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Back out With Benny: A very wet but very memorable Pride

Rain is not something we think of when we think about the annual San Diego LGBT Pride celebration. In fact, Pride organizers moved San Diego’s Pride events to July many years ago to ensure good weather (among other reasons).

In the 19 years I’ve participated in Pride here, never have I seen anything like we witnessed last weekend — a parade drenched by a rainstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning, followed by grey skies and showers all weekend. It was bizarre, it was uncomfortable, it was wet, but the party sure went on!

We had a lot to celebrate this past weekend, and it was incredible to watch almost all of the parade contingents carry on — soaking wet — and with smiles on their faces. As I’ve always said, “It never rains on our parade” — and although it may have literally rained, it certainly didn’t dampen any spirits.

A huge thanks to all of the San Diego Pride staff and volunteers for carrying on and making this another memorable weekend for all to enjoy!

On Friday night of Pride, I had a great time stopping by the Rob Benzon Launch Party to serve as the emcee for the fashion show at the event, presented by Mankind. Because I’ve always been busy participating in other Pride Friday events like the Stonewall Rally and the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, I had actually never attended this event — and it was phenomenal. Packed with well-dressed people, filled with food, drinks, and entertainment, and a great energy all around. Big thanks to Mankind for asking me to emcee their fashion show, where I had a great time hanging out with the models who were wearing a lot less than the rest of the crowd!

And even though Pride is now behind us, there is still so much going on around the community, with some of my favorite summer events on the horizon, including what many in the community refer to as “Pride Lite” — Hillcrest CityFest on Sunday, Aug. 9 from noon to 11 p.m.

If you’re new to town or have just never been to CityFest, you’re in for a treat. The daylong event is a massive street party (one of the biggest such events in town), filled with entertainment, vendors, food, drinks, dancing and more. It’s the biggest #SundayFunday of the year and it closes with a massive nighttime dance party under the Hillcrest sign! While there, don’t forget to check out The Center’s #BeTheGeneration booth and get your photo taken! More information about CityFest is HERE.

The day before CityFest is the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation’s annual Reunion Party. This classy event scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, benefits The Center’s Senior Services and other LGBT senior programs. I had a great time at this event last year, and can’t wait to participate this year! “Queer as Folk” and “Talk Soup” star Hal Sparks is scheduled to be there, as well (check out Editor Morgan M. Hurley’s interview with him in this week’s issue). More information and tickets to this event are HERE.

Read the full column on SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego HERE.