Before the glittery spectacle of the LGBT Pride March and the rest of the Gay Pride Weekend festivities, get pumped up…with a glittery spectacle! This official Gay Pride Weekend opening event started as a "gay power" demonstration with 500 protestors in Washington Square Park a month after the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered the dawn of the modern gay-rights movement. Since then the rally has jumped locations all over town, including incarnations in Central Park and East River Park. Big-name performers often take the stage—Lady Gaga performed in 2013—while local politicians, comedians, and other members of the LGBT community offer both serious and silly takes on Pride themes. For newcomers and longtime Pride celebrants alike, the Pride Kickoff Rally serves as both a party starter and a reminder that it's not all about partying.