Long Beach Parade of Pride

Approximately 80,000 people attended this year’s Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival and Parade on May 17 and 18. Crowds gathered on both sides of Ocean Boulevard Sunday morning to take in the sights and sounds of the 31st annual event.

TV personality Ross Mathews served as the Grand Marshal of the parade, which also included members of the LGBT community, local businesses, and politicians running in the upcoming elections.

“Isn’t this just great!” Herb Cebollero said as the parade began on its way down the street.“I just love hugs!” he yelled as he reached out to hug a parade participant who was wearing “free hugs” T-shirt.

As the official Gay Pride Family cruised along the route in a convertible, parade announcer Jewels Long Beach rushed out to jump in for a group selfie.

Jessica Talebi held hands with her fiancé, Courtney Perdue, while soaking it all up. “This is our third time attending the Long Beach Pride and we intend to make it to many more,” Talebi said. The couple recently moved to Long Beach, and have found it to be diverse and welcoming. “We have been very happy with our experiences in meeting the locals of Long Beach,” Talebi said.

Residents along the parade route participated in the celebration from their balconies and porches, many sharing free gifts such as condoms, beads, cookies and hugs.