Be a part of the NYC Pride March's history, whether you trek down Fifth or not, by learning the march's secrets. (Credit: Getty Images / Neilson Barnard)
Credit: Getty Images / Michael Nagle
It takes nearly 2,000 balloons to create the iconic rainbow arches
The six rainbow arches that lead the march down Fifth Avenue are made up of 1,872 colorful balloons.
The arches, which have become a symbol of the march's embodiment of LGBT pride, are "very close to the heart of the organization," Studinski said. It takes as many as 20 volunteers to help guide them toward Christopher Street.
Pictured: The six rainbow balloon arches make their way down Fifth Avenue during the march on June 24, 2012.
Credit: Charles Eckert
It’s a march — not a parade
The first march for pride, known as Christopher Street Liberation Day, was held in 1970 outside of the Stonewall Inn. Organized to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969, it embodied a much different tone than today's celebratory gathering. Heritage of Pride took over Christopher Street Liberation Day in 1984, dubbing the extended walk NYC Pride March.
"We still call it a march because it is still a demonstration and is still a fight for equality, even with such great victories as the same-sex marriage equality ruling," Studinski said. "We continue to march for rights for everyone."
Pictured: A couple walks in the 2013 NYC Pride March after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that granted gay couples in California the federal benefits of marriage.
Credit: Getty Images
Motorcycles lead the roar for equality
The Siren's Women's Motorcycle Club has been leading the parade since 1986, founding member Cheryl Stewart said. The club, which accepts march participants through its website, brought 71 motorcyclists to the 2015 event, Studinski said. But, they're much more than just another group participating, he said.
"They provide a powerful roar to get the crowd energized," Studinski said. "They tell the world 'we are here and we are coming.' "
Expect to see 100 motorcyclists from the club at this year's march, Stewart said.
Credit: NYC Pride
More than 500 volunteers help produce 11 events in seven days
Volunteers are the "lifeblood of our organization," the sign-up page at NYCpride.org reads, and the organization means that literally. Everyone who has a hand in the planning and execution of NYC Pride Week events (including the march) is a volunteer, Studinski said. Heritage of Pride has more than 500 registered helping hands, he said.
The first openly trans firefighter with the FDNY leads the way
Brooke Guinan, (pictured, left) a 29-year-old who was the first openly trans firefighter with the FDNY, is among this year's grand marshals. She'll march alongside Krishna Stone, community relations director of the Gay Men's Health Crisis and former police officer Geng Le.
Credit: Newsday / Tom Kitts
Without the march, would the Stonewall riots have been forgotten?
"There's a big connection between the gay pride march and the Stonewall Inn," Ann Bausum, author of "Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights," said. Bausum, a history writer with a focus on social justice movements, said the organizer of the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, Craig Rodwell, "single-handedly helped keep the memory of the Stonewall riots alive."
Rodwell's organization of the first LGBT rights march, continued today as the NYC Pride March, may be one of the reasons the message behind the riots has not been forgotten.
Adaptations of the march still take place across the globe. The first Christopher Street Day celebration, a nod to the march in 1970 outside of the Greenwich Village bar, took place in Berlin on June 30, 1979.
Pictured: Marchers walk down Christopher Street on June 29, 1986.
Credit: NYC Pride
Volunteers dedicate 11 out of 12 months of the year to Pride Week
It takes 44 weeks to plan seven days of movie nights at Pier 63, PrideFest entertainment and the nearly two-mile march toward Stonewall.
"Planning starts in August of the year before," Studinski said. "That's when grand marshal conversations, theme discussions, budget arrangements and spaces are planned." In their one month off, those who helped make the magic happen get to take part in a volunteer appreciation party in July, Studinski said, making it pretty much a year-round effort.
Credit: Getty Images / Eric Thayer
There was only one time the arches weren’t the colors of the pride flag
The only year in the event's history that the balloon arches didn't make up the pride flag was in 2015. Heritage of Pride chose to stick with red, white and blue balloons in celebration of the year of the marriage equality ruling, Studinski said.
Credit: Jazz Jennings via Instagram
The youngest grand marshal in NYC Pride history walked last year
After appearing on "20/20" at the age of six, scoring her own TLC show and publishing her first book at 12, Jazz Jennings has become a popular voice on the experiences of transgender teens. At 15 years old, she became the youngest grand marshal in NYC Pride history.
"Every year we look to identify leaders in the community to become the grand marshal," Studinski said. After the marriage equality ruling in 2015, "folks asked us, 'why do you still need the parade?' We select people whose stories and backgrounds explain why we still do this and why it still matters."
Other past grand marshals include Laverne Cox, Jonathan Groff and Harry Belafonte.