CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Even though the larger San Diego LGBT Pride celebration has passed this year, it doesn't mean there is no more Pride in 2013. In fact, there are three more Pride celebrations happening in the region this year, with the South Bay Pride Art & Music Festival taking place Saturday from noon to 5 pm at Bayfront Park, Pride @ the beach on Oct. 12 in Oceanside, and Palm Springs Pride in November.
The South Bay festival, which is returning after a year's hiatus, is moving to a new location and expanding with new features and attractions that will provide something for everyone.
What started as a small picnic in 2006 to bring together LGBT families and residents in the Chula Vista and South Bay communities has turned into a full scale Pride festival with dancing, music, food, entertainment, information booths and more.
SDGLN spoke with Dae Elliot, one of the organizer's of this year's festival, who had the following to say about South Bay Pride 2013:
SDGLN: What is new and exciting about this year's festival?
Dae Elliot: You are right the new location is very exciting. It is on the bay and much larger allowing us multiple stages and a potential to grow. We have been wanting to do this for some time as Memorial Park was limited in what size we could be. In addition, the Bayfront Park is much more accessible and has the cool breezes and gorgeous backdrop of the sail boats and Coronado Bridge.
Other new things that we have? The Flak Productions DJ Dance stage with a great line up of local DJ's, including DJ Kristy Salazar, DJ Dank, DJ Kiki and DJ Nic Nac. Flak Productions has also promised some of their dancers to liven it up.
Also, although not new we have continued the "Got Talent" contest to allow a couple of our local up and coming singers to perform on stage.
We also have a juried selected group of some amazing local artists that will be displaying paintings, photography, sculpture, etc.
And finally, we have a chapel area where we will be having two weddings. Our couples won the wedding but also great packages that came with to celebrate the great changes that happened this year around marriage equality.
Why was South Bay Pride founded? Why is it so important?
South Bay Alliance, the organization that puts on South Bay Pride was founded in the fall of 2006. We had a small mini Pride celebration in 2007 at a local park but officially put on South Bay Pride Music Festival in 2008.
The importance for the same reason as South Bay Alliance was founded after Proposition 22. Our politicians and many people in south San Diego county felt that LGBT issues were not a local issue and we were told repeatedly that there just was not a large LGBT representation in South Bay. We've changed that perception a lot by holding this celebration, bringing home to business, community and politicians that the LGBT are their neighbors, family and friends.
We've also made tremendous strides as a community in this last year legally as well as in attitudes but there is much more to address. Our youth are still at risk of bullying, have higher suicide rates and are over represented in the homeless population because of the homophobic attitudes of many. South Bay is still more conservative in its views around LGBT than some of the other areas in the county (although I also think this may be overstated). Only visibility will change those attitudes and that perception. An event like this helps people to see the community for who we are not allow those that are homophobic and anti-gay to frame the conversation or define us.
Who should come to South Bay Pride?
This event is for everyone! It is a community event for the LGBT and our allies to celebrate our diversity, our right to love and the ideal of equality for all. I hope everyone that is in the South Bay and surrounding area turns out to support this celebration and show our solidarity around our theme "Diversity, Love and Equality for all"!
We've worked hard to provide something for all including the families with children through our Family Matters Children Garden, broad representation of music and a diverse set of exhibitors/vendors that cover community services as well as represent LGBT friendly businesses. We have even set up through Chula Vista Kayak a special on their tour of the National Wildlife Refuge leaving from the park. We want people to come spend the day enjoying themselves and affirming our Pride in who we are as individuals and as a community.
What are the future goals for South Bay Pride?
I would like to see us grow to multiple stages as a local music festival and art show but still stay a community based Pride event supporting local artists/entertainers and bringing together the LGBT friendly businesses and services with our LGBT and allies community. I also want to expand South Bay Alliance's outreach through their business listings to begin to bring together here in the south bay a resource for our community to find friendly businesses to support and network with.
In addition, I am hoping to bring to South Bay multiple supports for our youth including a small center that they can meet and that the community (both youth and adults) can come to for resources. As with all Pride events, this is both an outreach for visibility but also for raising the funds we need to assist and promote our local LGBT members.
Elliot also wanted to thank this year's South Bay Pride committee who worked tirelessly to bring this event back to the community, bigger and better than ever.
"As one of the founding board members of South Bay Alliance and someone who has been involved with this endeavor from the beginning, I would also like to especially thank Marci Bair and Craig Knudson (both founding board members) for being the dedicated public servants they are," Elliot said. "I also want to thank Laura Jane, Laurel McFarlane, Melanie Peters and Elizabeth Hannon who have assisted me in this above and beyond my every expectation. Everyone of the committee and the board deserves a tremendous amount of gratitude for their dedication and hard work."
If you go
South Bay Pride will take place at Bayfront Park, located on the bay adjacent to the "J" Street Marina in Chula Vista. Directions are HERE.
The event begins at noon and goes until 5 pm.
Admission is free but the South Bay Alliance welcomes donations to help offset costs.
South Bay Pride founder Marci Bair shares the history and purpose of the event