Celebrating San Francisco Pride

Parties, concerts, and the centerpiece parade fill the last weekend in June.

SHARED HISTORY: California is home to not only some of the largest pride festivals in the nation but the world, and every festival organizer who has looked to create a new pride over the last 43 years has looked to our state for inspiration. Our two biggest and most venerable celebrations happen to have more than a few things in common, in fact, like the same start year: 1970. That was the year that followed the Stonewall riots, and the gay communities of Los Angeles and San Francisco were galvanized to stand up and create a celebration that honored diversity, equality, and love. Both festivals, which follow one after the other each June, have had plenty of stories to tell -- LA's party was once in Hollywood but is now calls West Hollywood home, of course -- but the headlining story is forever this: Everyone is welcome. The second headlining story is this: Concerts, festivities, and the mondo parade will be as lively and all-join-in as ever.

THE 2013 CELEBRATION: The dates are Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30. The theme -- Embrace, Encourage, Empower -- will play out in different ways, but bet you'll see much of that spirit in the Sunday, June 30 parade (which kicks off at Market and Beale at 10:30 a.m.). And the grand marshals? Well, when you're as grand as SF Pride you get a half dozen grand marshals; actors Cheyenne Jackson and Alex Newell will be two of the honorees.

OTHER TO-DOS: Outside of the Sunday morning parade, there is much (we're inclined to write that in all capitals, so we think we will: MUCH) to see. Choosing what to do ahead of time is key, whether it is a concert (Raquel Rodriguez and Nina Sky are two of the many performers on the schedule) or a wander by the booths and other festive doings at Civic Center Plaza. Getting info on transit is essential, of course, so if you do anything in advance, do that.

UPDATE: Watch this space on any additional events planned for the Wednesday, June 26 Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop. 8.

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