First-ever Pride Night at Oracle Park well received by Bay Area residents

Movie premieres, popcorn and Pride, Friday marked a first at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

June's Pride Month has been muted again by Covid precautions.

But the first of two movie nights brought people together for fun and entertainment.

"I'm really excited to have some Pride events this year," said a woman named Taylor, who came from San Mateo with two friends.

"I was disappointed there weren't any events last year so it feels good to get back out with people in San Francisco."

The annual parade and festival, held the last weekend in June, were cancelled for the second year in a row.

Organizers started planning movie nights during the winter months.

"Luckily we are unexpectedly heading into a re-opened city but that's not exactly what we were anticipating when we started planning this event a few months ago," said Fred Lopez, Executive Director of SF Pride.

"We really wanted to find a way for folks to do something for Pride that was safe and socially distanced."

For the movie nights June 11 and 12, masks are mandatory, except when eating or drinking.

Capacity is limited to 10,000 and tickets are sold in pods, spaced safely from each other.

People with proof of vaccination have more seating options, including on-field space reserved for them.

Movie nights don't begin to rival the signature parade, with 50,000 marchers, 100,000 spectators plus another 700,000 revelers enjoying the full weekend festival.

"And it’s more than a giant party," said Lopez, "it's an opportunity for us to be with family and to see ourselves in those around us, central to our city's identity."

Appropriately, the first-night movie choice, "In The Heights", is about another vibrant, diverse community- New York's Washington Heights.

"We commemorate the progress made in the fight for full equality and we honor the heroes who have been part of this mission over the decades," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, appearing at the Oracle Park podium before the film started.  

SF Pride is now 51 years old, and Frameline, the LGBTQ International Film Festival is 45.

"This is amazing that we can celebrate pride and show everybody a fantastic film, this will be a night to remember," said James Woolley, Executive Director of Frameline.

The festival teamed with Pride and the SF Giants to score the venue.  

"We're stronger together and thrilled the three organizations could partner together to just bring on something amazing," said Woolley.

And at almost 11,000 square feet, the scoreboard at Oracle has one of the largest video screens in the country.

"Even if we don't have a formal parade that's fine," said Jomo Thorne of Oakland.

"Just to go out with my friends and enjoy, that's enough for me."

Dykes on Bikes, San Francisco's iconic motorcycle club, launched the evening, rumbling onto the field and circling the warning track, to cheers from the crowd.

This year's Pride Theme: All in this Together.

"After a really challenging year for many of us, this is an opportunity for us to show that we've got each other’s backs," said Lopez.

Saturday's movie screening is "Everybody's Talking About Jamie", a coming-of-age musical about a London teenager who dreams of being a drag queen.

It shows at 8 pm, and tickets start at $20.