County Admin. Center Raises San Diego's Pride Flag for First Time Ever as Parade Goes Virtual

In normal times, San Diego’s Pride 2020 parade would have taken to the streets of Hillcrest this Saturday, but due to the pandemic, the celebration will be virtual this year

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San Diego Pride Week will culminate with a live virtual parade and festival this weekend, but first, the city’s famous Pride flag was be raised – for the first time ever – over a prominent building as a sign of support for the LGBTQ community.

The colorful San Diego Pride flag was hoisted at the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway at 10:30 a.m. Friday. The flying of the flag represents the county’s “commitment to equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and queer communities,” an announcement of the event read.

The ceremony was attended by San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and San Diego Pride leaders, including Pride executive director Fernando Lopez. When the sun goes down Friday, right around 8 p.m., the administration center will light up in rainbow colors to further “Shine Bright With Pride.”

This years pride looks a bit different due to the coronavirus pandemic. NBC 7's Steven Luke has more.

Like all summer tentpole events in San Diego, all in-person gatherings for Pride 2020 were canceled this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pride Week would’ve been this week, and the event’s main attraction – the Pride Parade in the heart of Hillcrest – would’ve taken place July 18.

The parade typically draws huge crowds and big business to Hillcrest, and an energy of positivity and support for the LGBTQ community that makes it a classic and beloved San Diego event.

Ryan Bedrosian, owner of Rich’s, a nightclub on University Avenue in Hillcrest, would have been preparing for his busiest weekend of the year but without an in-person Pride Parade, it’s a big loss in business.

Still, Bedrosian said the virtual Pride offerings this year will still highlight the spirit of the event and the Hillcrest community will still unite – though on a much smaller scale – for the important weekend.

“I think it’s great that Pride has stepped up and done a virtual event,” Bedrosian said. “A lot of our DJs and entertainers can still be able to showcase their talents and give everybody in the community a little piece of Pride and celebrate at home.”

Bedrosian said several businesses in Hillcrest have created small outdoor spaces so people can still celebrate Pride a little bit, with safety measures and social distancing in place.

“There's no way to make an in-person 300,000-person parade and festival feel the same on a virtual event, but what we can do is offer an amazing platform,” Jen Labarbera, education and advocacy manager for San Diego Pride, told NBC 7 last weekend as Pride Week kicked off.

Labarbera said that even without the crowds, the lessons learned in planning for this most unconventional San Diego Pride celebration will serve the organization well in the years to come.

For more details on San Diego Pride’s live online weekend celebration, click here.

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