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Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

‘I am Davis Pride’: upcoming events and Pride Festival set to celebrate throughout June

Davis Pride to host its ninth annual Pride Festival in Central Park this month


By CHRIS PONCE city@theaggie.org


This year’s Pride Month will feature a slate of events in the city to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. The Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC) has organized a lineup of events that are set to occur primarily during the first weekend of the month, June 2-4. The theme of this year’s pride events is “I am Davis Pride.”

The kick-off event was held on May 28, when volunteers painted nine of Davis’s sidewalks in pride colors. Saturday, June 3 is the free “Skate with Pride” event that will be from 7-9 p.m. at Central Park. Later in the month, there will also be a “Ride with Pride” biking event on June 23 at 6 p.m. that will start at Central Park. The largest events of the year are on June 4, which will feature the annual “Run for Equality” at 8 a.m., followed by this year’s Davis Pride Festival from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Central Park. 

Sandré Nelson, who has been the director of Davis Pride for the last nine years, talked about the popularity of the festival and other Davis Pride events. 

“We are probably the largest pride event in Yolo County,” Nelson said. “At one point we were even told [we were] the fastest-growing LGBT event in Sacramento Valley. So we’re proud of a lot of the accomplishments we’ve made. And […], even though San Francisco Pride and Sacrament Pride are great, I think we just bring something different to the table.”

Nelson said that over the last nine years, attendance, vendors and funding for the event have grown. He talked about the theme of this year’s pride and said that the goal is to show the importance of community. 

“This year’s theme is ‘I am Davis Pride,’’’ Nelson said. “We came up with the theme to be community-based, [so] everybody who attends or supports in a positive manner: you are a part of our event, our community. We wanted to use that theme this year to stress community.”

The festival will include several vendor and food booths, cultural presentations, exhibits and different musical artists. The headline artist is “Tainted Love,” a San Francisco 80s-themed band. 

A press release about the festival by Wendy Weitzel, former managing editor of and current freelance writer for the Davis Enterprise, said that the sentiment of pride is “stronger than ever this year.” Nelson shared why he also agrees with this. 

“After everything that just recently happened, and then we have […] Moms with Liberty coming in trying to do their thing, [which is] anti-trans [and] anti-drag, the sense of pride and community are stronger with us this year and we will definitely be presenting that we are a community that comes together,” Nelson said. “You’re not going to stop us through tragedies, through hate, through whatever. The one thing about the Davis/Yolo community is that you will get us stronger. Don’t push us over the edge because you will what type of community the supporters have.”

Nelson expects that there will be protests in the area in response to the festival. He said there is some concern regarding protesters, but there will be strong security during the events. The conversation surrounding having more security at this year’s pride is also in part a response to the recent stabbings, according to Nelson. 

“I’ve been informed that Davis Police will be doing extra patrols and more constant patrols in the area,” Nelson said. “They’ve always been a phone call away and within minutes they’re there. I think we’ve had one or two situations where we needed to call them, but they were right there right away. They try to respect the queer feelings about police and they’re only in places that we need them to produce the event and they’re very respectful. Sometimes a few officers may walk through, check out the booths, get something to eat. But again, the Davis Police are very respectful about the feelings the queer community have about police.” 

In addition to the events planned by the DPC, local businesses are hosting a variety of events to show their support for Pride Month. Nelson said Red 88 Noodle Bar will be hosting an event later this month similar to G Street Wunderbar’s previous “Drag Queen Bingo” events. Holly Snyder Thompson, the outreach and event manager for The Avid Reader, shared what the bookstore will be doing to show support for the queer community.. 

“To celebrate Pride Month, The Avid Reader and Avid & Co. Toy Emporium will be featuring goods made by LGBTQ+ artists and businesses,” Thompson said via email. “Additionally, The Avid Reader will have multiple Pride Month displays throughout the store featuring books by LGBTQ+ authors and illustrators. The Avid Reader is hosting Drag Story Hour, a non-profit organization that captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. This event will take place on Sunday, June 4 at 11 a.m.”

While the UC Davis campus celebrates Pride Month in May, Nelson encouraged students to attend the pride events in the city this June. 

“Davis Pride […] is a good starter Pride,” Nelson said. “I encourage students [to attend] if this is your first Pride event or if you are still trying to figure yourself out. […] If you are still trying to become who your authentic self is and everything, we are a good pride for you to just come, relax [and] enjoy yourself. We are a supportive community, we will have a lot of resources.”


Written By: Chris Ponce city@theaggie.org