San Francisco. It’s home to the famous Castro and Market streets. A gay pilgrimage of sorts takes place every year for the pride parade and festival. This year, J.P. and I got to join in on the festivities.
We’ve been out here in Sacramento for a little over a month and it’s been great. We had heard SF was the place to be for pride. And we were not disappointed.
We packed our things and headed for the Megabus that was supposed to leave at 1:15. Standing out in the Sacramento heat at 1:00 was terrible. We had to wait on another bus to transfer people to the bus heading to SF. Meanwhile, we waited. Outside. In 98 degrees. In jeans. One thing I did not realize about SF before visiting is that it is COLD. So J.P. and I were prepared.
The bus finally departed at about 2:00 and we were on our way to the 2nd biggest pride in the U.S. The ride there was relatively uneventful. I took a nap which is usual on any car ride lasting more than 10 minutes and we got to SF at 4:00.
Once there, we decided it was a nice day and we had been on a bus for two hours and that it’d be nice to walk all the way from Townsend between 3rd & 4th to the Marina district where we were staying. An hour later we arrived to the apartment we were staying at. Our friend’s, Adele and John, allowed us to stay at their apartment while they were away for the weekend. In exchange we agreed to take care of their Corgi, Lola. We took a walk to get some food at a nearby restaurant and headed back to relax for a bit. We then decided to take Lola with us on an adventure to find some ice cream. By the time we headed back she was tired and not having the walk. So we carried her. The whole way back.
We got back and relaxed for about an hour then called a cab and headed for the Castro. We were told there were going to be lines. However, these were like queue lines at disney world. After waiting in line for nearly 40 minutes we finally made it into Badlands. Bypassing the bar we squeezed ourselves into the dance floor. I say “dance floor” but there was barely any room to move around, let alone dance. We stayed for a few hours before deciding to retire for the night and rest up for the next day’s festivities.
We woke up and decided to walk to Market Street where the parade was happening and it actually turned out to be a very nice walk. We stopped in Starbucks and shared an iced coffee. We watched as people filed in and out dressed in rainbows. A couple blocks away is Market Street. We walked down the parade route a little ways before deciding to stand in the sun. It was a beautiful day out actually in the 70s. We were told it was actually unseasonably warm. The parade gets started and it is huge!
Thousands of people line the street and as many people are in the parade. It was really a cool sight. So much excitement; so much joy. We started talking to the woman next to us. It was her and her family’s first pride parade and they lived in SF. She was really excited and told us “Standing next to you do was the best decision! We get all the free stuff here!” She asks someone walking how long the parade is and they reply, “Oh very long. We’re number 32 out of 200-some.”
Very long indeed. The sun started to move behind a building which meant we had to move further along the parade route. There we met a lovely woman from Indiana but she had been living in SF for many years. We also met a man from Connecticut who had been living in SF for a few years. We got to talking about pride and marriage and everything. She was really passionate about the topic.
Standing there we got to meet Youtube celebrity DaveyWavey. What started as us shouting at him just to meet him and say hi. Ended with him wanting to interview us for the live broadcast.
The parade began at 10:30 and ended around 3:00. The mix of people marching was awesome to see. Also, being in SF, corporations marched for equality. Apple was by far the largest, followed by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Burger King. It was a great parade and once it was finished we made our way to the festival.
We didn’t know exactly where we were going but we decided to follow the masses to the Civic Center. We arrived and walked around a bit. Hungry we looked at the food places. The lines were so long and it was also hard to find where the line ended because of so many people. We decided to go to a little hole in the way Mexican restaurant. It was cash only luckily we had just enough. Why are there so many places here in California that are cash only? We ended up only staying at the festival a little while longer and decided to leave. We were tired of pushing through the large groups of people and our feet were tired from walking. So we walked back to the apartment.
We got on the Megabus to come back to Sacramento at 9:00 and got back around 10:30. We were burnt to a crisp and tired. There was no tossing and turning we hit the bed and were asleep. It was a great weekend that we will for sure not forget anytime soon!