West Hollywood city officials expected more than 400,000 people to line Santa Monica Boulevard Sunday for the 39th annual Pride Parade, which celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
The parade began at Crescent Heights Boulevard and headed west to Robertson Boulevard, with more than 125 entries, including floats, bands, marching community advocacy groups and convertibles with honored guests. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a possible rival for the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, were expected to attend.
Organizations United Together West, a coalition of organizations that are representative of the communities they serve, was named as community grand marshal in recognition of its ability to unite and support communities on a grassroots level.
At noon, the parade stopped for a "Silent Celebration," where the crowd was asked to fall silent for a minute to remember individuals who fought for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, those who died from AIDS and breast, prostate, testicular or colon cancer, and "all of our loved ones who have passed on," according to information posted on the event's website.
The parade has been held every year since 1970, except for 1973 when infighting over crude displays the previous two years left the organizers in disarray. The parade was held in Hollywood until 1979, when it moved to its current location of West Hollywood.
Santa Monica Boulevard will be closed from Fairfax Avenue to Doheny Drive from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Parking will be allowed on West Hollywood residential streets without permits until 7 a.m. Monday. All meter parking will be enforced.
The parade is part of the three-day LA Pride Celebration, which began Friday.