Amsterdam's Gay Parade is the time when the Gay men and women of this great city commandeer (or is it commandear?) every canal-worthy vessel they can lay their hands on and cruise (yes that's the word I mean) through the city. The straight members of the city line the sides of the canals, cheer and accept the free condoms.
As you can guess, this is not staid, naval parade. The boats are usually highly decorated, although never more so than the crew, and music blares out ranging from camp disco classics to over the top opera. Actually, that is not much of a range, really, but what is most important is that on every boat everyone is having fun, dancing and otherwise shaking their thing (or things).
It's nearly always a very bouyant day, if you'll forgive the pun. It was marred last year by an American gay activist being beaten up by a gang of youths from a culture not as understanding of things not straight (which is actually all other cultures). But you'll noticed the gang picked on one man, not a boat full. Poofs!
This year I went to a party at the flat of a girl who was not there. She was on holiday and kindly allowed it to be used for a party on this day because of it's proximity to the canal. We have a great view which was only spoilt by the fact the parade was on a different canal.
But we had a good time none-the-less, and saw about three boats, two heading home and one lost.