Top 8 Best Memories of Sacramento Pride Festival

The Sacramento Pride Festival kicks off this Saturday – June 6th at Sacramento’s Capitol Mall 3rd-7th Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More than 15,000 visitors are expected for the festival and parade, and the featured all-day live entertainment this year. With headliner Belinda Carlisle, the Dance Pavilion, Pet Pavilion, Kids Zone, Art Zone, and hundreds of business and non-profit exhibits, this years festivities are sure to offer something for everyone.

To celebrate the 31st annual Pride Festival tradition we asked the Sacramento Pride Planning Committee to share their favorite memories from years past. This dedicated group of volunteers has been a part of planning Sacramento Pride for many years.

The Planning Committee was really excited to share their top memories – some are touching, some are funny but it is a great perspective from a behind the scenes group!


Top 8 Best Memories of Sacramento Pride Festival (from the organizers of Sac Pride)

1.      Several years back a waitress at Eppie’s restaurant told the organizers that she found out her teenage son was going to attempt suicide. She told them that she took him to Sac Pride that year to show him that being Gay was OK and that the event saved his life.

2.      When I moved to California from Texas I did not know a single soul. My introduction to the Gay Community in Sacramento was attending Pride. Attending the festival fostered many friendships that still last today. Being able to surround myself in a safe space in a new state allowed me to flourish and put down roots. I am proud to do my part to ensure that Pride can continue to be the excellent community platform that it is.

3.      Rainbows under the rain. To cancel or not to cancel, that was the question one year – but gays have weathered worst storms and come out victorious. Rain or shine, the gay community came out to party and have fun… especially on the one day a year we can show our Pride in a monumental way by gathering together to enjoy being free. The youth with a natural free spirit and the older generation with weathered experience and a feeling of accomplishment. Whatever your reason and whatever the weather, everyone has always come out to have fun.

4.      In 2011 when we had that torrential rain storm visit our event, there was a young man who had recently come out and was on his way to volunteer to his first pride event ever. The storm caused an accident that totaled his car while he was in route. He told the CHP Officer where he was going and how important it was to him that he get there. The Officer put him in his car and drove him to our event so he wouldn’t be late for his volunteer shift.

5.       In 2013 in the last few hours of the event, Kelli (Pride Organizer) and I were nearly finished cleaning up when the forklift ran out of gas right in the middle of Capitol Mall. I had to drag it out of the street with my truck and a chain while Kelli piloted the forklift so we could open the lanes back up to regular traffic. The contact photo I have of Kelli on my phone is of her giving me an exhausted thumbs up. Later that night, the bolts on the starter to my truck snapped in half, so my assistant manager had to push-start my truck so I could make it home. Despite working for twenty hours straight, we were still able to see the humor in our mechanical failures on Capitol Mall in the middle of the night.

6.      Three years ago on Good Day Sacramento, people were promoting Sacramento Pride and the partnership with Front Street Animal Shelter. My son and I were curious and drove to the shelter to check out the animals the day before Pride. A really, really old couple was taking a small pup in to surrender. One look at this listlessly motionless little guy in their arms brought me to tears. He was nothing but skin & bones. “We’ll take him home with us” we told the old couple. He wouldn’t eat or drink so we had to hand feed him and open his mouth enough to feed him vitamins and a special wet dog food with an eye dropper every couple hrs throughout the night. Three years later, this near-death puppy is a happy, loving little piglet of a dog.

7.      One year when Pride was at Southside Park, there were several protesters. As I was walking thru them in drag, someone said “dude, dude. What are you?” And I said “Dude, Dude. I’m a Dude”. The police officers, monitoring the protesters just laughed at them after that comment.

8.      My best Pride memories are actually after Pride.   We get phone calls and emails about how one person or another was able to be themselves for one day, how great it felt for them to be with others that don’t judge them, just to be happy.  That surpasses all the months of planning and stress, to give an opportunity to be happy, to be yourself!  This is what Sacramento Pride is all about!

Pride 2013-121 (1)


Details of the Day

Ticket price: $10, children 5-and-under free, available online or at gates.

Parade begins at 11 a.m. at 3rd and N streets

Special Guests: Community Grand Marshals Ben and Rachael Hudson of Gender Health Center and Special Guest Grand Marshal, activist Duke Mason.

Benefiting Sacramento LGBT Community Center

More info or Festival tickets at


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