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Joy, Energy Returns To San Francisco Castro District For Pride Weekend; 'No Mask, Just Vibes'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The city's famous pride parade is not happening for the second year in a row, but there are still plenty of celebrations to be had.

Even though the events are a bit scaled back this year, the mood in the Castro was spirited and celebratory Saturday evening.

They came dressed in their best pride costumes and showed off their rainbow outfits -- ready to make the most of pride weekend in San Francisco.

"Pride 2021 is just so fabulous, I had to go rainbow hair," said Michael Petrelis of San Francisco.

KPIX 5 also spotted a spontaneous dance party on Castro and 18th Streets.

"I feel like there's an extra happiness, an extra gayness," said Petrelis. "The Castro survived the AIDS plague, the AIDS epidemic and now we are watching the end of the coronavirus epidemic."

People filled bars, parklets and restaurants -- giving the area businesses a much-needed boost in business.

Gyro Xpress on Castro Street said this is their 8th pride weekend, and they're thankful they're able to see it.

"This year, we're happy it's getting a lot better. So the chemistry's coming up, the vibe is coming up, so a lot of people going up, so as a small business owner, we're happy," said owner Volkan Akoglu.

Dozens of other Castro businesses were not able to survive the pandemic.

"The reopening has been the best for this community, for the LGBTQ, it's been amazing so to have like our -- we have certain bars that we go to and to have those bars reopen has been incredible, but to have this experience where we're all outside, it's just awesome," said Devin Shaffer of San Francisco.

Renee Rodrigues of Oakland spent Saturday in the Castro.

"No mask, just vibes, just having so much fun," she said.

There are still plenty of events happening on Sunday.

"For example, Juanita More's big summer party - Sunday noon to 10:30. It was one of the biggest parties. It was going to be virtual this year, but now it's not. It's going to be in person. It's already sold out, a few tickets at the door," said KPIX 5's Liam Mayclem.

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