100,000 watch San Diego LGBT Pride Parade

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Gay Pride Festival, LGBT

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SAN DIEGO -- About 100,000 spectators were on hand Saturday as the annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade stepped off at 11 a.m. in Hillcrest.

More than 190 entrants, some waving rainbow flags, took part in the 1.1- mile parade through the heart of San Diego's gay community. The parade headed west on University Avenue from its start at Normal Street, took a left on Sixth Avenue and headed south to the end at Laurel Street in Balboa Park.

This year's parade highlights included U.S. Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning -- the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service branch -- leading the military contingent as an honorary grand marshal.

The San Diego Padres had a contingent in the parade for the first time. The Padres were involved in a controversy earlier this season when the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus attempted to sing the national anthem before a game and was drowned out by a prerecorded song. The Padres later apologized for the incident, blaming human error.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was an honorary grand marshal. He was joined by several other elected officials, political candidates, a law enforcement contingent, civic organizations, nonprofit groups, city school officials and the Pride Youth Marching Band.

A two-day music festival began as the parade stepped off. The featured performer, Kesha, was scheduled to take to the main stage at about 8 p.m. tonight.

The San Diego Police Department provided extensive security at the parade and reported no major incidents.

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