Hundreds turn up for LA Pride festival

Around 10PM, after the Fire Marshall alerted officials that LA Pride’s festival was over capacity.

IMG_2724-1376x1032The L.A. Pride Festival in West Hollywood on Saturday sold out for the first time in the event’s 48-year history, according to organizers.

The festival at West Hollywood Park reached full capacity by early evening, said a news release from Christopher Street West, the nonprofit that produces the annual event.

The higher than expected turnout forced officials to turn people away, including some ticket holders, the statement added. Those individuals and others with tickets or pre-purchased wristbands for Saturday can exchange them for admission on Sunday at the onsite box office, which was set to open at noon.

Organizers said the L.A. Pride Parade, which is open to the public, will take place as planned on Santa Monica Boulevard between Fairfax Avenue and Doheny Drive.

Floats were scheduled to appear from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Grand Marshal Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn, a transgender activist and founder of Pollo West Group, will lead the parade.

Organizers claim anyone who was turned away will be able to use their ticket at Sunday’s festivities or refer to lapride.org on Monday for refund information.

In the past several years, the event has faced an increasingly more complex geometry as the West Hollywood Park where it is held has been unavailable for the event.  At the same time, organizers have added more and more high-end music programming and stages while reducing more carnival like attractions and vendors.

“The Festival has become a full on Rave.  I went this evening because I wanted to simply stroll around the festival, but the line of early 20 something people was 20 people deep for several blocks, said Christopher Johnson, 44, of Long Beach.  “I’m glad it’s successful but I’m not welcome. There’s nothing there for me anymore and it makes me feel old.”

Lauren Drake, 22, of Santa Clarita was turned away. “I’m just going home. I had fun in line but the line was my Pride this year, I guess,” she said as her friend, 24 year old Michael Z, tugged her by the arm and said, “Girl, you ain’t goin’ home; we’re going dancin’!”

Santa Monica Boulevard was shut down entirely after the closure.

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