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Rallies, marches kick off Pride Weekend in New York City

Celebrations kick off Pride Weekend in New York City
Celebrations kick off Pride Weekend in New York City 02:08

NEW YORK -- Pride Weekend is kicking off with celebrations around New York City ahead of Sunday's march.

The annual Drag March kicked off at Tompkins Square Park on Friday and ended with a march to the Stonewall Inn.

"I've been sewing for 50 years, so I love the fashions as well, but it's really community," one participant said.

Dozens turned out and some say being around close friends is what they needed.

"Whenever we kind of manifest here, there's always a sense of being there for each other, but I think this year more than any other, there's a real political need to be out and show force," another participant said.

The Drag March started in 1994 when the main Pride March banned drag queens and others after it was expressed that their presence would upset corporate sponsors. In protest, this event was created.

"I think that these kind of protests are still important and still mark the fact that there's work we have to do," Hell's Kitchen resident Patrick Gatland told CBS2's Thalia Perez.

Ahead of New York City's Pride March on Sunday, dozens gathered at Battery Park for the annual Rally Event. Organizers say it's the first time in two years it's in-person.

"We are abundant, we are resilient, and baby, as a community, we absolutely hold power together," a speaker said.

RELATED STORY: Groundbreaking ceremony held for Stonewall Inn visitors center celebrating LGBTQ history

There was a momentous occasion down at the Stonewall Inn earlier in the day as officials and advocates broke ground on a visitor center dedicated to the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

"I think it's really important, too, that this specific location, that we are honoring the lineage of the queer folk that came before us," said Peter Elizalder, a gay rights advocate. 

Once complete, the 3,700-square foot space will include exhibitions and art displays that celebrate LGBTQ+ history. Its doors are slated to open in 2024.

The city's Pride March is Sunday, returning fully in person for the first time since the pandemic. It begins at noon at 25th and Fifth Avenue and ends in Chelsea.

This year's theme is "Unapologetically Us." Organizers say it was influenced by the pandemic, which gave society a reset and forced everyone to reprioritize their lives.

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