Resurrected, Boisterous OC Pride Festival "a Smashing Success"
During the afternoon, activist Chelsea Salem led the "Kiss in for Equality," a local tie-in with the Great Nationwide Kiss-In that was created in response to incidents in Texas and Utah where lesbian and gay couples were arrested for simple displays of affection. Irvine's version actually began with a procession to the park from the nearby Marketplace at University Town Center. Participants carried a strip from the rainbow flag that stretched across New York's 5th Avenue during the 25th annual commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots.
Other attractions included displays with artwork, photographs and artifacts depicting the struggle for marriage equality, past Orange County Pride festivals and, courtesy of AIDS Care Teams in Our Neighborhood (ACTION), OC AIDS Quilt panels. Adding poignancy were the wedding day photos of gay and lesbian couples who were able to get married during the brief window of time when same-sex marriage was legal in California. Another panel of artwork by children showed equality through the eyes of young people.
Booths were staffed by 22 organizations, from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Shanti OC to Equality California to the U.S. Census Bureau. John Dumas, who helped coordinate the booths, said representatives of many organizations told him afterward what a positive experience it was and how they hoped to return next year.
Unlike more commercial LGBT Pride festivals, OC Pride did not include booths hawking merchandise because organizers wanted to keep "the focus on participation and community, rather than on consumption," explained Nowick.
That's not to say folks left empty-handed. Included also were prize drawings for $1,400 worth of items donated by 13 local businesses and community groups, from Steelhead Brewing Company and Zinc Café & Market, to Alakazam Comic Books and Men Alive-The OC Gay Mens Chorus, which also pitched in by directing traffic. Speaking of pitching in, Kevin Castro volunteered to interpret the speeches/performances into American Sign Language for several deaf and hard-of-hearing people in attendance.
Gay comic Ryan Hill and lesbian folk singer Sal Landers entertained the crowd throughout the day.
Were people dancing?
1) Again, we point you to Victorio's slideshow.
2) Did you even have to ask?