SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Crews were busy setting up booths and readying Civic Center Plaza Friday night, prepping the space for two days of entertainment and LGBT community engagement.
The nearby Castro neighborhood will welcome tens of thousands of visitors over the weekend.
For many businesses, it will be their biggest weekend of the year.
“We sell way more than normal,” said Justin Barrett, bar manager of Midnight Sun. “Business is probably five to ten times the amount than a normal weekend.”
CONTINUING COVERAGE: SF Pride 2019/Stonewall At 50
The Midnight Sun has nearly doubled its staff and brought in at least three times the amount of alcohol it normally does.
Staff at Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar on 18th Street say they’re prepared to stay open late each night until last call.
The 16th Annual Trans March kicked off Friday evening from Dolores Park and ended in the Tenderloin. It is one of the largest trans pride events in the country.
Ashley Benson is trans and flew from Missouri for her first march.
“Every single community I’ve ever seen here has been welcoming and friendly, and we don’t have that in small town Missouri,” Benson said.
This is the fifth time Diane Alcala is walking.
“It’s important for me, because I believe that trans people need to be free and be living as who they are,” she said.
2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, which sparked the modern gay-rights movement.
“If only Stonewall had corrected everything … moving forward we still have lots and lots of problems and challenges,” said SF Pride Parade board member Bruce Beaudette. “So every year I march in Pride and I march in the Trans March because I want to support change.”
SFPD officers will be highly visible this weekend. The department is reminding Sunday’s pride parade-goers to leave bags at home, allow extra time to get through security at the Civic Center celebration and do not bring alcohol to the venue. There will be no open containers allowed on city streets.
The Pride Parade will start on the Embarcadero and end at Civic Center Plaza and will be streamed online live at cbsSF.com