News Briefs: Alameda County Fair to hold Pride celebration

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday June 14, 2023
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People took selfies and waved Pride flags during a previous Out at the Fair at the Alameda County Fair. Photo: Courtesy Alameda County Fair
People took selfies and waved Pride flags during a previous Out at the Fair at the Alameda County Fair. Photo: Courtesy Alameda County Fair

The Alameda County Fair kicks off Friday, June 16, and will include a special Pride celebration Sunday, June 18, featuring Out at the Fair, an organization that works to increase LGBTQ presence at county fairs in California and other states.

According to Out at the Fair's website, the LGBTQ-themed programming will take place on the grandstand stage from noon to 6 p.m. Performers include Erica Ambrin and the Eclectic Soul Project, KingQueen, Jeffrey Chan, and Winter Grain. There will also be a Glam Show at 5:30.

Other events include an Out at the Fair storytime and giveaways.

Out at the Fair has been participating at the Alameda County Fair since 2018, a spokesperson stated.

The fair itself runs through July 9 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. daily. The fair is closed Mondays and Tuesdays except for July 3-4, a news release stated. Carnival rides are open from 1 p.m. to closing.

Concerts will take place each night except July 4, starting at 8 p.m. Groups include tribute bands such as Bee Gees Gold (June 18), Queen Nation (June 24), and George Michael Reborn (July 1). There's also a nightly drone show at 9:30, except July 4.

In addition to entertainment, the fair will have plenty of rides, traditional fair foods, and new items with an international twist, like the Korean corn dog, Boba, and Musubi rice snacks, the release stated.

There will be family-friendly movies as part of the fair's "Movies on the Lawn" series, FMX Motorcross shows, and merchandise vendors.

On Saturday, June 17, the West Coast qualifiers for Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place at 3 p.m. The top three male and female qualifiers will punch their ticket to the finals, which take place July 4 on Coney Island in New York.

Advance general admission to the fair, until June 15, is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (62+) and kids (6-12) Parking is $13. Unlimited carnival plus the Sky Ride is $32, valid for any one day. Those prices increase after Thursday by a few dollars.

There are various promotions and special days. For more information, visit

Celebration at Alameda County library

After a drag storytime event was rudely disrupted by alleged members of the Proud Boys at the Alameda County library in San Lorenzo a year ago, staff implemented "Every Month is Pride Month," which featured LGBTQ programming for 12 months. Now, the end of the formal program will be commemorated with a special celebration Saturday, June 17, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and followed by an afternoon of fun for the whole family. It coincides with "Queer Comics Expo," the last program in the series.

Every Month is Pride Month programming amplified the stories, talents, and creativity in the LGBTQIA+ community, a news release stated. The upcoming program will feature speaker panels and appearances by queer authors and artists, crafts, cosplay, comic and zine creation, community resources, and prize drawings.

Cindy Chadwick, Ph.D., Alameda County librarian, is expected to make remarks. She wrote an op-ed for the Bay Area Reporter last August discussing why drag story hours were important for public libraries. She will be joined by Sergio Ardila, LGBTQ+ policy adviser to Alameda County Supervisor Lena Tam, and other community members.

The release noted that while Every Month is Pride Month is ending, Alameda County Library will continue to offer LGBTQIA+ programming.

"Every Month is Pride Month has been a success, not just with supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, but with developing an innovative programming model that other libraries can adopt," the release stated. "Alameda County Library has received both national and state awards for the achievements of Every Month is Pride Month."

The library received an honorable mention for the Urban Libraries Council 2023 Innovation Awards in the advocacy and awareness category. It was also named the recipient of the Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award, given by the California Library Association.

The San Lorenzo Library is located at 395 Paseo Grande.

Fleurs de Villes features mannequins adorned with lavish floral displays. Photo: Courtesy Fleurs de Villes  

Heklina's image to be featured at flower show
The late drag queen Heklina will be one of several local LGBTQ people whose images will be adorned in flowers at the Pride-themed Fleurs de Villes show that opens Friday, June 16, at the San Francisco Mint, 88 Fifth Street.

The touring show uses floral mannequins representing local queer icons who've made a significant impact on the city's LGBTQ community, according to a news release. About 13 local florists have been tapped to help design the floral displays.

Heklina, the drag persona of Stefan Grygelko, died April 3 in London. A former San Francisco resident, Heklina had moved a few years ago to the Palm Springs area after selling her stake in the Oasis LGBTQ nightclub South of Market.

Others who will be depicted as floral mannequins include Peaches Christ (Joshua Grannell), a drag artist and good friend of Heklina's; slain supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California; the late Ken Jones, a gay man who was the first Black president of the San Francisco Pride board; Nguyen Pham, a gay Vietnamese man who is the current SF Pride board president; Dr. Nasser Mohamed, a 2023 SF Pride community grand marshal; and late lesbian pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Martin.

