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Monday, October 2, 2023

Pride Festival comes to campus June 2

The second annual event will feature drag performances, student clubs and vendors

 

By SYDNEY AMESTOY — campus@theaggie.org 

 

ASUCD’s second annual Pride Festival is returning to the Memorial Union Quad on June 2 from 3-8 p.m.

The event will feature numerous vendors selling crafts and food, along with a performance by the student pole dancing club and shows from local drag queens, according to fourth-year American studies and neurobiology, physiology and behavior double major Emma Bishoff.

Bishoff, along with second-year communication major Hallie Wong, are this year’s ASUCD Pride Festival co-chairs. The two have been working throughout the year to organize June’s event, which is new to UC Davis as of last year.

Some of the tasks that went into organizing this year’s festival included gathering student volunteers to help table and run the event, as well as bringing in new vendors and entertainment not featured at the inaugural event. 

“This year, it’s bigger,” Bishoff said. “I would say [there are] aspects of the festival that are unique to the queer and trans community like drag performance. We’re also having tarot readers come, and we’re having a Henna artist. So we’re having a lot of activities.”

Many of the vendors being brought in are local, according to Wong.

“This event also provides a platform for local businesses and small businesses owned by queer and trans individuals,” Wong said.

The Pride Festival was recently designated an ASUCD unit. Last year, it was organized by the ASUCD Gender and Sexuality Commission with a relatively small budget, but this year, it was granted a budget of $10,000.

“[The budget] definitely alleviated a lot of the stress, because last year, we didn’t have [much] funding, and nobody believed in the event because it had never happened,” Bishoff said. “[Now] it was like people had confidence in us, which was nice. We could take a little bit of a deep breath.”

Pride Month at UC Davis is celebrated throughout the month of May, rather than the nationally recognized month of June, because of the fact that many students aren’t in Davis over the summer. ASUCD and the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center have been putting on numerous events throughout the month so far. 

The LGBTQIA+ Resource Center’s events were themed around ‘Rage and Resilience,’ which Bishoff said was inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.

The festival is not a part of the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center’s May Pride Month events, but according to Bishoff, it shares the same themes of resilience.

“Right now, in our country, we’re at a very important moment,” Bishoff said. “The people who are standing up and saying we are proud of this community, and we are here to support it, I think that every chance we have to do that, we must. This event is not just to be fun and celebratory. It’s also a protest [to say], ‘We are we are here, we are we exist, we matter and we’re going to take up space.’”

Both Wong and Bishoff emphasized what they see as the importance of an event like this, both for the LGBTQIA+ community on campus and individually. According to Wong, her attendance at last year’s Pride as a freshman was one of the main factors that encouraged her to take on the co-chair position. 

“Celebrating and uplifting the queer and trans community and just knowing that I can contribute or help contribute this year, I’m incredibly honored to be a part of this new tradition,” Bishoff said. “I’m super excited and proud of this event and I hope it carries on forever.”

 

Written by: Sydney Amestoy — campus@theaggie.org