Thousands upon thousands headed to Hillcrest to celebrate the 2013 San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and street festival. NBC 7's Brandi Powell speaks with spectators and some special celebrity guests.
Thousands of people flocked to Hillcrest Saturday for the 2013 San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and annual street party.
As an endless stream of colorful floats cruised the San Diego streets, thousands upon thousands of spectators cheered from the sidelines, holding signs and flags in support of LGBT pride.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Freedom to Love and Marry” – an appropriate slogan given last month’s Supreme Court decisions that brought same-same marriage back to the state of California.
SD Pride organizer Fernando Lopez said he’s expecting to break attendance records at this year’s event, far surpassing the 200,000 people that attended last year’s festivities.
He also said the energy feels different this year, since there are historic same-sex milestones to celebrate.
“So many people have worked so hard for so many years in the struggle for equality. We’re coming off of two historic court cases that have brought back the freedom to love and marry to the state of California, so there’s a lot to celebrate here at San Diego Pride,” Lopez told NBC 7. “The energy out here today is just kinetic. You can feel it.”
Parade attendee Tonya May was excited to partake in the celebration.
“It’s actually the best year ever because now we can get married and it’s totally amazing. It’s the most amazing thing ever,” May told NBC 7.
Local Candice Cooley said this is a pride celebration that she will never forget.
“I’ve been standing on this corner [at this parade] for the past 13 years and I finally found the love of my life, and I’m so excited that I get to marry her. This is the best day,” said Cooley.
The weekend pride party also brought a couple of celebrity sighting on Saturday.
Singer-songwriter and philanthropist LaToya Jackson was a celebrity grand marshal at the parade in Hillcrest and happily waved at spectators along the route.
She told NBC 7 she was thrilled be involved in San Diego Pride.
“We have to bring awareness, and we have to show peace, and we have to show justice,” Jackson told NBC 7.
“Star Trek” actor, author and social activist George Takei was also a grand marshal at the parade, along with his husband, Brad Takei.
The actor delivered a speech to the crowd and later told NBC 7 that he was honored to be in San Diego for this major celebration.
“We want equality for everyone – our work isn’t finished yet. This weekend we celebrate, with joy and with pride. I love San Diego,” said Takei.
San Diego resident Jenny Mozo said the parade was very special for her, as it was the first time her family has joined her at the parade.
"My sisters are here with me, it's the first time they've come to join me and my girlfriend in the parade," said Mozo.
The parade was also special for Navy servicemembers, who were given the green light last week from the United States Navy Region Southwest to wear their uniforms at the celebration.