Silicon Valley Pride is ready to roll

  • by Eric Burkett, Assistant Editor
  • Monday August 22, 2022
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Drag artists and more will be part of the crowd at Silicon Valley Pride August 27-28. Photo: Courtesy Silicon Valley Pride
Drag artists and more will be part of the crowd at Silicon Valley Pride August 27-28. Photo: Courtesy Silicon Valley Pride

After pulling together the only large scale Pride celebration in the COVID-flattened Bay Area in 2021, Silicon Valley Pride is back this month with its weeklong observation that culminates with Pride weekend August 27-28.

Themed "Proudly Authentic," this year's event features several days' worth of activities, from drag bingo to a showing of the campy, big-budget flop movie "Burlesque" starring Cher and Christina Aguilera, on top of the parade and festival itself.

The Pride flag-raising at San Jose City Hall will take place Thursday, August 25, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at 200 East Santa Clara Street.

The weekend festival will feature a "Hey Girl" area and stage to celebrate queer women and femme-identified community members; live visual art exhibitions; a cocktail lounge; and food trucks, among other vendors.

Extending over two days, the festival, at Plaza de César Chávez Park in downtown San Jose, begins Saturday, August 27, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will feature headliners Ada Vox, from "American Idol" and "RuPaul's Queen of the Universe;" another "American Idol" veteran, David Hernandez; and queer pop artist SuperKnova. The festival picks up again right after the parade on Sunday, August 28, from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature singer Willie Gomez; "American Idol" alum Jessica Gomez; as well as Pussycat Dolls singer Carmit; and lesbian singing duo BriaAndChrissy.

The parade itself begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and wraps up at noon, while running from Julian and Market streets to Plaza de César Chávez Park.

While 2019's SVP events drew up to 15,000 people, organizers are expecting a smaller turnout this year, said Saldy Suriben, a gay man and chief marketing officer for the organization. On the other hand, turnout could be anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 people, he suggested, adding that the event always draws a lot of folks from Santa Clara County, as well as Santa Cruz and Sacramento.

Admission to the festival is $5.

While there won't be any monkeypox vaccinations at Pride, there will be opportunities to get on the vaccination list, thanks to the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, which will have a presence at both the evening and day festivals, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

They'll be "sharing educational material around MPX and directing people to where they can find vaccine appointments," according to a statement from the health agency. "Public Health is also assisting eligible individuals who are having challenges setting up appointments. In addition to MPX, the Public Health booth is sharing resources on free STD testing, tobacco and diabetes prevention, and general public health information."

For the week leading up to the festival and parade, several events — all free — are planned. On Monday, August 22, Drag Bingo with drag hostesses Jackie Layshun and Manang from 6 to 9 p.m. at S27 Alehouse and Brewery, 461 Perrymont Avenue, San Jose; and Drag Queen Cooking Showdown August 23 — pitting drag queen Catinni P Vandon against Sexen City — at The Plex, from 6 to 8 p.m., 800 Embedded Way, San Jose.

For those looking for a little dancing action, Black & Pink Pride Dance Party, for women and woman-identified folks, will be held August 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Holiday Inn San Jose Silicon Valley, 1350 N. First Street, San Jose. The showing of "Burlesque," as part of "Out at the Park," takes place Friday, August 26, from 6 to 10 p.m., Excite Ballpark, 588 E. Alma Street, San Jose.

The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center will have a strong presence at this year's event with several booths scattered around various areas of the festival, said Gabrielle Antolovich, president of the board of directors for the center.

Booth activities will include spin-the-wheel-for-prizes, information about the center and its services, as well as a mask-decorating booth for kids, featuring the remaining masks from a shipment of 9,500 plain, white masks the center received, inexplicably, from Ford Motor Company last year, said Antolovich.

Ford had emailed her asking if she wanted the masks, she said, and after replying, "Sure, why not?" she forgot about the offer until UPS dropped off several large boxes filled with the masks. Now, they're a fun activity for kids, where they'll decorate them with all kinds of bling, Antolovich said.

Once all that celebrating, parading, and mask-decorating is done, there will be one more event in the Qmunity District. For those who aren't ready to stop celebrating, Qmunity is holding its Quench Pride Encore Party, beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday, August 28. Featuring food and drinks from several Qmunity businesses, the party will also include entertainment from myriad performers and DJs, including RuPaul's DeJa Skye and Mariah Paris Balenciaga; DJs Cla Pessoa, Pumpkin Spice; as well as performers Alpha Andromeda, Julianna Budgett, Sasha Devaroe, and Anthony. Admission is free.

For more information, click here.

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