“Grab a lesbian and go to the dyke march!” the announcements urge. Sure enough, the gals are kicking off Boys Town's 39th Christopher Street West Pride Festival with a 7:30 p.m. march. The action starts at Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards, and heads to West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. The free event features plenty of women on choppers, speakers, presentation of the annual Etheridge Award and an after-party.

The festival itself formally begins Saturday — see Libby Molyneaux's complete rundown of events. Of course, for the past few years such pride festivals and their rampant playfulness have occurred in the shadow of serious political issues confronting gays, and this year's celebrations are obviously no exception. Same-sex marriage and the Pentagon's Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy are some of the dragons facing a movement that has recently seemed less of a historical force than just another pressure group. See Patrick Range McDonald's reflection on where pride began, with New York's Stonewall Riots.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.