Massive crowd expected for San Francisco's 44th annual Pride Parade

Byby Lyanne Melendez and Sergio Quintana KGO logo
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Trans March kicks of SF Pride weekend
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Trans March kicks of SF Pride weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is getting ready for the 44th Pride Parade on Sunday. Organizers say last year's event drew 1.5 million people, the largest crowd ever.

This year, more than a million people are expected to join in the celebrations at Civic Center and watch the parade.

A pre-celebration called the Trans March kicked off at Dolores Park Friday afternoon. Friday night, a portion of Turk Street was renamed in honor of longtime San Francisco transgender performer Vicki Marlane, who passed away in 2011.

It's the first street in San Francisco named after a transgender person.

The honor was significant for a portion of the LGBT community that has not always been well accepted.

"It's inspirational, especially hearing that in the first pride marches in San Francisco, gay men were throwing fruit at the trans women," San Francisco resident Jenni Dillon said.

On Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., and on Sunday from 10:30 to 6:30 p.m., the annual Pride Celebration will be held in the Civic Center Plaza. The highlight is the Pride Parade on Sunday.

The Dyke March and other festivities will be held Saturday. The pre-event festivities will begin at 4 p.m. and the march will start at 6 p.m.

"We're looking for 1.5 million people to participate in our two-day celebration at Civic Center and the parade," San Francisco Pride spokesperson Gary Virginia said.

TV talk show host Ross Mathews is one of the Grand Marshals. "I'm so happy to be here. I got in last night from New York on ABC doing The View and I woke up this morning and I thought, I'm in San Francisco, this is my climate, these are my people. I'm thrilled to be here," Mathews said.

Mathews will share the spotlight with others, but says he'll be the best at waving to the crowd. "I've been practicing because the trick is you can't ignore that side of the road and you can't ignore this side of the road, so you have to wave and whip, wave and whip. Do you understand?" Mathews said.

And like most events in San Francisco, there is a bit of controversy this year. Uber, the transportation company, is offering free rides for couples who want to get married and some think it's inappropriate. "The fact that they're tying in to business with a movement that I feel should be about liberation is troubling to me," San Francisco resident Xochitlquetzal Mochipa.ce said.

Rides for the happy couples will be offered Saturday from 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

For a full list of street closures and other events click here.