NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — New York City’s annual LGBTQ Pride parade is virtual again this year, but demonstrators and celebrators were still making their presence felt in the city on Sunday.
The main New York City Pride parade, which usually draws throngs of participants and spectators, is once again being presented as a television broadcast special, since now-lifted pandemic restrictions were still in effect at the time it was being planned.
But people will be able to gather in person on Sunday afternoon for PrideFest, a street fair with vendors, food and entertainment in Manhattan. A dance party was planned for Herald Square and fireworks, music and food were prepared for Pier 45 in Hudson River Park.
Sue Doster, the co-chair of NYC Pride, described PrideFest as “the best of a street festival” combined with “groups from the community.”
PrideFest attendee Philip Ayo reflected on the importance of the day.
“It’s all about being educated on LGTBQ rights or being an ally. I think spreading love is the main reason why everyone is here,” Ayo said.
The festivities also provided a big boost to struggling mom-and-pop businesses, including urban pop hat store, Aliens Of Brooklyn.
“We’ve been through so much this past year and it’s a great time to get back together and celebrate inclusiveness,” said store employee Richard Gomez.
This year’s NYC Pride theme was “The Fight Continues.”
Organizers said it was about the ongoing fight for people throughout the LGBTQ community to push for what they believe in.
Hoboken resident Alexa Letourneau marveled at the event’s inclusiveness.
“The amount of love in the atmosphere for just coming together and celebrating originality and who we are is inspiring,” Letourneau said.
For people looking to march for LGBTQ rights, the Reclaim Pride Coalition is holding its third Queer Liberation March from Bryant Park to the Stonewall National Monument and into Washington Square Park.
The liberation march event does not allow police or corporate participation.
New York City’s gay pride parades began in 1970 to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising, which started after a police raid on a Manhattan gay bar.
The Stonewall Inn is still there, now under different owners.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WPIX contributed to this report.