Max Disposti | North County Pride
On March 17, we announced a new revamped North County Pride. Under the direction of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center and its new Pride Director Shannon Rose, Pride in North County is aiming for more visibility and growth.
Originally started in a small gymnasium, in recent years Pride @ The Beach has established its reputation by being the closest venue to the beaches of Southern California.
Actually, the celebrations were held right on the beach, between the landmark Oceanside Pier and the sand. However, that beautiful venue came with limitations; no easy access for vendors and participants, a small space and lack of visibility for the thousands that have participated ever since.
This is why this year the North County Pride celebration will be moved into the streets of downtown Oceanside, few blocks away from the beach, but next to City Hall in a venue that will be more visible and surrounded by businesses willing to support the event.
In addition, there will be no entry fees for visitors and pedestrians this year — a decision that we hope will cause thousands to come stroll the new venue and spend a day celebrating North County diversity and inclusiveness.
The new name, “North County Pride by The Beach” (vs. the former Pride @ The Beach) was chosen to signify a North County experience and representation that should not only be limited to the city of Oceanside.
In fact, in future years we hope this Pride will become an attraction for locals and businesses throughout North County and visitors from all over Southern California
We are still in a unique position to be the closest venue to the beach where the presence of an increasing tourist economy and a revived downtown will give Pride room to grow and a chance to be a trailblazer of change. Why Trailblazers? Because while celebrating Pride means visibility in embracing all our diversities, Pride is also an opportunity to revisit our history and the continuing struggle for equality and acceptance throughout the world.
We want Pride to be a venue for education, conversation and artistic expression as well. To this end, we have partnered with Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College Pride centers to make sure conversations around and about our LGBT community can also be held right there at Pride. In addition, the newly re-established Oceanside Artist Alley and the Hill Street Country Club (thehillstreetcountryclub.org) will be providing a free open space and venue for arts and culture right next to our Pride festival location.
Of course with a bigger venue there will be more music, more vendor space and more food also provided. This is certainly a Pride that even if you live in San Diego, you won’t want to miss.
—Max Disposti is a human rights activist, a community organizer and the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He is currently also serving as a board member of the Oceanside City Library and of Main Street Oceanside and previously served on Oceanside’s Community Relations Commission. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.