As pandemic forces festivities online, San Diegans get creative to celebrate Pride

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SAN DIEGO – Local pride celebrations looked different this year, but that didn’t stop San Diegans from finding their own ways to celebrate.

One group organized a bike ride along the parade route, drawing about 50 participants.

“It feels like this is like one silver lining of this 2020 year, which has been kind of a disastrous year on a number of fronts,” bike ride organizer Arthur Atkinson said. “Having these special moments to kind of look forward to can really help create a positive attitude, which is what I think we all needed right now.”

They ended up joining with the Chrome Divas of Oceanside who also were riding along the route.

“We couldn’t have planned it better,” Atkinson said. “They were going on their bicycle ride at 10:45 and we were meeting at 10:30 so they kind of ushered the way for us which was really special.”

San Diego Pride organizers took the historic parade march through Hillcrest online and began with a slide show of photos from 46 years of the event, which started in 1974. The San Diego Women’s Chorus followed with a virtual singing of the national anthem.

An interfaith blessing, with clergy from various denominations, gave their blessings.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave a few opening remarks, saying, “We can work and lift each other up and get through this pandemic. We stand united in our battle against bigotry and hate. I wish all of you a happy virtual parade.”

Irene Herrig with Chrome Divas of Oceanside has been riding in the Pride Parade since 1994.

“We just took the route we normally would have taken,” Herrig said. “To me, it was still the thrill of here’s another year, another parade and I get to do it.”

While things might not have been the same as celebrations of years past, the flags still flew and the camaraderie remained the same.

“It was a little sad that we didn’t get to see all our friends, all the different floats, the festival where we always go in there and have a great time where everybody joins together,” Herrig said, “but this year, it is different. But people are still applauding, they’re still yelling and screaming, even if we just pull down the street with our bikes and honk our horns, they’re still waving and cheering us on.”

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