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The 28th annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival will take place this Saturday, June 2, in the Tower District. Bringing together members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) community from around the Central Valley—along with their families, friends, and allies—this all-ages, all-inclusive event promises to be a fun, colorful, and friendly celebration of diversity, equality, and the freedom to be oneself.
According to Jason Scott of LGBT Fresno, “Pride is more important than ever, to celebrate the unique experiences of being LGBTQ in the Central Valley. Frequently, individuals have to hide their true selves throughout the year. Pride gives us all an opportunity to be out and open with our true selves.”
Kicking off at 10 a.m., the parade will progress east along Olive Avenue from Palm to North Fulton. Spectators lining Olive can expect to see and cheer on upwards of 67 different entries representing various organizations supportive of or affiliated with the LGBT+ community as they march through the heart of the Tower.
By 11 a.m., the parade will wrap up and the festival will begin, running until 3 p.m. Once inside its gates, you’ll discover a live entertainment tent, an array of food sellers, a beer garden for the 21-and-over crowd, more than 50 merchandise vendors and informational booths, and a devoted kids’ area complete with a bounce house! Admission to the festival portion is $5. Enter at the corner of Olive and North Fulton (across the street from the Chicken Pie Shop).
Raising the Bar at this year’s Pride
“Raising the Bar,” the theme of 2018’s Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival, refers to the advancement of LGBT+ civil rights while also paying homage to the LGBT bars that have historically provided a safe space for LGBT+ individuals to gather in fellowship, build community, and manifest their true identities. “Within a year of the Stonewall Riots [in New York City, 1969] we became a COMMUNITY. Political activist groups grew, community centers opened, LGBT publications came out of the shadows, and change began to happen,” says Pride committee member Gracie Nava.
This is why this year’s parade will honor the bar owners, past and present, who have served the San Joaquin Valley’s community through the years. They will share grand marshalship of the 2018 parade with Pastor Bill Knezovich from Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Fresno.
Fresno Pride itinerary of events
To help you round out Pride weekend, here’s an itinerary of this weekend’s Pride-centered events going on around town.
Friday, June 1
• 5 to 7 p.m.
• 6 to 8 p.m.
• 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Catch a host of your favorite local queens and a midnight drag show as FAB presents Naomi Smalls x Rainbow Pride. Cover is $20, or $30 with meet-and-greet.
• 9 p.m to 2 a.m.
Dance away your inhibitions with the DJs, go-gos, and party people at the AfterShock: Pre Pride PARTY at Club Legends.
Saturday, June 2
• 10-11 a.m.
The Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade (Olive Ave. between Palm and North Fulton)
• 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Fresno Rainbow Pride Festival (North Fulton, across from the Chicken Pie Shop). During the festival, be sure to check out:
- Queer Pop Up Shop hosted by Common Space and My LGBT Plus
- Reel Pride Lounge at the Pride Festival at The Painted Table, 1211 N. Wishon Ave., where you can get early-bird tickets to the Reel Pride film fest, and find out all about this year’s film fest theme, and enjoy cold drink specials.
For more information on the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival, visit fresnorainbowpride.com. To experience the fun vicariously from home, check out CMAC 1’s live streaming coverage of the parade on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. here.