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Davis, California

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Pride Fest returns to Davis for 10th year

The Davis Phoenix Coalition hosts an all-inclusive, family-friendly Pride celebration 


By ALEXANDRA SHAPIRO city@theaggie.org


June in Davis is filled with excitement as the annual Davis Pride celebration kicks off. Davis Pride is inviting the community to join in on the fun with various events welcoming members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The Davis Pride Fair and Music Festival will be held on June 1 at the new location of Davis Civic Center Park, starting at 11 a.m. Voted “Best California Pride Celebration” for three consecutive years, it’s also the oldest and largest LGBTQ+ celebration in Yolo County.

Held to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ communities in Yolo County, Davis Pride aims to foster allyship and increase awareness. The event is in part organized by the Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC), whose mission is to unite the Davis community against intolerance while promoting diversity. 

Proceeds from Davis Pride support the coalition’s initiatives which include anti-bullying campaigns, workshops and outreach programs involving local law enforcement, churches and schools.

The 10th annual Community Fair is made possible by 100+ volunteers, around 125 local exhibitors and Northern California-based businesses and community organizations. These include craft vendors, informational booths and some of the most popular food vendors in Yolo County.

The event has remained free with support from the city, county and sponsors such as  Outward Magazine, Armadillo Music and Dignity Health.  

Additionally, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Yolo County Health Department are sponsoring this event by providing the first dose of the MPOX Vaccine, also known as the Monkeypox vaccine, during the festival. In recent years pride events have offered this vaccine due to the way the virus has disproportionately affected Gay men.

The highlight of this year’s celebration is the music festival held at the Sutter Health Main Stage, starting at 11 a.m. with eight performances by various groups, including Butterscotch and Willie Gomez. One of the performers at the festival is the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus (SGMC), originally established in 1984 as the Sacramento Men’s Chorus. In 1996, their name was officially changed to The Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus, and in 2017 SGMC began to diversify and now aims to reflect the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. Davis Pride is just one of many events that SGMC participates in throughout the region. 

“We love to perform and give back to the communities that always give back to us,” Don Henkle, the vice president of SGMC, said via email. “Our mission statement is to foster pride and enhance lives, one song at a time. SGMC looks forward to a fabulous performance at Davis Pride.”

After the music festival ends at 5 p.m., patrons can continue at the Davis Pride After Party from 6 to 11 p.m. on G Street between Second and Third Street. DJ Mellax of Davis Rave Co. will perform a DJ set, and attendees can purchase food from downtown restaurants.

Additional community Pride month events include the Drag Story Hour hosted by the Avid Reader Bookstore on June 9, Davis Pride Comedy Night on June 21 at the Stonegate Country Club, Skate with Pride on June 8 at Central Park and Drag Queen Trivia on June 27. In 2015, after a 10-year hiatus, the board of directors at the DPC rebranded the community celebration event as Davis Pride which has grown from about 500 attendees to an estimated 6,000 to 8,000.

Following a violent anti-gay assault on a Davis resident in 2013, the DPC was founded by city councilmember Gloria Partida, the victim’s mother, alongside Sandré Nelson and others. 

“Our mission ensures individuals have a community [where] they are welcomed in and can get the resources they need,” Davis Pride director Sandré Nelson said. “We want to make sure that those who are struggling [have] a place [where] they can reach out.” 

Partida sparked the idea for a 5K race and recognized a need for an accompanying event, which eventually evolved into the Davis Pride festival, according to Nelson. 

The annual Walk for Equality remains a popular tradition, with over 250 participants in the 5K. This year, the Walk for Equality begins in Central Park at 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 2.

Austin Arredondo, third-year clinical nutrition student, is ecstatic to attend this year’s Pride. 

“I grew up in a town with only a couple thousand people [where] there was no such thing as pride in any aspect,” Arredondo said. “It is such an amazing thing to feel accepted here, largely because of the uplifting LGBTQ+ community in Davis.”

The pride website, https://www.davispride.org/, has a complete calendar list of events that attendees can look to for information. Nelson shared that this year’s pride has more sponsors and that the community has a lot to look forward to. 

“[This year] there are more sponsors, the musical artists are excited and our pride is out there,” Nelson said. “This is an event that our community is looking forward to.”

Written by: Alexandra Shapiro city@theaggie.org


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