At the end of May, Tel Aviv had their annual Pride Parade! I had never been to the one in San Francisco and was not sure what to expect. For some reason I was thinking, the parade would be similar to the Rose Parade, with floats, flowers, marching bands, and awkwardly waving parade participants… but the event was less of a parade and more of an endless block party filled with speedos, drag queens, bikinis, curious elaborate costumes, and lots of people showing their LGBT pride!
… but let’s take a step back…. the parade started at Meir Park close to our apartment and I arrived around 1100, loaded up with all my camera gear. The parade was set to start at 12 but nothing really begins on time in Tel Aviv, so around 1300 the parade started in earnest as people began to shuffle out of the park and spill into the streets. The route weaved through some minor streets until emerging onto Bograshov, a main street in Tel Aviv that runs directly to the beach.
As we inched closer and closer to the beach the parade route was filled with more and more people…
About 45 minutes after leaving the park, we made the final left and arrived at the boulevard that runs along the beach. It was an endless sea of people – dotted with huge-semis blasting the latest pop sensations displaying dancers of all stripes! The air was filled with a contagious energy and magnetism, which was impossible to capture with only pictures, so to help illustrate the scene that unfolded before me I made a video. If the video link below does not work click here.
The parade ended at a park (Charles Clore Garden) on the south side of Tel Aviv and the party continued… I stayed for a little bit but was exhausted from being in the direct sun for nearly 6 hours with little water (did I mention it was over 95F?), so I ducked out around 17:00 – I am 30 after all!
I learned after that the parade had over 250,000 participants! I found that very impressive given the relatively small size of Tel Aviv, with a population of just over 400,000 (for comparison San Francisco had 1.8 million last year at their pride parade!). What an experience! Israel really knows how to have a good time!