Thaddeus Campbell had an epiphany in the desert. After attending the Greater Palm Springs Pride festival for several years, he noticed a not-so-subtle difference when the event moved from a daytime affair to an evening celebration. There were more people—lots more.

After returning home to San Jose, the president and CEO of Silicon Valley Pride implemented his own time shift. Instead of simply holding a march and day party on Sunday last year, Silicon Valley Pride added a kickoff party the night before.

“If you look at a festival during the day, you get hot and tired,” Campbell says. “People want to go out at night and enjoy the night sky.”

Silicon Valley Pride Parade and Festival will celebrate its 42nd anniversary this weekend at Plaza de César Chávez, starting with a night festival Saturday evening. Sunday at 10am, the parade will commence along Market Street, beginning at the intersection of West St. John Street and ending at Park Avenue.

“In order to keep it interesting we had to change what we presented to the community,” Campbell says. “The night festival was originally an experiment, but it was received extremely well.”

Gabrielle Antolovich, board president at Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center, can attest to the night fest’s success. “We’ll be active at the night party,” Antolovich says. “The music is always great. I’ll definitely be there, but it won’t even feel like volunteering.”

Netflix, an event sponsor, will host a pre-Pride event at Forager on Thursday at 6pm, to screen a preview of Disjointed, a Netflix original series starring Kathy Bates.

After traversing downtown on Sunday, the celebration will kick off to feature Milk and Chi Chi DeVayne from RuPaul’s Drag Race, ’90s dance diva Kim Sims and rapper Cazwell. While the festival is an inclusive affair, community members and allies will also be cognizant of the underlying need for events such as Pride. The festival’s timing comes during a tense political atmosphere, as the White House announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military and appears poised to roll back LGBTQ rights.

“There’s a lot rhetoric, as far as how people are against LGBTQ rights, the country not being completely settled on gay marriage and the attacks on transgenders,” Campbell says. “The community, now more than ever, needs to come together.”

More information about Silicon Valley Pride on Aug. 26-27 can be found at