Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pride Weekend 2013

As one of the "high holy days" for gays, Pride this year did not disappoint.  The U.S. Supreme Court rulings this week sent the celebration into the stratosphere, of course.  The Court declared a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional on equal protection grounds, giving legally married same-sex couples the same federal rights as heterosexual married couples. In a second case, the Court took no stand on the merits of California's ban on same-sex marriage, leaving a lower court's decision that overturned Proposition 8 as the last word. 

San Francisco City Hall
(that's so gay . . . .!)
So, in San Francisco this weekend, 1.5 million people (that's 1,500,000 people) filled the streets for the city's 43rd annual Pride parade.  It was the largest in the city's history -- with half a million (that's 500,000 people) more than last year.

For those of you who have never experienced the San Francisco Pride parade, it should be on your bucket list.  And apparently a lot of people checked it off their bucket list this year.

San Francisco Civic Center after the Pride Parade
For us this year the festivities included friends Joe and Francisco visiting from Los Angeles, dinner with Jeff and Eric on Friday night, and a backyard barbecue and friends renewing their vows on Saturday afternoon. 

The pace then picked up on Saturday night.  Saturday of Pride weekend is known as Pink Saturday and the Castro is the epicenter for the party.  (The Pride parade on Sunday is downtown and the celebration is at the Civic Center.)   We started the evening with drinks with friends at Ken's store (closed, of course).  We realized several years ago that the store provides the perfect place to enjoy drinks with friends in a comfortable setting while watching the crowds surge past the windows.  The media reported an estimated 75,000 people came to the Castro on Saturday night, so there was plenty to watch.

Cornelia was there, of course, and LOVED it. (Note to grandparents:  Please don't fret.  We left the Castro long before dark and before most of the party-goers had arrived.) "Out! out! out!" She wanted to be out of the store and in the crowds.  I took her on three walks through the Castro.  She loved the rainbow balloons everywhere, the pink and sparkly dresses (on the boys and the girls of course), the dance music blaring at every intersection and the excited crowds.  On my shoulders she could see everything and kept repeating "Yaaaayyyy!" and wishing everyone "happy pride!" (and, yes, there is nothing more adorable than a two-year-old wishing people "happy pride!"). 

Pink Saturday in the Castro
Sunday morning we planned to walk in the parade with a gay parents organization.  Unfortunately, after waiting two hours for the group to take its turn in the parade and realizing that it was not going to be our turn for some time, we decided to head to the Civic Center for the real party.  Since our staging location for the parade was right on the parade route, Cornelia saw a lot of the parade and was very entertained.  Although she was mostly obsessed with getting her hands on her own balloon.  Fortunately another parent in the staging area had a bag of balloons so she finally got one.   

Cornelia is figuring out how to get her own balloon.

Waiting for a turn in the parade.
At Civic Center we made our way through the crowds with our stroller -- loaded with diapers, snacks, water, video camera and a zonked-out toddler -- to the playground.  (Note:  This is quite a change from our approach to the festivities at the Civic Center several years ago.)  The playground is completely fenced off and only parents and children are allowed in.  (No velvet rope, but an exclusive crowd nonetheless.)  Once inside it was like an oasis of family-friendly sanity in the middle of the insanity of the 1.5 million revelers.  Ken and I both commented that if we had known it existed we would have had a kid years ago.  Ken's sentiments changed a bit when he figured out they weren't serving beer in the playground. 

All in all, we had a wonderful pride weekend.

Pride Weekend is exhausting!
(But she's hanging on to that balloon!)