The Sacramento Pride Festival is one of the most popular and well-attended events in the area, bringing the community together for a vibrantly colorful day of music, dance, art, food, shopping, excitement and a parade. Wear plenty of sunscreen, as the hot and exciting day always features plenty of sunshine.

Sacramento Pride Parade

Sacramento Pride Festival 2015
Capitol Mall Blvd. from Third St. to Seventh St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-3855
www.sacramentopride.org
Date: June 6, 2015, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price: Festival entry is $10 per person, free for children 5 and under.

The Sacramento Pride Festival, now in its 31st year, commemorates a 1969 American civil rights action that brought LGBT issues out from the shadows. Things have come a long way since then, and the city is home to many restaurants, bars, organizations, dance clubs, hotels, gyms and spas, art events and social organizations that welcome members of the LGBT community.

Pride organizers estimate that more than nine percent of City of Sacramento residents are LGBT, and the annual high profile festival is a popular celebration for friends, families, supporters and other members of the community. More than 10,000 people attend the event.

The festival is produced by the nonprofit Sacramento LGBT Community Center, and raises funds for the Center’s wide range of services. Many programs are geared for marginalized members of the LGBT community, regardless of their age, gender, economic status or race. Services include a free weekly legal clinic, HIV/AIDS support and prevention, and programs for seniors and at-risk youth.

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The festival includes more than 200 exhibitors and merchants, games, health testing, community organizations and many food and drink vendors. Guests can meet politicians, sports teams, business representatives, military and employment recruiters, and social clubs that are interested in their participation.

Entertainment for the event includes Andrew Castro, JuJubee of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Belinda Carlisle, former lead singer of The Go-Go’s. Entertainment ranges from the funny and fanciful to downright bawdy, in all positive senses of the words.

The Sac Pride Dance Pavilion draws music lovers to strut their stuff to current hits, Latin, country, club music and much more. Watching the dancers is often as much fun as participating, so a crowd is frequently gathered around the pavilion.

The festival also features a Kid’s Zone, sponsored by local nonprofit group Sierra Forever Families. The family fun area includes entertainment, a jump house, face painting, games, craft projects and the chance to win prizes.

Art is close to the heart of the festival, and an eclectic mix of talented and creative Northern California artists will be on hand. Guests can view and purchase paintings, sculptures and various other mixed media pieces. Younger visitors will also enjoy taking part in interactive art projects.

The festival is a mecca for shopaholics, with vendors selling everything from clothing, home décor, personal care, jewelry and souvenirs to pet products, water cannons, tiaras, costumes, gifts and footwear.

No one ever goes hungry at Pride with casual and gourmet food trucks from SactoMoFo and other food vendors. Attendees can enjoy burgers, spicy sausages, tacos, icy snow cones, pizza, fries and all things meaty, veggie and vegan.

(Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr License: http://bitly.com/1eE5Sus)

(Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr License: http://bitly.com/1eE5Sus)

The Pride Parade
N St. between 3rd and 10th.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-3855
www.sacramentopride.org
Date: June 6, 2015, 11 a.m.

Price: Free

The Pride Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. with the hugely popular Pride Parade. Throngs of enthusiastic people, colorful floats, cheer squads, dancers and musicians will travel on N St., between Third St. and Tenth St., heading towards the Capitol. Organizations such as the Sacramento fire and police departments, local churches, regional transit, Wells Fargo Bank Stagecoach, the UC Davis Marching Aggies, PFLAG and Sacramento Valley Veterans have participated in past parades.

(Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr License: http://bitly.com/1eE5Sus)

(Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr License: http://bitly.com/1eE5Sus)

Sacramento Pride After-Party
Side Trax
2001 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 441-6823
www.sidetraxsac.com
Date: June 6, 2015, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Price: $5 cover charge

Side Trax, one of the area’s newest LGBT lounges, will have an unofficial after-party on festival day. Guests are invited to come in this upscale bar in their favorite dress-to-impress attire, ready to show off their dance moves. Special guests will include members of the Sacramento Sirens, semi-pro players in the Independent Women’s Football League. You must be a least 21 to attend.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at Examiner.com.