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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego Pride Parade celebration goes virtual amidst pandemic

The online parade began with a slideshow of photos from 46 years of the parade, which started in 1974.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Pride Live, the online pride parade and festival, kicked off a day-long event on Saturday featuring elected officials, community organizations and businesses.

Because of the pandemic, organizers took the historic Pride Parade march through Hillcrest, online. It began at 10 a.m. with a slideshow of photos from 46 years of the parade, which started in 1974.

The San Diego Women's Chorus followed with a virtual singing of the national anthem. An interfaith blessing, with clergy from various denominations, gave their blessings.

“We have hundreds of interviews, elected officials remarks and more of just us, it's going to be the LGBT community in people's living rooms, it’s literally the most authentic PRIDE we’ve ever done because it’s all our community,” said San Diego Pride Director of Philanthropy Sarafina Scapicchio, who says the organization is operating out of its reserves to put on the event.

San Diego Pride hopes to reach its 50,000 dollar fundraising goal to support their year-around program and services.

"We've never cancelled Pride in over 40 years, but we did lose a quarter of our income for the year, so we lost about 1 million dollars,” said Scapicchio, who said she turned from activist to video producer to get the live stream to fruition.

The virtual event had remarks from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer for his final Pride in office.

Scapicchio says over 5,000 people tuned in online by noon Saturday, and the entire live stream will be available for the next three months.

"I'm actually really sad, I knew it was going to be different, but I still wanted it to be a little bit more you know a little bit more celebratory,” said Elizabeth Kay, celebrating Pride in Hillcrest.

Kay came dressed in tie-dye outfit with “peace and love” written on her shirt.

“Then we got matching fanny packs and matching masks,” Kay said.

Kay and her friends had brunch at Gossip Grill as University Avenue lit up in colors of the rainbow.

 “I'm just glad these restaurants are open for us to come, and we wanted to come and support them because they are having a hard time,” said Nicole Martin, celebrating Pride with her mother.

Kat Halberson, barista at Oliver Coffea on University said the business saw a slight uptick and just added new tables and chairs outside for outdoor dining along with their signature vegan chocolate chip cookie.

“We've seen more foot traffic around here, there has been a lot of honking," Halberson said.

Janine Lauritzen traveled from the Bay Area to spend Pride with her daughter Nicole.

“It was interesting to watch the history that was presented online, and then we came down here, but it’s not the same as when there are 80,000 people lining the street, the feeling of love is the same, but it’s not the same,” Lauritzen said.

In 1994, the San Diego Women Motorcycle Riders first appeared to officially kick off the parade, which usually had about 350,000 participants and 200 pride floats, along with 400 volunteers.

This year, about 12 motorcycles from the group took off from the site of the Hillcrest pride flag at University Avenue and Normal Street.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave a few opening remarks, saying, "We can work and lift each other up and get through this pandemic. We stand united in our battle against bigotry and hate. I wish all of you a happy virtual parade."

The winners of the 2020 Spirit of Stonewall Awards, announced at a rally Friday evening, were honored. They are:

  • Champion of Pride: Bixby Marino-Kibbee is a licensed clinical social worker who is the program director for the Center for Gender-Affirming Care at Rady Children's Hospital
  • Community Grand Marshal: Essential workers
  • Stonewall Service Award: Casa Arcoris, a shelter for LGBT+ migrants in Tijuana
  • Friend of Pride: David and Jessica Mier of the Uptown community who have supported San Diego's diverse LGBTQ+ community
  • Stonewall Philanthropy Award: John Ealy, the owner of a restaurant group that includes a local San Diego restaurant in Mission Hills, Harley Gray Kitchen & Bar
  • Community Service: Damon J. Shearer, president of the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition
  • Light of Pride: The Reverend Doctor J. Lee Hill, Jr.
  • Inspirational Relationship: Joyce Marieb, Ph.D. and Linda Barufaldi, D.C., who were married in 2008 and are currently in their 48th year of relationship

    The pride event included Adam Lambert, GiGi Goode and Margaret Cho who shared messages of support. Indie band Chaos Chaos, Azjah, Mila Jam and others were scheduled to perform later Saturday.

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