BY: AMY PATTON AND KARINA CORTEZ
It’s the biggest celebration in the Long Beach LGBT community and this year it’s even bigger and better. It’s a flurry of color, adrenaline and excitement. It’s the 30th annual Pride Parade and Festival, and the goal is to have fun while spreading a little love at the same time. Pride in Long Beach is a two-day extravaganza, held Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. Everyone is welcome to marvel at the parade floats Sunday morning and partake in the festival that spans over both days. A lot of surprises are expected to unravel during the festival, including fireworks each night to celebrate the 30-year anniversary. A “30 Days of Pride” event has been commencing since mid-April to commemorate this milestone as well.
The fact that it is the 30th annual celebration leads veteran festival-goers to anticipate it to be even bigger and better. “I can’t wait to see how they’ll top last year,” said Lauren Cuthbertson, a sophomore English major. “It already has such an amazing energy.”
The festival asks only one thing of its guests: bring your dancing shoes! There are a total of six dance floor areas at the festival. They include a country western, soul, dance, and “fiesta caliente” venues.
“This way there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” said Head of Pride Publicity Committee, Frank Rubio.
CSULB gay fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi eagerly awaits this year’s festivities as well. The fraternity has volunteered at the event and made floats for the past several years.
“I’m excited to get involved and represent our fraternity,” said David Espindola, sophomore journalism major and brother of the fraternity.
Pride allows members of the fraternity to express themselves and celebrate gay culture with all of Long Beach. Delta Lambda Phi member Malik Smith-Thompson said, “I like how I can be me, and by that I mean being open, weird, queer, social, active, and an advocate all at the same time.”
Co-president and one of the original founders, Bob Crow explains that the importance and necessity for Pride is still strong 30 years later.
“Some day we won’t need Pride, but until we can all openly celebrate our diversity we feel like it is something people need each year,” Crow said.
Pride is a way for the LGBT community to celebrate who they are and how far they’ve come.
“It is a safe space where you can express yourself,” Espindola said. “At school, it can be lonely in a crowd of people, but it’s not like that at Pride.”
This event brings together not only the Long Beach LGBT community, but anyone that goes to support too. It is more than a flourish of rainbow feathers and great music; it’s a way to strut your pride and support your LGBT friends and family together as a united front.
The Pride festival is from 11a.m. to 11p.m. on Saturday and will recommence Sunday after the 10:30 a.m. parade. Festival tickets are $20 each day, but free on Sunday to those who go early and show their pride.
The festival will be held along Shoreline Drive at Rainbow Lagoon Park and the Marina Green. The parade will start at Ocean and Temple Avenue and will proceed west along Ocean Boulevard to conclude at Alamitos Boulevard. So go for the afternoon, go all weekend. Whatever you do, get out there and let your rainbow flag fly high with pride!