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EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan — Thousands of LGBTQ New Yorkers and their allies gathered in the East Village on Sunday in celebration of Pride Weekend.

PrideFest was the main attraction in New York City this year, as the annual Pride March was once again limited to a scaled-down virtual and TV broadcast experience with a small number of in-person spectators because COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were still in effect when it was being planned.

Photos: Thousands celebrate LGBTQ Pride at NYC events

Sue Doster, the co-chair of NYC Pride, described PrideFest as “the best of a street festival” combined with “groups from the community.” 

DJs kept the crowd entertained as thousands of people grabbed a bite to eat or milled about vendor booths packed with Pride merchandise.

PrideFest attendee Philip Ayo reflected on the importance of the day.

“It’s all about being educated on LGTBQ rights or being an ally. I think spreading love is the main reason why everyone is here,” Ayo said.

The festivities also provided a big boost to struggling mom-and-pop businesses, including urban pop hat store, Aliens Of Brooklyn.

“We’ve been through so much this past year and it’s a great time to get back together and celebrate inclusiveness,” said store employee Richard Gomez.

This year’s NYC Pride theme was “The Fight Continues.”

Organizers said it was about the ongoing fight for people throughout the LGBTQ community to push for what they believe in.

Hoboken resident Alexa Letourneau marveled at the event’s inclusiveness.

“The amount of love in the atmosphere for just coming together and celebrating originality and who we are is inspiring,” Letourneau said.

Organizers of NYC Pride also hosted a virtual vendor experience for members of the community who were interested in snatching up prime Pride gear and supporting LGBTQ businesses but couldn’t make it to the East Village.

Additional Pride Weekend events included:

Meanwhile, the Reclaim Pride Coalition on Sunday held its third Queer Liberation March, which does not allow police or corporate participation.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press and PIX11’s James Ford.