Congressmember Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), a straight ally, will be depicted, as well the late trans leader Marsha P. Johnson and the late gay activist Bayard Rustin. The late rainbow flag co-creator Gilbert Baker, outgoing Transgender District President and Chief Strategist Aria Sa'id, and late disco singer Sylvester will be shown as floral mannequins.

The late Jose Julio Sarria, a gay Latino veteran and founder of the Imperial Court System; bi comedian Margaret Cho; trans activist Mia Satya; and Tongva-Ajachmem artist L. Frank will also have floral mannequins featured.

Suzanne Ford, a trans woman who is executive director of SF Pride, praised the upcoming show.

"Inspired by the vibrant spirit of the LGBTQ+ community, Fleurs de Villes is beautifully weaving the essence of our heroes into breathtaking floral sculptures, including one of our very own SF Pride president, Nguyen Pham," she stated.

The release noted that the show is inspired by SF Pride's theme, "Looking Back and Moving Forward."

The show runs through July 3. Tickets are $35 for adults, $28 for seniors, and $15 for kids, and can be purchased at

Summer Pride well-being fair
Mukunda Studio and Tendwell Collective will hold their third seasonal well-being fair timed with Pride Month Sunday, June 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the studio, 1250 Folsom Street, second floor, in San Francisco.

According to a news release, there will be eight in-person presenters sharing information and offering mini-sessions to attendees. The fair will also be livestreamed. A plant-based lunch and beverages will be provided for the in-person event.

Makunda Studio is a gay, Asian-mixed race-owned yoga and well-being facility that Marc Morozumi opened in March 2020, just as the COVID lockdown commenced. As a result, classes and private sessions shifted online. Since then, the studio opened its doors and offers a hybrid experience, with simultaneous in-person and online classes.

Tendwell Collective is a San Francisco-based wellness platform that connects values-aligned studio partners and facilitators with individuals and organizations overlooked by the mainstream wellness industry, the release stated.

The cost for the well-being fair is sliding scale $108-$144. To register or for more information, go to

Gay SF supes hold Pride reception
The three gay members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hold a Pride at City Hall reception Thursday, June 15, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 278 at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

The event, hosted by Supervisors Rafael Mandelman (District 8), Matt Dorsey (D6), and Joel Engardio (D4), will also include an art showcase to celebrate young LGBTQ artists. There will be refreshments.

To RSVP, go to

Summer solstice celebration
Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture and its resident partners will hold the second annual Summer Solstice Celebration and Art Walk Wednesday, June 21, from 5 to 9 p.m. at 2 Marina Boulevard in San Francisco. The event marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.

The event, which is free and open to the public with registration, features a variety of exhibitions, performances, artist and curator talks, and artmaking activities presented by FMCAC and its partners.

"We are excited to expand on last year's full-house summer solstice program to showcase our resident organizations' incredible art and cultural programming," stated Frank Smigiel, FMCAC director of arts programming and partnerships. "For visitors, this is a fantastic opportunity to sample several flavors of San Francisco's arts and culture scene in one place, with a side of incredible bay and bridge views."

For more information and to sign up, go to

Bayard Rustin Coalition Pride reception
The Bayard Rustin Coalition will hold a Pride reception Friday, June 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. at ULA Restaurant, 450 Post Street in San Francisco.

A flyer states that attendees will enjoy African diaspora art, music, and food and beverages. The San Francisco Pride parade community grand marshals will be honored, along with Black community leaders. This year's Pride grand marshals include Dr. Nas Mohamed, a Qatari physician and LGBTQ activist; Honey Mahogany, a trans nonbinary person who is chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and district director for Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco); Laura Lala-Chávez, a nonbinary person who is executive director of LYRIC, the queer youth organization; Breonna McCree, a trans health care advocate and educator; and Paul Aguilar, a gay longtime HIV survivor and AIDS advocate.

Rustin, the coalition's namesake, was a gay Black civil rights leader who was a confidante of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rustin, who died in 1987, was posthumously pardoned by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020 for a 1953 arrest in Pasadena, California, on vagrancy charges that led to jail time and inclusion on the sex offender registry, as the B.A.R. previously reported.

The upcoming reception is co-hosted by Soul of Pride. All are welcome. To RSVP, contact 415-690-8572

Trans soccer games in SF
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will present Trans-Tastic Soccer Games Saturday, June 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the James P. Lang Soccer Fields, at Gough Street and Golden Gate Avenue.

Co-hosted by Kicking Out Transphobia and the Queer Trans Sports Alliance, the day will include matches for kids and adults, a flyer stated.

Youth games, for those ages 8-16, take place from 9 to 11 a.m. with an 8:15 check-in. Adult games (ages 17 and older) take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a 10:15 check-in time. A $10 entry fee includes a T-shirt, snacks, and water.

For more information, click here.

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