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Hundreds of thousands tune into San Diego Pride's virtual festivities

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-18 20:49:12-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — This year's San Diego Pride festivities are going virtual, to comply with the Stay-at-home order brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

While hundreds of thousands of people tuned into the program online, others could not resist heading to Hillcrest for the annual celebration. No cars needed to be towed, and no streets needed to be blocked off Saturday.

This year's San Diego Pride parade launched virtually in a quiet outdoor patio at Inside-Out restaurant in Hillcrest.

"Today's going to look a little different, but we're going to keep it as close to normal as possible," San Diego Pride Executive Director, Fernando Lopez, said.

Organizers hoped to keep it "normal," despite trying times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. But Pride is no stranger to the idea of "adapt and overcome."

"Our parade has gone through a hurricane, our parade has gone through a bomb threat," San Diego Pride Philanthropy Director, Sarafina Scapicchio said. "We have had challenges to this event happening, and it is very important to keep our Pride traditions alive regardless of what's going on to the community."

People who would normally be marching in Hillcrest submitted videos and logged on for live interviews. Others still made their way to University Avenue, to support local LGBTQ businesses and display their pride.

"Pride is feeling your true self and celebrating with your community," Lorraine Neville said while dining outdoors at Gossip Grill.

"It means one love," Cindy Lauritzen said, also at the restaurant.

Cindy and Janine Lauritzen never miss a Pride. They say they want their love story to inspire the next generation.

"There was a day when we couldn't be married," Janine Lauritzen said. "Now we are and celebrating that, and getting the younger generations to see that it's OK to be who they are."

They were one of the more than 160,000 people who tuned into the virtual parade from around the world.

Organizers admit it was not perfect. Periodically, they faced a few digital and audio hiccups. But they say they are proud to spread this year's timely slogan.

"'Together We Rise,' is our message to everyone," Scapicchio said. "We're going to get through this together."

They say even if mass gatherings are canceled, Pride is not.

For more information on this weekend's San Diego Pride festivities, click HERE.