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LA Pride to Bring Lots of People, Dollars to Town

About 400,000 attendees are expected at Pride festivities this weekend, generating about $23 million for the area.

Johnny Weir is coming to town for gay pride and so are thousands of others.

More than 400,000 people are expected to attend this year’s LA Pride celebration, happening Friday through Sunday all throughout West Hollywood. Those 400,000 people are expected to spend lots of money.

According to a 2007 report commissioned by Christopher Street West, Pride weekend generates $22.7 million for the area. Of that, $16.4 million is spent in West Hollywood, while $6.3 million is spent in Los Angeles.

With the economy still sluggish, area businesses can’t wait.

“It’s my busiest weekend of the year,” said Larry Block, owner of the Block Party clothing store, housed in the old A Different Light bookstore building at 8853 Santa Monica Blvd. “We are loading up on all things Pride, from flags to buttons to magnets to stickers. And of course clothing. Everybody is in the Pride spirit, people come from all over and leave with all things gay.”

Next door at Mickey’s bar, the staff is also expecting good business. “We should do very well. Our customers are very generous,” said Mary Ann, Mickey’s general manager. “We bring on extra staff. We’re open longer hours; we close later and open earlier to accommodate everyone. It’s a very busy time. It’s a very fun time.” 

West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President Genevieve Morrill says the Pride festivities are one of the largest economic generators for the city. “Four hundred thousand attendees—it’s a gift we’ve been given,” she said. “Area businesses have always done well during Pride weekend, and I expect they will again this year.”

According to the CSW report, each person spends an average of $52 per day during Pride weekend. That sums up to $1.4 million spent on lodging, $6.5 million spent on meals out and $5.5 million spent on drinks. An additional $4.1 million is spent on shopping/souvenirs, while $2.5 million is spent on transportation and parking.

In terms of tax revenue, the city of West Hollywood will reap $229,000 in lodging and retail sales tax, while Los Angeles will receive $92,000 in taxes.

But beyond all those figures and statistics, Pride is about freedom and being true to oneself, Morrill said. “Pride is good for people who may still be questioning their sexuality. They get here and may come to terms with who they really are,” she said.

For Mary Ann, “It’s especially fun to see guys who are coming in from smaller towns that might not be as open as LA or Chicago or New York. They come here and see guys walking down the street holding hands and they’re so surprised. It’s just another one of those reasons why gay Pride is so important.”

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joninla June 09, 2011 at 12:47 AM
I THINK THIS YEAR WE SHOULD NOT DOWNPLAY THE IDEA PRIDE GOES "beyond all those figures and statistics" The Economy is so bad for everyone/everywhere ... why not highlight the financial benefits of living in an open and accepting society of ALL PEOPLE OF ALL KIND/TYPES and FINANCIAL RESOURCES. Pride Weekend Celebrates, Advocates, Promotes, Advertises and Exposes and give "HOPE" to millions of people who either don't know there exists and it is possible to Live Out and Proud or who know about it, but unfortunately were born elsewhere and under economic constraints preventing them from escaping their city/town/family to to just LIVE LIFE with no fear or hatred (well with a lot less - there is still a lot of work to be done right here at home to stop "anti-gay" problems. We should celebrate THE FINANCIAL along with ALL THE REST (the hundreds of groups, organizations, people, business, celebrities, religions, social services, arts/humanities/sports/professionals/schools etc....). MONEY SPEAKS LOUDER THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE UNITED STATES. LET'S SHOUT THE NEWS OF THE ECONOMIC BOON WE ARE ENJOYING ALONG WITH THE CELEBRATION AND PARTY GOING.
Paul June 09, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Yep, a bunch of drunken gays parading around town. For the conservative gay people who reside in this city, it's a good time to go out of town and avoid the nonsense.
joninla June 09, 2011 at 03:45 AM
Try not to be negative about it. For some people it is their very first experience coming close to actually openly accepting themselves for the first time. Others .... Maybe were diagnosed with AIDS and given a death sentence of only a few months - and 15 years later they are alive, well and ready, willing and able to spend a day getting drunk and being as silly and irresponsible as anybody else in the would would be over whatever monumental life hurdle worthy of celebrating. I always remind myself of my very first experience. I kept asking this older guy who insisted I go with him "Why are they all cheering ... at me .... at every one?" ..... I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of just positivity before we had even walked our first block. HOURS LATER the crowds and cheers had grown even stronger and all I remember after that was a see of just happiness - not people - just pure 'good' feelings everywhere. Last year I thought about walking the half block out to see the parade .... but ended up sitting staying in front of the TV and watching the 10millionth rerun of an episode of "The Golden Girls" Don't let a day of people having a VERY FIRST MOMENT/DAY in what will be the rest of their probably average and ordinary life (I think you would describe as "conservative") :)
Insider June 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Where did the 400,000 attendance number come from? Is it just urban legend?

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