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San Diego's North County to celebrate LGBT Pride on Saturday

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- While it has been a monumental year for the North County LGBT Coalition as it moves forward with its plans to build a permanent LGBTQ Resource Center in the area, the group has stayed true to its roots, continuing to produce the "Pride @ the Beach!" celebration.

North County's annual Pride event will be held this Saturday, Oct. 8, from 11 am to 6 pm at Betty's Lot near the Oceanside Pier.

The event will include many of the attractions the LGBT community has come to expect at these types of celebrations, including music, entertainment, food and information booths.

The North County LGBT Coalition was formed in 2008 to unite the LGBT people, groups, and organizations in the North County to create visibility and improve the lives of LGBT people in the region.

Even though the northern portion of the county is, at most, a 40-minute drive from central San Diego and its bustling LGBT district centered around Hillcrest and North Park, many in North County say they feel geographically isolated.

In an interview with Lavender Lens, Tina Leight-Rhodes, a board member of the North County LGBT Coalition, said that many in her community told the group that they wanted social events to bring North County residents together.

"The distance between North County and Hillcrest is significant enough that many here in the LGBT community stayed at home or in the smaller groups rather than driving that 30+ minutes to get involved in San Diego," Leight-Rhodes said.

"Pride @ the Beach! began as a way for the LGBT community to get together once a year and to educate everyone about other organizations and/or gay-friendly businesses in north county. Having a Pride event allows the community not only to have a safe and fun place to go, but also shows North County that we are here. Pride allows us to be visible and show that we just like to have fun as much as anyone else."

The event also serves as a fundraiser for the group's annual GSA Awards, which recognize the work of the Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at local middle and high schools.

Over 2,500 people are expected to attend the event and enjoy the day's entertainment.

The popular Laura Jane will serve as the emcee and introduce the following:

11 am: Opening of Pride with Laura Jane

Noon: Introduction of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center

1 pm: Assemblymember Toni Atkins

1:15 pm: Rompe Corazones

1:40 pm: Joshua Napier

2 pm: Diversity Arts Performance

2:30 pm: San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus

3 pm: Tronada Dee

3:30 pm: San Diego Women’s Chorus

4:30 pm: Street Spirit

5 pm: DJ, dancing and music

Tickets to the Pride festival are $5 and can be purchased online.

With normal traffic conditions, the drive from Hillcrest to the Pride @ the Beach! site is about 30 minutes. For driving directions, click HERE. For information about parking, click HERE.

For more information, click HERE.

Left photos: Credit Xena Warrior