OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- The local LGBT Pride circuit continues with North County Pride @ The Beach, taking place Saturday, Oct. 12.
This community event, intended to bring visibility to the large LGBT community in San Diego County's northern cities, is one of the most beautiful events of its type, taking place just steps from the Oceanside beach.
This year marks the sixth anniversary of the event and organizers are planning for it to be the biggest yet.
Residents of the North County communities often feel isolated from activities in San Diego's central core. At its farthest point, drive times to Hillcrest and Downtown San Diego can take as long as 45 minutes in normal traffic conditions. Many organizations have created North County satellites over the years, including what was then called the San Diego Gay & Lesbian Center, which launched the North County Center in 1998.
Located in San Marcos, the North County Center moved several times before closing due to budgetary constraints.
In 2008, the North County LGBT Coalition was formed to reunite all of the LGBT organizations and groups in North County, hoping to give a voice and create visibility. The first North County Pride @ The Beach event was held that year with approximately 800 attendees.
Attendance nearly tripled at the event's second year, with over 2,000 participants in 2009 - and the event continues to grow.
In 2011, the North County LGBTQ Coalition opened a physical space, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, and now goes by that name.
This year's event will feature many of the attractions that community members have come to expect from these types of events, including vendor booths, food, entertainment, and resources.
John Jones, who took on the role of Pride @ The Beach director this year, had this to say about this year's event:
"Pride @ The Beach 2013, North County San Diego's only LGBTQ Pride Festival, is unlike anything you've seen before - with free and confidential HIV testing services, numerous vendors, delicious food, and amazing live entertainment - including Selene Luna, Margaret Cho's sassy side-kick.
"Pride @ The Beach is 100% family-friendly, and with help from our friends at Family Matters, we are proud to offer a children's garden. Come down, get a tan, and check out Pride @ The Beach on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 11 am- to 6pm."
As an added bonus, the beach is just steps away.
North County Pride @ The Beach has put together a diverse lineup of entertainment this year, featuring headliner Selene Luna.
Luna's bio follows:
A trail-blazing little person in the entertainment world, Selene Luna, at 3 feet 10 inces, is a small package with a very big presence. Luna tours internationally and performs regularly with the undisputed Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese. Luna is probably best known for her role in Lionsgate's feature, My Bloody Valentine 3D, and her role as Margaret Cho's assistant in Vh1s The Cho Show - a performance that landed her a nomination for MTV LOGO's NewNowNext: Brink of Fame: Comic Award. To date, Luna has written and performed six original one-woman shows and her stand-up comedy has led her to work alongside comedy legends Roseanne Barr and Robin Williams. Luna's most celebrated stand-up comedy credit has been opening for Margaret Cho's MOTHER Tour, summer 2012-spring 2013.
Additional performances by
San Diego Women's Chorus
Click HERE for additional information about the entertainment and for the updated scheduled.
A mass wedding ceremony is being planned for the event at 5 pm.
Organizers are looking for couples to participate in a legal wedding ceremony, taking place at the festival site. Since marriage equality recently returned to California, North County Pride @ The Beach is inviting all legally consenting couples over the age of 18 who have obtained a marriage license through the County Clerk's office to participate.
Couples who wish to renew their vows are also welcome to participate.
Additional information and registration details are HERE.
If you go
All tickets are sold at the gate. General admission is $5, and active duty military will be admitted free.
Pride @ The Beach will take place in Betty's Lot, near the Oceanside Pier. Betty's Lot is located at 236 N. The Strand in Oceanside.
Directions from San Diego to the venue are posted HERE.
The event's hours are 11 am to 6 pm.
For additional information, click HERE.
Left photo: Headliner Selene Luna.