NorCal Pride parades, festivals start soon

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday May 22, 2024
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People marched in last year's San Mateo County Pride parade. Photo: Courtesy San Mateo County Pride
People marched in last year's San Mateo County Pride parade. Photo: Courtesy San Mateo County Pride

The start of Pride Month in June ushers in a bevy of parades, festivals, and other events in Northern California aimed at recognizing the LGBTQ community. It all leads up, of course, to the mammoth San Francisco Pride parade at the end of next month.

Sonoma County

Sonoma County will hold its 39th annual Pride parade and festival Saturday, June 1. This year's theme is "Heroes, Sheroes, and Queeroes." The festival takes place at the Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa and will feature entertainment, vendors, food, and more.

Kicking off the weekend will be the Pride flag raising ceremony Friday, May 31, at 11 a.m. The flag will be raised on top of the Rosenberg Building, a historic landmark located at the corner of Mendocino Avenue and Fourth Street in Santa Rosa.

The parade the following day starts at 11 a.m. on Fourth Street downtown.

Several people are being recognized by Sonoma Pride. One of those is longtime gay activist Cleve Jones, who lives in Guerneville. Jones co-founded the AIDS Memorial Quilt and once worked for the late San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk. Last year, Jones helped launch the new Russian River Pride that took place in Guerneville last October, as the Bay Area Reporter noted.

Other honorees include Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality case, Obergefell v. Hodges. He also co-founded Equality Vines, a cause-based wine label that supports equality organizations through premium wines.

Scotty King is being recognized for his work as the LGBT+ liaison at the Sebastopol Area Senior Center. "His dedication to inclusivity has made a significant impact on the center's support for the LGBTQ+ community," stated Sonoma Pride's website. "Over the past six years, Scotty has organized fun and educational events and provided valuable resources to those in need."

Zoe Dunning, a lesbian, will be honored for her work fighting to end the military's homophobic "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy more than a decade ago. A retired Navy commander, Dunning came out as a lesbian publicly in 1993, challenging the Pentagon's ban on homosexuals. She successfully fought two military discharge boards.

Sherri Hoeffling is being recognized for her years of community service to Sonoma County's women's community. A stage producer, she made an impact on events such as Russian River Women's Weekend.

Aria Lorena Bonifacio exhibited resilience after facing religious and family disagreements regarding their sexuality and relationships. Today, they serve as the queer student programmer at Santa Rosa Junior College's Queer Resource Center and as a peer coach at the Santa Rosa Intercultural Center.

Felix (Pati) Santiago Reyes identifies as queer and nonbinary and works as a queer programmer at Santa Rosa Junior College's Queer Resource Center.

There will be several other Pride-related events. The official after-party — sha-BLAM "Holding Out for a Hero" — is June 1 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Flamingo Resort and Spa, 2777 Fourth Street in Santa Rosa. This is a 21+ event and general admission tickets are $20.

Sunday, June 2, sees the return of the popular Wigs and Waffles Drag Brunch at Graton Resort and Casino's 630 Park Steakhouse, located at 288 Golf Course Drive, West, in nearby Rohnert Park. General admission is $85.

Also on Sunday will be the Atlantis pool party at Graton from noon to 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $40 and up.

For more information, including how to purchase tickets, for the various Pride events, go to


Pacifica in northern San Mateo County will hold its third annual Pride parade and festival Saturday, June 1. The parade starts at 11:30 a.m. while the festival goes until 2:30 p.m. at Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School, 1427 Palmetto Avenue in Pacifica.

For more information go to

Pride in the Presidio

The Presidio Trust will be having its Pride in the Presidio Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Presidio Tunnel Tops, 210 Lincoln Boulevard in San Francisco. An announcement stated that there will be queer history hikes, book giveaways with the San Francisco Public Library's James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, a drag story hour, and a tea dance celebration with the Music Connects Foundation.

The activities are all drop-in. The events are free.

For more information, visit


Richmond Rainbow Pride will have its 10th annual festival Sunday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza in the East Bay city. This year's theme is "A Decade in Unity and Community." There will be a parade prior to the festival, a Facebook announcement stated.

Gay Richmond City Councilmember Cesar Zepeda will be there.

"Won't miss it for anything," he stated in a Facebook message. He noted the 10-year anniversary and small parade that will take place this year.

For more information, go to

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz holds its Pride weekend in early June, with the parade and festival set for Sunday, June 2. This year's theme is "Beacon of Pride." The 49th annual parade starts at 11 a.m. in downtown Santa Cruz. The festival takes place from noon to 4 p.m., also downtown. Santa Cruz Pride is a fiscally sponsored program of the Diversity Center, the city's longtime LGBTQ community space.

This year's grand marshals are Elaine Johnson and Pat Dellin. Johnson is president of the Santa Cruz NAACP and executive director of Housing Santa Cruz, according to Santa Cruz Pride's website. Dellin is a former board member of the Diversity Center who works to preserve LGBTQ history.

