San Francisco

San Francisco Illuminated With Rainbow Colors for Pride Weekend

People who attend Pride events should expect tight security

San Francisco Pride 2017 kicked off in a flurry of rainbows.

Millions of people are expected to trek to the City by the Bay through Sunday to celebrate and show support for the LGBTQ community.

The Pride colors were sprinkled liberally across social media — from brightly lit San Francisco City Hall, Coit Tower and Herbst Theater to a Pride flag that billowed boldly over the South San Francisco City Hall. 

"It's great," first time Pride participant Jamie Burns of Davis said. "It's really awesome. There's so much love and so many people."

San Francisco Celebrates Pride

Up first was the Trans March on Friday, which started from Mission Dolores Park. The event sparked controversy during theo week when people were briefly instructed not to talk to or thank police officers along the route. The online post has since been removed.

Early Saturday, nearly 200 volunteers made their way to the north hill of Twin Peaks, while it was still blanketed by Karl the Fog. They helped set up the iconic Pink Triangle, which every year honors gay people who were persecuted and slain in Nazi Germany during World War II. 

The brightly-colored symbol can be spotted from downtown San Francisco and the Castro district through Sunday. 

The San Francisco Dyke March was up next at 5 p.m., also at Mission Dolores Park. A rally began around 11 a.m. 

Missing Attachment As part of San Francisco Pride, participants on Saturday gathered for the Dyke March.

All the excitement builds up to the LGBT Pride Parade, one of the largest in the world, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The route runs along Market Street, starting at Beale Street and ending at Eighth Street.

Longtime Pride participant Holly Wallace of Kensingston is excited to see a city buzzing with energy and love for the LGBTQ community.

"I came out 50 years ago and to see all these young people living their lives and so many thousands of us, it's amazing," she said. "It's really special."

In addition to celebrating identity and diversity, Demie Chicos of Oakland has also turned her attention to focusing on the current political climate.

"We’ve gotta be out more than ever now, because we’re in difficult, challenging times," Chicos said.

Missing Attachment While millions of people pack San Francisco for Pride weekend, officials are keeping a close eye on security. Thom Jensen reports.

Security was tight during San Francisco Pride in 2016 since it followed the shooting deaths of 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Luis Roldan, a survivor of the nightclub shooting, and Christine Leinonan, the mother of a Pulse victim, flew from Florida to San Francisco to celebrate with the LGBTQ community and show they aren't being defeated by hate crimes.

"It's not to stop my son's friends from living their lives," Leinonan said.

This year's Pride festivities follow terror attacks in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Somalia, Iraq, Thailand, Syria and even in Flint, Michigan.

So law enforcement officials are taking no chances with people's safety. That said, "there is no specific nor credible threat to any of the events this weekend," Craig Fair, an FBI counter-terrorism expert, assured Bay Area revelers.

Attendees should expect to be screened by walk-through metal detectors or handheld "wands," according to police.

No bags larger than 18 by 18 inches will be allowed, and all bags are subject to search. There will be no storage lockers for oversized bags.

No outside alcohol will be allowed inside and possession of open containers or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on city streets. Inside the event area, alcohol will be available for purchase with valid identification.

The San Francisco Police Department will increase the number of officers stationed at the event both in uniform and plainclothes. People are also asked to trust their intuition and report any suspicious behavior. 

[NATL]Rainbows Shine as Cities Across the US Celebrate Pride

Shootings and other violent incidents have occurred during a number of past Pride celebrations, including a fatal shooting at the 2010 "Pink Saturday" event in the Castro District. That event was canceled last year due to security concerns and will not be returning this year. Celebrations this year turned out to be a bit less organized as a result and there was a noticeable police presence on city streets.

"Regardless of all the violence and stuff, they want to make sure that everybody knows that the streets can still be safe," San Francisco resident Danny Osuna said.

Police this week advised those planning to attend festivities, to avoid accepting drinks from strangers or drinking and driving, to keep valuables with them rather than leaving them in the car and or elsewhere, and to stay with a group of friends when on the street or leaving bars and clubs.

Pride-goers are also strongly urged to take public transit to and from events wherever possible. Both Muni and Caltrain will provide additional service on Sunday for the parade. A slew of roads will closed during the weekend.

For more information on security screening, check out the San Francisco Pride website.

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell, Thom Jensen and Sergio Quintana contributed to this report.

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