WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (CNS) -- Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on West Hollywood Saturday for the annual WeHo Pride festival, billed as one of the largest celebrations of LGBTQ+ pride in the world.
WeHo Pride events officially began Friday with a "Friday Night @OUTLOUD" concert at West Hollywood Park featuring Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Shangela and Tinashe. OUTLOUD concerts will continue over the weekend, with Grace Jones headlining on Saturday night and Carly Rae Jepsen headlining Sunday night.
The WeHo Pride Street Fair will run from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards, featuring an array of LGBTQ+ community groups and allied organizations.
Saturday's event will also include the Women's Freedom Festival, including performances from "emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets and activists." The festival will be followed at 6 p.m. by the annual Dyke March.
Sunday's event will be highlighted by the WeHo Pride Parade at noon. Honorees during the parade will be model/activist Laith Ashley, who will receive the Breakthrough Icon Award; actress Niecy Nash-Betts and wife Jessica Betts, who will receive the Trailblazer Icon honor; and actress Melissa McCarthy, who was named WeHo Pride's 2023 Ally Icon. "RuPaul's Drag Race" will be celebrated as this year's Drag Icon, with show host/judge Michelle Visage expected to accept the honor on behalf of the program.
"Our WeHo Pride Parade Icons embody queer joy and fierce allyship by creating spaces where our community can be celebrated, whether that's on the red carpet or directly through their art and advocacy," West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne said in a statement. "We're thrilled to celebrate the impact our Icons have in creating a more evolved and accepting world."
The parade along Santa Monica Boulevard will begin at Crescent Heights Boulevard and move west to Robertson Boulevard.
Streets throughout the festival area will be closed, and attendees were urged to review parking and access information online at www.wehopride.com. The city will provide free shuttle service during the weekend to transport people to WeHo Pride events. Information is available at https://go.wehopride.com/3qfnasc.
San Vicente Boulevard will be closed until 10 a.m. Monday from Melrose Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard.
Parking facilities in the area of West Hollywood Park -- the five- story parking structure, the Library Garage, Aquatic and Recreation Center Garage and the Plummer Park South and Robertson lots -- will remain closed until Monday.
Other streets that are closed for the event are:
-- Eastbound Santa Monica Boulevard from North La Cienega Boulevard to North Doheny Drive through 7 a.m. Monday;
-- Robertson Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue through 7 a.m. Monday;
-- Westbound Santa Monica Boulevard from North La Cienega Boulevard to North Doheny Drive through 7 a.m. Monday; and
-- San Vicente Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Cynthia Street through 10 a.m. Monday.
Santa Monica Boulevard will be closed from Fairfax Avenue to Doheny Drive -- including side streets one block north and one block south of Santa Monica Boulevard -- from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday to accommodate the WeHo Pride Parade.
West Hollywood won't be the only city celebrating Pride Month Saturday.
The third annual San Gabriel Valley Pride Parade and Festival will be held Saturday in Monterey Park, hosted by the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Gabriel Valley and Eastside, the city of Monterey Park and the Alhambra Teachers Association.
The city of Santa Monica will hold a SaMo Pride Festival in the downtown area, stretching from the Third Street Promenade to the Santa Monica Pier, featuring music, drag queens and other activities.
Culver City, meanwhile, will hold its third annual Pride Ride and Rally event, featuring participants riding bikes, skateboards, scooters or roller skates along a six mile stretch, culminating with a block part along Main Street featuring music, dancing, food and raffles.