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Post-parade S.F. Pride revelers pack Castro District watering holes

Post-parade S.F. Pride revelers descend on the Castro District
Post-parade S.F. Pride revelers descend on the Castro District 02:37

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a day of festivities, thousands visited the Castro to celebrate San Francisco pride. The night of partying caps off what is traditionally the biggest weekend of the year for the neighborhood.

A handful of bars were packed with people ready to have a good time Sunday evening. Plenty of friends and couples came dressed in rainbow finery.

There were lines spilling out of bars on both sides of the street on 18th near Castro Street.

Pride is clearly good for business. Marcello's Pizza said sales were about four times what they normally are on a Sunday.

"This is a great turnout and I'm going to use the word 'hope' again. This gives a lot of hope to us small businesses out here," said manager Alex Avila, pointing toward the crowded sidewalk. "It feels really good -- much better than last year, I can say that."

While he's encouraged, Avila said things aren't quite back to the way they were pre-pandemic. Some people who spoke to KPIX agreed.

"It's different than years past. I've been coming for over 30 years. It's not the same vibe it used to be. A lot of bars are closed now, a lot of the stores are closed -- not as many people as it was," said San Francisco resident Edward Fochier.

Fochier and his friends, Christopher Riley and Peaches Banks, still enjoyed Pride. The couple started the day riding in the parade on a trolley, before strolling through the Castro.

"It's a beautiful vibe. I mean I've been getting compliments on my outfit, hats, shoes. So the love is in the air," Riley said.

"We picked up some bling to make it a little stylish," added Banks, referencing their hats.

This year, threats and violence against this community are on the rise as hundreds of bills around the nation seek to restrict LGBTQ rights across the country.

Partygoers say it's more important than ever to show their pride and uplift one another.

"It's really widespread throughout the country that there's violence against trans women of color so we have to stand and be visible in who we are and we can't be afraid of who we are," Banks said.

There was also a heavy police presence throughout the Castro. SFPD officers could be seen at virtually every corner.

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