NorCal Pride: big and small town celebrations
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June is recognized as Pride Month, but many of Northern California's Pride events continue on for months. These festivals may not have the big name entertainment or famous Grand Marshalls like San Francisco, but at their cores are groups of volunteers with big dreams and even bigger hearts. Take a look at some of the other Pride festivals coming up as the summer months come to an end.
Silicon Valley Pride
Saturday, Aug. 25, and Sunday, Aug. 26
The organizers of the festival in San Jose changed their name to Silicon Valley Pride, to include the Peninsula LGBTQ community, but the events are still centered in the city of San Jose itself. Along with the various fundraisers and drag brunches of every Pride, this year's celebration includes a Trans Rally on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Plaza de César Chávez. The main parade starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26, along Market St., before everyone heads back to Plaza de César Chávez again. Although the event that could be the most fun is the weekend before SV Pride: on August 18 and 19, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose will host "Proud of My Family," a two-day event celebrating LGBTQ persons of all ages. The schedule includes Drag Queen Story Hour on Aug. 19 at 3:30 p.m. Can someone loan us a kid so we can go to Drag Queen Story Hour? Please and thank you.
Russian River Pride
Saturday, Aug. 25, and Sunday, Aug. 26
Guerneville, Monte Rio and other small towns are known for their year-round vacation weekend for LGBT folks, but they've also got a lot of queer locals who like to put on a show, including a two-day festival of rainbow fun.
Friday, Aug. 24 includes a special Pride Art Walk in downtown Guerneville. Aug. 25's River Float with gaily decorated floats, kayaks and canoe contingents. Aug. 26 includes a river boat queens drag show with Mercedez Munro and crew, with DJed dancing at R3 Hotel and Resort.
Update: After the print edition of the Bay Area Reporter went to press, it was discovered that organizers have canceled the Pride parade and some of the events set for August 25-26. Other events listed may go forward. For more information, check out the Russian River Pride website: https://russianriverpride.org/
Stockton Pride, Saturday, Aug. 25
Who knew Stockton has its own Pride festival? The fest is organized by the staff of San Joaquin Pride Center, a delightful community center that supports the Stockton area with support groups and social events. Unlike many Pride events in smaller cities that are staged in random locations to save money, Stockton hosts their Pride right in the middle of town for all to enjoy, at Weber Point Events Center. There is a list of performers, with singers and drag queens and such, but does it matter? This is the kind of event that is fun to just browse, take it all in, and maybe get a snack. http://www.stocktonpride.com/
Oakland Pride, Sunday, Sept. 9
Technically the Oakland Pride parade and festival is Sept. 9, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the parade running along Broadway between 13th St. and 21st St. (Sometimes these shorter parades are fun, since things run quicker and the entries can be cute.) But there are events all week around town. Of note is The CMA - an Oakland Pride Open Mic, featuring comedians and musical acts, on Thursday, Sept. 6, 9 p.m. at Club BNB.
Watching the parade is free, obviously, since it there is no way to control who is standing on a street and watching a parade, but entry to the festival is $10. The gayest spot in the East Bay may not be the Pride festival, however; Berkeley Art Museum will host an outdoor screening of West Side Story, on its giant LED outdoor screen. Admission is free, singing along is optional, and dancing is not technically allowed, but how are you going to stop anyone from twirling on the grass? https://www.oaklandpride.org/
Redding Pride, Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22
If there has even been a town that needs a big party, that place is Redding. With the Carr Fire scorching thousands of acres of land all the way around Redding, it remains to be seen how the Pride festival will unfold. But if the organizers can make it happen, this could be a fun event. Imagine caravanning up to Redding to support the community (and spend some dollars) with attendance at this small-town Pride festival. Because that's what pride and community are all about. https://reddingpride.org/