Post-parade Pride party continues into the night

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Following Sunday’s San Francisco Pride parade, the party continued into the night in the Castro District.

People were bursting with joy and excitement on the streets and sidewalks. 

It wasn’t hard to spot colorful displays of Pride and rainbows in every form. 

“Celebratin’ us openly being gay and lesbian and queers and whatever we want to be,” said Coco Jones of Berkeley. “Today is about equality and being around people just like me.” 

“It’s kind of magical. It’s like everything that you dream of for pride is kind of back now which, after not having that for two years, has been really amazing,” said Joe Ayers of Sarasota, Fla.  

For the first time, Ayers marched with the LGBT Catholics in the parade.

“It was incredible! I was Catholic growing up so feeling like I can kind of marry those two identities now is like a full-circle moment for me,” he said.  

The return of Pride also meant big business for bars and restaurants that struggled through the pandemic. Just about everywhere you looked establishments had lines out the door. 

Gyro Express at 18th and Castro Streets saw consistent lines the whole day. By the early evening, an owner said the shop had already taken more than 2,000 orders. On a normal weekday it usually does 1,000. 

“It makes us all happy, you know? We get our people back, people are happy so we are happy,” said co-partner Cem Bulutoglu. 

Bulutoglu said business is down from pre-pandemic prides but much better than the prior two years. 

“I love that everything is so happy and everyone is so together,” said Lizzy Bulla of Garden Grove. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Pride stage shut down after person sprays chemical into crowd

Still, many people said they felt a heaviness from Friday’s Supreme Court ruling and the huge crowds made some think about recent mass shootings across the country.  

“All those shootings. All the — everything. It’s a little scary to know that, like yeah, we’re out here to have a good time and everything but it’s still in the back of my head that something could possibly happen and I don’t like that,” said Kenneth Bronson of San Francisco. 

San Francisco police officers were out in full force — visible on just about every corner as thousands celebrated all things Pride.

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