In-Person Gatherings for San Diego Pride 2020 Canceled

The large-scale event – which takes place every July in the heart of San Diego’s Hillcrest community – is finding a way to go virtual

Raising of the Hillcrest Pride Flag - 2012
San Diego Pride Lambda Archives of San Diego

San Diego’s beloved Pride celebration will not take place this summer – at least not in the traditional, in-person, mass gathering sense.

San Diego Pride announced Thursday that “all in-person gatherings scheduled for July 2020 will not take place as planned,” due to “the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The health and safety of all must come first and foremost,” San Diego Pride’s announcement read. “Given the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale events such as Pride Parades and Festivals are simply not possible and pose too much of a risk to public health and safety.”

The cancellation of Pride comes just days after the San Diego County Fair – another summertime staple in San Diego – announced it would cancel its 2020 event, also due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC 7 had reached out to San Diego Pride earlier this week about the possible cancellation of the annual parade and festival in the heart of Hillcrest.

The large-scale event – which typically lands in the middle of the city’s eventful month of July – was set to happen on July 18 and July 19.

San Diego Pride executive director Fernando Zweifach Lopez, said the governor’s latest announcements this week “show us a world where mass gatherings of any kind are not healthy or safe to conduct.”

San Diego Pride has been around since 1974, with a mission to support the LGBTQ community.

Lopez said the celebration is deeply meaningful to the community.

“Pride brings us together in times of protest and times of celebration. Pride helps connect us to community and our found family. Pride gives us access to life-saving direct services and provides grant funding to our local and global LGBTQ community,” he said.

And, really, “pride” isn’t canceled. It lives in the hearts of San Diegans and communities across the globe who support the LGBTQ community.

“Pride is not canceled. In-person mass gatherings are canceled,” Lopez noted. “Nothing can strip away our pride. Nothing can deny us the pride our community has built inside ourselves, our community, or the broader world. We will still find ways to raise our Pride flags, celebrate the vibrancy of our community, and bring to light the issues that our movement still faces.”

Nothing can strip away our pride.

Fernando Z. Lopez, San Diego Pride

Lopez said San Diego Pride is working with the InterPride network to launch a virtual Global Pride, set to be held on June 27, which will bring together Pride celebrations from across the world, digitally.

The digital event will last 24 hours.

“Additionally, as we have moved all of our programs to virtual spaces, we are currently investigating ways those safe and remote options will allow us to celebrate Pride and to continue to bring to light the issues that still impact our community and our movement. We will update the community as those plans take shape,” San Diego Pride said.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, in a prepared statement to Pride, said he believes this is “the best move for the health and safety of our LGBTQ+ community and allies.”

“I encourage everyone to participate in their virtual celebrations and remember that love will always prevail,” the mayor added.

San Diego Pride said its decision to cancel the in-person events was also supported by other local elected officials including Congresswoman Susan A. Davis; Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins; Assemblymember Todd Gloria; Supervisor Nathan Fletcher; San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward; Council President Georgette Gomez; Councilmember Jennifer Campbell; and Chula Vista City Councilmember Steve Padilla, who is recovering after contracting COVID-19.

“As a survivor of COVID-19, I can attest to the importance of continuing to abide by the orders of our public health officials to protect and save as many lives as possible,” Padilla said, in a statement to San Diego Pride.

What About Other Big Summer Events in San Diego, Including Comic-Con?

Another tentpole summertime event in San Diego is Comic-Con, which is set to take place from July 23 to July 26 at the San Diego Convention Center in downtown San Diego – the same venue currently being used as a temporary shelter for homeless locals during the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, Comic-Con organizers had not yet announced a decision on whether the show – with its crowds of costumed fans, celebrity panels, exhibits, and sneak peek screenings – would go on. NBC 7 has reached out to organizers.

In addition to San Diego Pride, the San Diego County Fair and Comic-Con, summertime in San Diego also brings the annual Del Mar Racing season.

As of Wednesday, a public relations spokesperson for Del Mar Racing said the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club still plans to hold its summer meet, which is scheduled to take place July 18 to Sept. 7.

The spokesperson said the horse racing season will he held “with a steadfast commitment to ensuring the safety and welfare of our workforce, the public and our equine and human athletes.”

“The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is following the public health guidelines recommended by state and local officials as well as monitoring the status of the other horse racing facilities in California and around the country,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to work with the relevant public health officials as we get closer to our scheduled opening and will make decisions on any potential modifications at the appropriate time.”

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