San Francisco Pride Week & Parade: Part party, part protest

- Businesses in San Francisco's Castro and float builders are busy getting ready for all the people who are expected to flood the city for this weekend's parade. 

From outward appearances the Castro is relatively calm on a Wednesday night, but KTVU went behind the scenes to give a sneak preview of what to expect starting with the parade. 

At a waterfront warehouse, crews are busy putting the final touches on the floats they've built for the 48th annual Pride celebration and parade. 

The floats are whimsical in design, but clear in their message about inclusion. 

"Pride is political. It's a political parade. It started political. Even though it's more of a party now than it used to be, it still has political undertones," said Stephanie Mufson, a master float builder.

The celebration is undoubtedly a party and a protest. 

Disco played at Finn Town Tavern in the Castro. It sets the backdrop for the owners' homage to past and present iconic figures of the LGBTQ community. 

A cocktail named 'Tails' of the City is a tribute to Armistad Maupin. The owners say Pride is remembrance and resistance. 

"The fight is still there. It's a combination like I said; celebratory, reflective but also we still have a lot of work to do to make sure everyone has equal rights," said Rick Hamer, co-owner of Finn Town. 

He anticipates business will be up as much as 40 percent compared to a normal weekend. He says visitors from as far away as Europe are in town to celebrate. 

"It's really important. It helps us. when you look at the calendar year for business, this is one of the top three," Hamer illustrates. 

Pamela Peniston, co-founder of the Queer Cultural Center, is being honored by Pride celebration organizers for promoting the art work of LGBTQ artists. 

She will be in the parade as the recipient of the Audrey Joseph Entertainment Award. 

"I want the artist to know i'm there for them and that I'm trying to create safe space," she said. 

Meanwhile, back at the warehouse, a painter from France says he's helped build floats for Pride celebrations in Paris and Berlin. 

This is his first San Francisco Pride. 

"As you can see, everything is coming together, so it's very exciting," Pierre Clauzin said. 

Crews have built 35 floats in three weeks. They hope to have it all done by Friday, line them up outside the warehouse Saturday, then early Sunday morning, the floats will be moved to the starting point of the parade at Market and Beale. 

Organizers estimate that up to a million people will be attending this weekend's Pride festivities in the city. 

City officials are urging revelers to sign up for Pride-specific emergency alerts: SF Alert System sends text messages and instructions following police and fire emergencies, as well as traffic disruptions and disasters. Users can sign up by texting Pride SF to 888 777

Click here: Full SF-Pride celebration schedule 

 

 

 

 

 

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