SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – As San Francisco drops its indoor mask mandate, hope for returning to somewhat of a normal continues as large city events will return this year.
San Francisco Pride, which usually draws millions of people to the city, will finally return this year with in-person celebrations and the big parade for the first time since the pandemic began.
San Francisco Pride plans to come back bigger and better this year after cancellations of its large in-person events over the last two years.
KRON4 first reported on the return of the in-person pride parade and weekend celebrations in January but now businesses and city leaders are gearing up as COVID restrictions start to dwindle.
“For a lot of our community, Pride is bigger than any holiday of the year you know? It’s a time when we can be free,” Jolene Linsangan said.
Jolene Linsangan owns a queer bar, Jolene’s, in the Mission District. She says San Francisco Pride not only embraces its community but it also brings in business for queer spaces, something that’s desperately needed since the beginning of the pandemic.
“It’s really going to help us out. We lost a year and even without the pandemic, it’s really hard for our spaces to survive and so that one time of year which is the biggest celebration is where we get a lot of our income to stay afloat,” Linsangan said.
In addition to planning special events at Jolene’s over Pride weekend, Linsangan also wants to take on an even larger production this year as executive director of the women’s stage.
“That means the world to me. Knowing that I’ve been producing women’s events for 15+ years now I get to really showcase the people I’ve been working with,” Linsangan said.
The two-day celebration and rally will take place on June 25 and 26. While a full schedule of events isn’t out yet, city Supervisor Rafael Mandelman says the city will continue to adjust as needed, but he’s hopeful for the Pride show that San Francisco know-how to throw.
“We have to be adaptable and resilient as we’ve been these last couple of years. I don’t think we know exactly what COVID 19 holds in store for this year but if we are in fact moving into the endemic phase of COVID, we’re hoping it will feel a lot like pride did back before,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said.