World-class gay pride parades in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Vancouver drew impressive numbers of people over the weekend. The triumvirate attracted a stonking 1.5 million men, women, boyfriends and girlfriends, and pink families.

In Vancouver, a 30th anniversary pride parade reached half a million participants for the first time. “We don't have any official numbers yet, but it looks like almost 30 per cent increase,” John Boychuk, president of the Vancouver Pride Society, told The Vancouver Sun. “People are having so much fun, it's incredible.”

Sahran Abeysundara, the current co-chair of the board of trustees of Equal Ground, a Sri Lanka based GLBT political rights group, officiated as grand marshall. Paradegoers screamed praise on the activist who was visibly moved.

“In his country you can go to jail for being gay,” Boychuk said. “Be proud to be Canadian today...I am.”

Another gay party drew half a million revelers to a floating parade down the historic canals of Amsterdam on Saturday.

Boats participating in the event included men and women dressed as cowboys, angels and devils, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

One boat served as a reminder of the plight of gays and lesbians throughout the world where homosexuality is illegal – it remained empty.

“The parade serves a dual purpose: to celebrate that we can be who we are and that we can do it in the open, and to be visible, building acceptance of homosexuality,” said organizer Frank van Dalen. “ We are here for the party but also for the struggle.”

It was the 13th annual parade for the city and the first to include members of the Dutch cabinet and Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen.

Finally, Stockholm played host to the annual EuroPride festival, where 500,000 people braved pouring rain to participate in a colorful parade on Saturday, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). Organizers had expected 600,000 participants, but believed many stayed away because of the rain.

“The weather has been terrible, so we're thrilled so many came,” EuroPride spokeswoman Anna Soederstroem told AFP.

The week-long festival takes place in a different European city each summer. Organizers have already announced Zurich as their 2009 host city and Warsaw – a first for Eastern Europe – for the next year.

Sweden is one of the most liberal countries in Europe. Since 1995 the government has recognized couples with civil unions, but officials say they are moving towards gay marriage.