San Francisco Pride: Preparing for the city's biggest event of the year

As dozens of rainbow flags blew in the wind up and down the street, enthusiasm for Pride Month was evident all along Castro Street and throughout the neighborhood. Businesses, visitors, and residents are all getting ready for one of the biggest events of the year in the city. 

Event organizers say the activities that run Saturday and Sunday will likely see a massive turn-out. Over one million people are expected to attend the event, which is one of San Francisco’s largest events of the year. 

The entire month of June is known as Pride Month. It culminates with a parade and a march down Market Street to the Civic Center across from City Hall. 

This year’s theme for Pride is ‘Beacon of Love’.

Nguyen Pham is President this year of SF Pride. He welcomed members of the media to the LGBTQ Community Center on Market Street, introducing some of the parade marshals. Pham said, "We couldn’t be more exhausted or more excited, or more thrilled or more fulfilled’.

As for the size and impact of the Pride parade, Pham said, "We are the city’s largest annual event by attendance. We bring in an economic impact of roughly half a billion dollars through hospitality, retail, bars, and restaurants."

rainbow retail items for SF Pride

Rainbows are standard attire during Pride Month in San Francisco

The weekend is expected to bring in thousands to celebrate the 54th year of the LGBTQ+ community parade. Pham said, "‘There are expected to be over 225 contingents, representing 50,000 marchers, and we’re expecting a million to join us marching on Market Street.’ 

Pride flags hang from the ceiling at Cliffs Variety in the Castro

Owner Martha Asten of Cliff’s Variety on Castro Street says this week's big sellers are anything and everything rainbow themed.  

Cliff’s sells everything from hardware to housewares, feather boas and every type of rainbow flag available. Asten said, "There’s a flag for everything it seems." Over a dozen different types of pride representation flags hung from the ceiling of the variety store, with descriptions of what each represents. 

Xander Briare is with the SF LGBTQ Community Center. She does safety intervention work as well as offers advocacy and substance use education. She shared that she’ll be visiting bars and nightclubs to offer resources this weekend. Briare said, "There’s so much that goes into keeping our community safe, whether it’s trauma informed education, to supplies that we distribute to the legislation that we pass that could criminalize communities."

Customers shopping for Pride decorations

Despite doom loop theories about San Francisco, Asten of Cliff’s shared, she doesn’t believe it will have an effect on Pride, saying there’s too much love for the City. She said, "Come back to San Francisco, we are here for you, we’re happy to see you, we’re welcoming, do not be afraid of the city at all.’ 

New events this year include an 18-year-old plus event in partnership with the Folsom Street events and a cannabis consumption area called the ‘Hot Box’. 

The biggest rainbow at Pride will be LED light beams that will project into the sky from the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street to Castro Street. The rainbow beam will be seen from many parts of the City and the bay. 

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at