About a quarter-million people are expected this year during the 44th Annual San Diego Pride Festival, a three-day celebration of the city's LGBT community.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at a news conference Thursday the SD Pride Festival — which features one of the largest Pride parades on the west coast, a music festival with headliners TLC and JoJo, a variety of workshops and more — is an important economic driver for the city.
The entire festival creates jobs and contributes millions of dollars to the city's infrastructure, the mayor said.
Pride organizers anticipate a 65 percent increase in ticket sales this year, they said at the press conference.
Faulconer said he will march in Saturday's San Diego Pride Parade, the largest single-day civic event in the region.
"San Diego has really proven time and time again that we can put partisanship aside and that LGBT and human rights is a non-partisan issue and we can be here with our mayor and business owners is so important for people to be able to see," SD Pride Executive Director Fernando Lopez said.
Organizers are also working with the San Diego Police, San Diego Fire-Rescue departments and volunteers to ensure everybody's safety.
Police say security will tight with undercover detectives patrolling the streets.
Businesses in the area have also beefed up security measures.
"We triple our security team, we do bag checks, so if anyone is coming in with backpacks they do have to have them checked, and we have all of the metal detector wands," said Chris Shaw, the owner of Urban Mo's. "We are checking everybody. We are doing our due diligence to make sure everyone is safe and secure."
The event kicks off Friday with a rally recognizing the Spirit of Stonewall, believed to be the origin of the Pride movement. The rally boasts a lineup of LGBT leaders and influencers.
Saturday's SD Pride Parade will march through the streets of Hillcrest, starting at the Pride Flag on Normal Avenue before traveling down University Avenue, Sixth Avenue and Balboa Avenue. The parade ends at Quince Drive.
On Saturday and Sunday, a two-day music festival will bring big names to Balboa Park as about 100 artists perform across four stages.
Topping the list this year is TLC, the 90s group behind hits like "Waterfalls" and "No Scrubs." See the rest of the lineup here.
SD Pride has much smaller roots than what is seen in the city today. What has become a non-profit organization to support the local LGBT community started with a small Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade in 1974, according to SD Pride.
SD Pride has several other events scheduled throughout the weekend. Visit SDPride.org for more.