Preceding the Pride parade will be the Santa Cruz Dyke and Trans March Saturday, June 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. Themed "A Call to Activism," it will begin at the Santa Cruz Town Clock. There will be speakers and performers.

For more information on the weekend's events, go to


The East Bay city of Clayton in Contra Costa County will hold its third annual Pride parade Sunday, June 2, beginning at 10 a.m. on Main Street.

Among those taking part will be gay Contra Costa County Supervisor Ken Carlson.

"I will be in it," he texted to the B.A.R.

Other elected and community leaders will also be on hand.

According to its website, Clayton Pride works to create a city where LGBTQQIA+ people thrive as healthy and equal members of society through advocating for respect, equity, and justice, and work to build a culturally rich community for members and allies.

For more information, visit


Another East Bay city that will celebrate Pride is Concord, which will have its annual festival Sunday, June 2, from 3 to 9 p.m. at Todos Santos Plaza, 2175 Willow Pass Road. The Rainbow Community Center is co-sponsoring the event, along with LGBTQ nightclub Club 1220.

Concord Pride's Facebook page stated that there will be entertainment, food vendors, beer and wine vendors, and community organizations.

An after-party will be held at Club 1220, located at 1220 Pine Street in Walnut Creek.

For more information visit the Concord Pride Facebook page.

San Mateo County

San Mateo County will observe Pride with its 12th annual festival Saturday, June 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at San Mateo Central Park, 50 East Fifth Avenue in the Peninsula city. This year's theme is "Love at our Core, Pride in 2024."

The second annual Pride parade starts at 10:30 a.m. at Second and B streets and will end at the park.

There will be live entertainment, a DJ, resource and vendor booths, and family-friendly activities. Food trucks will be on site. This is an alcohol-free event and admission is free.

Stanford Health, the San Mateo County Pride Center, the San Mateo County Pride Initiative, the San Mateo LGBTQ Commission, the county's behavioral health services department, the San Mateo County Fair, and Outlet, a program of Adolescent Counseling Services, are co-sponsoring the event. Funding is provided by Measure K local funds.

For more information, go to

Sacramento will hold its Pride March and festival near the state Capitol. Photo: Kelly B. Huston Photography  

The capital city will hold its Pride weekend Saturday, June 8, from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 9, from noon to 6. The festival, taking place both days, will be on the Sacramento Capitol Mall (Seventh Street to Third Street, between L and N streets).

A news release stated there will be two stages showcasing local and regional LGBTQ+ artists alongside "RuPaul's Drag Race" stars Jaida Essence Hall, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, and Jorgeous. Hundreds of vendors are expected, and will offer unique finds, food from SacToMoFo, beverages (alcoholic and mocktails), and community resource booths.

The Pride March takes place Sunday at Southside Park at 11 a.m. where hundreds of contingents will go down to the Capitol.

The parade is free to watch; festival tickets start at $17 for adult general admission, with lower prices for seniors and kids. VIP and other package options are also available.

The release noted that for everyone's safety, bag checks and security screenings will be conducted upon entry to the festival.

Sacramento Pride is a program of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Thelma Houston, Grammy Award-winning singer of the classic hit "Don't Leave Me This Way," will headline a new Pride event in Oakland Sunday, June 9. The Oakland Rainbow Fair seeks to highlight the city's new Lakeshore LGBTQ Cultural District and is being presented by the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, which anchors the district.

The event, which is free, takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Splash Pad Park, located at Grand Avenue and Lake Park, across the street from the Grand Lake Theatre.

Also slated to perform is singer-songwriter Thea Austin, from the popular 1990s dance/house music recording group Snap.

The Rainbow Fair will feature community vendors, a children/family play area, elders seating area, food vendors, and more.

Admission is free. For more information, visit

Oakland's annual Pride parade and festival takes place Sunday, September 8.

Half Moon Bay
It's back to northern San Mateo County on Sunday, June 9, for Half Moon Bay's Pride festivities. There will be a parade down Main Street at noon, followed by a festival that runs until 5 p.m. Live performances and themed activities will be featured.

For more information go to

Sausalito, just north from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, will celebrate Pride with a series of events. There will be a Town Night Out Thursday, June 20, from 5 to 9 p.m. on California Street at Johnson. Friday, June 21, will see a Pride reception at the Sausalito Center for the Arts, 750 Bridgeway. It takes place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Immediately following will be Pride Night at Jazz and Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park, located at Anchor Street and Humboldt Avenue. It is hosted by the city of Sausalito.

Finally, on Saturday, June 22, from 7 to 10 p.m., there will be "A Night in Drag," which is a benefit for Sausalito Pride. It takes place at Gene Hiller Menswear, 729 Bridgeway. Tickets start at $100.

For more information, including tickets to the benefit, visit

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