The first OC Pride festival began 30 years ago in Santa Ana with a humble, embattled gathering celebrating the Stonewall Riots in New York City that galvanized a growing LGBT movement. This June, OC Pride called Santa Ana home to its festival and parade one final time. The organization behind the festivities announced that next year’s event is moving to Anaheim.
“OC Pride has grown a lot over the years,” says Robert Casas, OC Pride board president. “With that support from the community, the board has decided to make a move to a location that offers greater opportunities for growth in the future. With this change, we will be able to continue providing a free festival and parade to the LGBTQ+ and ally community in Orange County. ”
Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim will play host to OC Pride’s festivities following the Blaze It Forward parade. It’s well traveled, having been home to the Eid Festival and the Black History Parade’s Cultural Faire–which also left its longtime digs in Santa Ana to come to Anaheim. OC Pride hopes the location switch will allow it to strengthen ties to local businesses and build firmer relationships within the community.
A bigger space than downtown Santa Ana, Center Street Promenade also frees up the possibility of adding another stage, opening up new creative possibilities.
When OC Pride 2020 comes to Anaheim, the Rainbow Flag will be proudly waving across the street at City Hall. Earlier this year, Anaheim altered its rules to be able to fly the flag next to the city’s flag in honor of Pride Month. And that’s not the only warm welcome from the city of kindness.
Promenade businesses are reportedly very excited to have OC Pride arrive–a departure from lukewarm experiences in the past. Anaheim is also helping to mitigate the costs of the festival and parade, something that allows it to remain accessible to many people.
“By moving to Anaheim, one of the biggest factors was to be able to keep the festival free,” says Bryan Terry, marketing director for Orange County LGBT Pride. “We are mindful not to price out the community we serve, especially the young folks who aren’t necessarily out yet.”
Don’t worry, OC Pride isn’t abandoning the rest of the county. The group wants folks to know that it will continue to provide month events such as film nights at the Frida Cinema and Bearlesque at Velvt Lounge, both downtown Santa Ana venues. The Santa Speedo Run remains at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, too.
As for Anaheim: Get ready for a fabulous time on June 27, 2020 when OC Pride debuts at its new home.
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!