”

It’s actually a two-day party, happening right under the Pride flag on University Avenue on Thursday and Friday. But even before the party, business owner Richard Romano said he was seeing more activity at his Sir & Son clothing store.

“There’s new life coming back and everybody gets to get back together again and enjoy and love and have a great time again,” Romano said.

The theme for this year’s Pride celebration is “Justice with Joy,” a theme filled with emotion for Lopez, who said, “We’re back and it’s just so beautiful and meaningful to be back together in community and I know that our community and I have missed this and we really need a win right now.”