Oakland celebrates pride with parade, festival

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland and Bay Area residents gathered Sunday to celebrate the ninth annual Oakland Pride parade and festival.

Organizers expected more than 1,500 families at the festival, with more people attending the free parade beforehand. The Oakland Fire Department and Kaiser Permanente were among the local and national organizations that took part in the parade, which featured floats and performances including hula dancers, a marching band, and even Mayor Libby Schaff on a snail-shaped, flame-shooting float.

"It's great to see the support of different groups and businesses," said Jace Klingelhafer, who attended the Oakland parade for the first time.

The city's festival was more family-oriented and relaxed than its San Francisco counterpart, said several attendees. For many, it was a chance to express pride in their identity and be a part of the larger LGBTQ community.

"We're here to show that we're not afraid to be ourselves and live our lives," said Chris Williams, who dressed for the event as a "gay sith," a reference to the Star Wars franchise.

The parade began at 11 a.m. at Broadway and 14th Street and moved toward Broadway and 20th Street, where the main entrance to the festival was located. The festival, which runs until 7 p.m., hosts various food vendors and sponsors as well as four stages with live entertainment.

Oakland Pride began in 2008 to celebrate the cultures and diversity of the LGBTQ community in Oakland and the East Bay. Find more information on the Oakland Pride Parade.

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