Sunday, May 17, 2009
Mayor Gavin Newsom Grand Marshal Of Long Beach Gay Pride Parade
Under overcast skies Sunday, thousands lined Ocean Boulevard to watch as the 26th annual Pride Parade traveled west from Temple Avenue and spilled onto Alamitos Avenue.
Spectators in colorful beads, boas and buttons cheered as drag queens and men in leather strolled alongside church groups and human rights organizations.
Ocean Boulevard was a virtual wave of color as streamers, flags and windmills popped out from porches and balconies. Even the trademark lion statues in front of a home near the Long Beach Art Museum got a rainbow lei makeover.
Fans say it's this camaraderie and diversity that keeps them coming back each year.
The crowds roared as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, one of this year's Grand Marshals, rode by on a red 1965 Ford Thunderbird. After cruising through the parade route, the mayor came round on foot, shaking hands and giving high-fives.
"He's like a rock star!" said Long Beach resident David Wells, after shaking the mayor's hand.
Long Beach was Newsom's first gay pride parade outside of San Francisco. The mayor, who is running for governor in 2010, said he's traveling throughout the state to promote gay marriage and diversity.
"We don't tolerate diversity, we celebrate it," he said.