West Hollywood hosts its own Pride parade for first time as thousands lined Santa Monica Boulevard

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- For the first time, West Hollywood hosted its own Pride parade, and organizers pulled out all the stops.

Thousands of spectators lined Santa Monica Boulevard Sunday to catch all of the action, including some celebrity appearances.

The parade caps off a three-day celebration that also included concerts and an arts festival.

If you needed to find a way around barricades along the parade route in West Hollywood, you needed to find Bert Champagne. The 3-decade long volunteer has his reasons for being out here.

"You know, somebody has to do it and you know this is my legacy," Champagne said. "You know, being a gay male coming out into the community, and helping my community, and making sure our community is represented in any way that we can make our faces and voices be heard."

Champagne directed traffic along the parade route on Santa Monica Boulevard, from Crescent Heights Boulevard into the heart of the Rainbow District.

Street fair festivities in the neighborhood were free to the public, and all along the route signs were bold and multi-colored.

"This is a great way to kind of, give a voice outside of the outfits, and the quirky personalities and what's seen," said Sergio Rodriquez, Asian Pacific AIDS Interventional Team. "Beneath it all, we all just want to be loved, cared for, seen and heard, and I think that's just the way people carry themselves, but there's so much more beneath that."

Rodriquez is representing his non-profit, which works with the homeless and those battling mental health issues.

"My purpose here today is to be an advocate, and stand firm, and believing in human rights, and that everybody's deserving of love and kindness, and community," Rodriquez said.

The fun continues next Sunday when ABC7 will broadcast the official L.A. Pride parade. You can watch it on June 12 at 11 a.m., on ABC7.

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