This Pride Month, following two years of subdued celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonoma County residents are getting ready to don their rainbow garb and spread the love at in-person events and festivals.
Sparked by the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Manhattan and the first Pride march in New York City in June the following year, LGBTQ+ pride celebrations have long been held in June across the United States to recognize the impact of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and the intolerance they often face.
Sonoma County has its own unique LGBTQ+ history. While there has long been a prominent LGBTQ+ community in the county, it took years — and several failed attempts — for activists to get supervisors to recognize Pride Week in May 1992.
Today, pride flags fly high and LGBTQ+ life is celebrated year-round in Sonoma County, not just in June. But there are also special events planned to honor the month this year. Here’s what the county has in store for this year’s Pride Month.
June 1-5: Sonoma County Pride Parade and Festival
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Sonoma County Pride will hold its 35th annual Sonoma County Pride Parade and Festival in downtown Santa Rosa on June 4, with other special Pride events happening throughout the week. The theme of this year’s celebration is “We Are Family,” to salute bonds in the community.
The organization will kick off Pride Month with a pride flag raising on top of the Rosenberg Building at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 1, on the corner of Mendocino Avenue and Fourth Street in Santa Rosa.
Sonoma County Pride and sponsors will host a Pride Movie Night with a free showing of the romantic comedy-drama “Love, Simon” starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 2, in Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square.
From 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 3, there will be a Pride Happy Hour in Old Courthouse Square, featuring DJ Rotten Robbie and performances by singer-songwriter-guitarist Melissa Levi and modern jazz singer Spencer Day.
The Pride Parade will run along Fourth Street in Santa Rosa from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 4, with the festival kicking off at noon and continuing until 5 p.m. in Old Courthouse Square. Brent Farris and Debbie Abrams of KZST will be the parade’s masters of ceremonies and “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider will be the grand marshal. Honorees include Sonoma County LGBTQ+ historian Tina Dungan, owner of the LGBTQ+ tour and event company Out In The Vineyard Gary Saperstein, Healdsburg Mayor Osvaldo “Ozzy” Jimenez and Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers. Parade floats and performances will be judged by a panel, and awards will be presented on the Festival Stage at 2 p.m.
Local LGBTQ+ social networking group Santa Rosa GayDar will host a Reunion Queer Dance Party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille on Fourth Street. A drag show will begin at 10:30 p.m. featuring hosts and drag queens Lolita Hernandez, Maria Twampson and Shania Twampson, with DJ Ron Reeser. The party and show is for adults age 21 and older. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on Eventbrite at bit.ly/3PJgydO.
A Wigs & Waffles Drag Brunch will be held starting at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 5, in the 630 Park steakhouse at Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park. A drag show will begin at 11:30 a.m. with DJ host Juanita MORE! and performances by Rahni NothingMore, Mary Vice and Princess Panocha. Tickets are $85 and can be purchased on Eventbrite at bit.ly/3PEVWmW.
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Rock M. Sakura will host a Pink Pool Party from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, at Graton Resort & Casino. Entertainment will be provided by DJs Lady Char, Hector Fonseca and Jimmy Hits, with special guest Natascha Bessez. General admission is $30, with other ticket options for poolside daybeds and cabanas with Champagne, fruit plates and amenities packages. Tickets are available on Eventbrite at bit.ly/3GiDcVX.
For more information, go to Sonoma County Pride’s website at sonomacountypride.org.
June 4: Capo Creek Winery Pride Celebration
Healdsburg’s Cāpo Creek Winery will host a pride celebration on its estate with wine, food and special drag performances from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 4. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at capocreekranch.com/product/Event–Pride.
7171 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-608-8448, capocreekranch.com.