San Diego Pride returns with eclectic face-to-face and virtual celebrations
San Diego-It’s been more than a year since the last face-to-face iteration of San Diego Pride. But starting this weekend, some familiar events have returned to the community triumphantly.
The organizers have planned nearly 40 events for Pride 2021, including art exhibitions, cycling, pool parties and parades throughout the week. The first one, called Pride: Together Again-Art Exhibition, was held at the San Diego Pride Office in North Park on Friday.
But unlike previous years, there will be no parades or festivals on the schedule.
San Diego Pride executive director Fernando Lopez (Fernando Lopez) said that the non-profit organization does not have enough time to plan these two activities, which usually bring 250,000 people to San Diego. Nonetheless, as California lifted pandemic restrictions last month and the number of local vaccinations increased, Lopez said the organization knew it was “being safer to start bringing people together.”
“We know we made the right choice, and we are bringing people together in these smaller outdoor safety events in San Diego County,” Lopez said.
Friday’s art exhibition was attended by a large number of people, and it was a welcome sight for many years after the celebration was only held online.
Ben Mendoza, who participated in the art exhibition, said: “We see people queuing in, which warms my heart.”
Last November, during the pandemic, Mendoza and his partner Mark Maddox married in front of the San Diego Pride Office. The couple agreed that Pride is not just a series of events, but a step forward for members of the LGBTQ community.
Maddox said: “How can we create open and affirmative spaces and realize that this is an opportunity for a person to be outdoors and in the community and to be with people who reflect their identity.”
One of the planned large events is Flexible community march, Scheduled to be held at Balboa Park at 10 am on Sunday morning.
Lopez said: “We started at Balboa Park. We are entering the center of Hillcrest on that flagpole and asking people to support local LGBTQ local businesses.”
The full list of San Diego Pride Week program activities is available online sdpride.org.