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A quiet year in SF: Pride, 420 festivals canceled out of caution

Two of The City’s landmark festivals have been officially canceled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic: San Francisco Pride and 420 at Hippie Hill.

SF Pride organizers announced the decision Tuesday.  In a statement, Executive Director Fred Lopez said:

“This was not a decision we arrived at lightly. Far from it: Our staff has been in frequent talks with our board, our production team, our partners at many departments of City Hall, officials at other Pride organizations worldwide — and most of all, our LGBTQ communities. We have heard from people who urged us to cancel, and from those who implored us not to.”

Lopez said organizers had held out hope that the 50th anniversary parade and celebration — scheduled from June 27 to June 28 — could still happen.

San Francisco Pride 2017
Aaron Levy-Wolins/SFBay A performer dances at the Pride parade in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, June 25, 2017.

The parade and weekend events for decades has drawn hundreds of thousands of people from around the world into The City. Event organizers expected upwards of one million people to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration.

Organizers instead will join other pride organizations worldwide in a Virtual Global Pride on June 27 and will announce other collaborations throughout the summer to commemorate SF Pride.

Mayor London Breed last week hinted that it would be difficult to hold a large gathering or event, such as SF Pride, even if The City had lifted its shelter-in-place order before the event.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents the Castro, said in the statement that SF Pride organizers made the right decision:

“While I am of course disappointed that we can’t celebrate in person this year, I’m excited to see the virtual alternatives that our LGBTQ communities come up with.We know how many people Pride brings to San Francisco,and we hope to welcome everyone back soon.”

Nik Wojcik/SFBay 420 at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif.

Another major event fast approaching is the 420 Hippie Hill celebration inside Golden Gate Park, which correlates with April 20.

During a Monday press conference, Breed told 420 revelers not to come to The City.

Breed said:

“Do not come to San Francisco on 4/20 to Robin Williams Meadows. We will not allow this unsanctioned event to occur this year, especially in the height of the pandemic.”

The mayor added that fencing and roadblocks would surround the area to prevent anyone from entering the space that attracted more than 10,000 people last year.

Police will patrol the area, issue citations and make arrests if necessary, Breed said.

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