Excitement Building for Pride 2011

By Dell Richards

Excitement for the 2011 Pride parade and festival, held June 4th this year, is building. Capitol Mall near Tower Bridge will be the destination for the parade that starts at 10 a.m. on S Street and goes up 5th to the festival grounds. The celebration runs until 6 p.m.

Pride 2011 marks the 27th year of the biggest annual fundraiser for its parent organization, the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, which serves 30,000people annually.

  • WHO: Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center
  • WHAT: Pride 2011
  • WHEN: Saturday, June 4, 2011, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Parade also starts at 10 a.m.)
  • WHERE: Capitol Mall near Tower Bridge (Parade starts at S Street and goes up 5th Street)
  • WHY: Most entertaining event of the year and the biggest annual fundraiser for the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, which serves 30,000 people annually.
  • COST: A mere $10 for two stages, tons of entertainers, excitement and a whole day of fun. Children under 5 get in free.
  • For more information, please visit www.sacramentopride.org.

Club queen hit singer Luciana “I Like That” Caporaso and Sacramento native, Raquela “Confessions of a Disco Diva” are just two of the headliners featured on the two stages.  “We were extremely lucky to book Luciana and Raquela for the festival,” said Hilary Hodge, Pride Entertainment Manager. “Their music is a huge part of the dance club world.”

Spoken word activist, Jovi Radtke, is an inspiring addition to the line-up. “A joy to watch, she’s fun as well as an important voice for the women’s community,” said Hodge. Radtke has performed at rallies and benefits raising awareness of homeless and human trafficking as well as marriage equality.

Sierra Forever Families brings a family-friendly kid zone while Amtrak, the Midtown Business Association and Badlands are sponsoring the dance pavilion. Some 170 vendors, including food sellers, and nonprofit exhibitors always add interest.

“Even though it’s difficult because there are so many choices, we’re trying to satisfy everyone’s requests for different types of food,” said Josh Jacoby, Pride director, of this year’s event. Nearly 12,000 are expected this year. Another 400 people have volunteered to help, but more are needed.  Volunteers work three-to-four hour shifts, depending on the job. They receive free admission and a Pride t-shirt.

From the 2010 Pride Parade

This year, Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel again became the major sponsor. Comcast Corporation, Hewlett- Packard, SMUD and Markstein Beverage Company also are giving money to ensure the success of this year’s event. Many other local sponsors,  such as Outword magazine and Faces, help offset costs. Even the City of Sacramento helps fund the event through a grant.

“We were very thankful for having the same amount of funding from the city this year that we did last year, given the economy,” said Jacoby.

The Sacramento pride event started in 1984 to raise awareness and acceptance of alternative lifestyles.  Although progress has been made since then, youth have a particularly hard time dealing with the realization they are gay.

Depending on the self-definition, gay and lesbian people make up 10 percent of the population. Yet, gay youth are four times more likely than their peers to commit suicide. For every completed suicide, there are an estimated 100-to-200 attempts. In addition, gays often are bullied in school and rejected by their families.

As a result of social and religious pressures, 40 percent of homeless gay and lesbian youth end up on the streets when parents find out they are gay. For the past 25 years, the Center has been a vital part of the Sacramento community, providing a safe environment in which gay people can come to terms with who they are.

The Center serves 30,000 people annually with programs and services that include a legal clinic, sign language classes, Lavender Angels that patrol midtown on weekends and a homeless youth initiative. The Center also holds peer programs for families, youth, 20-somethings, transgender, people with HIV/AIDS, men, women and bisexuals.

To sign up as a volunteer, visit https://www.sacramentopride.org/volunteer.  For questions about volunteering, please email volunteer@saccenter.org.  

A former journalist turned PR maven, guest blogger Dell Richards runs Dell Richards Publicity, a Sacramento public relations firm. Pride 2011 is one of her clients.

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