Early attendance numbers for the 2018 San Diego Pride parade and festival this past weekend are on track to break previously held records, a spokesperson for San Diego Pride said Monday. A spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department said San Diego Pride was the largest single day event in the city, in terms of attendance.
Parade numbers were estimated to be between 315,000 to 350,000 thousand participants and spectators, San Diego Pride spokesperson Cal Strode told the Los Angeles Blade, with 250 contingents set to march, the largest amount of participants to date.
Additionally, early indications are that festival ticket sales were 72% higher and attendance 40% higher than the 2017 festival, with the actual numbers between 40,000 to 60,000 festival-goers. According to both Strode and the police department, the San Diego Pride celebration is on par with the city’s renowned San Diego Comic-Con. That pop culture event is expected to draw over the 130,000 tourists to the SD Convention Center from July 19 to July 22.
This year’s theme, “Persist with Pride,” played a role in the increased attendance, given the uncertainty in the nation’s political landscape, the upcoming midterm elections, as well as a plethora of anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” bills and anti-LGBT rhetoric, Strode said. He also pointed out that the Interfaith blessing prior to the parades kick off was also well very received.
The last time Pride numbers exceeded all expectations—especially for the festival—was 2013, the same year marriage equality was made legal in California, Strode said. The final numbers should be available at the end of this week.
Reporting by the staff of the Los Angeles Blade & wire service reports