West Hollywood draws thousands for L.A. Pride

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. Organizers expect as many as 200,000 people to line /*Santa Monica Boulevard*/ for the parade, which got under way at 11 a.m. The grand marshals this year are Sharon and /*Kelly Osbourne*/.

The parade celebrates L.A.'s /*gay*/, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Colorful floats, marching bands and community groups took part in the festivities, with more than 125 entries this year.

There will be a moment of silence at noon to remember those who fought for gay rights and died of AIDS or cancer.

The parade began in 1970 in Hollywood, but it moved to West Hollywood in 1979. L.A. was the first city in the country to hold a gay pride parade.

The parade draws people from across Southern California to experience an energy that is unique.

"You don't get to congregate every day like this, even when you come up here just for the weekend to go to the bar scene," said Gary Stacey. "This is different. It draws the entire crowd."

The L.A. Pride Festival is held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on San Vicente Boulevard, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue.

The parade is free to watch, and admission is $20 for those who want to attend the festival. Martha Davis & the Motels and Kelly Rowland will be headlining the festival.

Santa Monica Boulevard was closed from Fairfax Avenue to Doheny Drive at 6 a.m. and will reopen immediately at the end of the parade, which may be as late as 6 p.m.

Parking will be allowed on West Hollywood residential streets without permits through 7 a.m. Monday. Suggested parking areas include east of Fairfax Avenue, the Pacific Design Center, the Kings Road parking structure and the Beverly Center.

If you went to L.A. Pride this year, send your photos to video@myabc7.com!

City News Service contributed to this story.

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