San Diego Pride Parade And Festival Breaks Attendance Records With The Help Of Lee And London’s PR Expertise

San Diego Pride Parade And Festival Breaks Attendance Records With The Help Of Lee And London’s PR Expertise

SD Pride Parade Hosted Over 275 Contingents, 300,000 spectators and sold a record-breaking number of festival tickets.

Lee and London was honored to volunteer our time and PR experience for the 46th annual San Diego Pride, led by our own Chloe Janda!

We’ve been implementing strategic PR tactics all year for the parade and festival, including earning coverage across hundreds of media platforms and creating social media posts about the 5K. Thanks to the awesome PR and impressive marketing team, Pride broke attendance records for the entire weekend. Yeah, you heard that right, we broke records! For the first time in 46 years of SD Pride the festival made over ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN TICKET SALE!  

The parade showcased over 275 contingents marching and parade attendees included over 300,000 people flooding the streets from Hillcrest to Balboa Park honoring the Stonewall generation and celebrating their unified LGBTQ+ community. The parade spectators went up 50,000 from 2018! Pride events featured the diversity and achievements of indigenous, black, trans, military, and Latinx folx, highlighting the 50 years of accomplishments of the community and paying tribute to Stonewall’s 50th anniversary. 

Parade-goers hold pride flag on parade morning.

Lee and London Account Manager, Chloe Janda, lead the PR crusade all year long anticipating the week-long surge of SD Pride events. Janda and L&L’s three PR interns, McKenzie Jester, Taelor Ross and Vivianh Huynh planned press conference as well as a morning CBS News 8 live backlot segment and numerous live news interviews.

The live ABC 10 segment

“I can’t think of a better way to gain experience in public relations while supporting the San Diego LGBTQ community,” said McKenzie Jester, PR intern. “We were proud to celebrate and support our LGBTQ+ loved ones and acknowledging that this day is about them, their success, and their ongoing battles.”

Lee and London team meets mayor Kevin Faulconer at SD Pride Press Conference.

The event packed week started on Saturday, July 6 with She Fest, a woman-centered event that celebrates and supports the talents and contributions of women, and ended on the festival main stage singing along to the infectious melodies of the rock icon and pioneer of queer rock music, Melissa Ethridge

“To my LGBTQ fans in San Diego and around the world, I have so much to thank you for. You are proof that we can become the change we wish to see,” said Melissa Ethridge. 

Melissa Etheridge jams on the Pride main-stage.

Sunday’s festivities include entertainment zones, local drag performances, community organizations and free community resources, youth organizations, dance areas, beverage gardens, visual art, vendor booths, educational and art exhibits, cultural presentations, free HIV testing, delicious food, and much more. 

The music festival had over 50,000 attendees enjoying headlining acts King Princess, Mykki Blanco, Greyson Chance and RuPaul Drag Race Queen’s Aquaria, Asia O’Hara and Kim Chi. All proceeds from the festival and parade support San Diego Pride’s LGBTQ-centered philanthropy and year-round education and advocacy programs. The festival was unifying and celebratory for all in attendance. And just when we thought this week could not be more filled with kindness and love, we witnessed a marriage proposal!

Ben Mendoza proposes to Mark Maddox on the festival main-stage.

We know how special San Diego is, but do you? Here’s what makes San Diego and SD Pride stand out among the rest. We are happy to report that San Diego was one of the only major cities across the world without any protests or any major incidents at the parade. Because SD is a city with a large military presence, integrating queer service members into the celebration was a must. At 9 a.m. on the morning of the Parade, 5K and Festival, history was made with a reenlistment ceremony of a trans service member of the Coast Guard, conducted by Major General Beevers in solidarity with the transgender community.  During the parade, a 4 ship, F15 flyover from Cal Guard’s Fresno 144th Fighter Wing- another historic first- was conducted in honor of our transgender service members who bravely serve this country every day. 

Transgender troops march during the parade.

We watched transgender soldiers walk in unison, young children watch drag queens perform wide-eyed in amazement and parents line streets to hug LGBTQ youth to show they are not alone. While this week was long and draining at times, the impact these moments had on us was far more influential than any of us anticipated. It taught us lessons in kindness, work ethic and community unity. Lee and London is beaming with San Diego Pride!