The Eugene-Springfield Pride in the Park Festival is Saturday, Aug. 10, at Alton Baker Park from 11 am to 6 pm. It’s projected to be the largest Pride festival in Eugene. People of all ages can expect to experience a range of activities and entertainment on the day of Pride and also in the days leading up to Aug. 10.
Pride festivals, like those held in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, usually occur in June. Eugene’s Pride, however, is held annually in August and provides an experience for all to attend without having to compete with larger festivals along the West Coast.
Spectrum, Eugene’s LGBTQIA+ friendly bar and restaurant, will host a first-ever Pride Street Party 5 pm Friday, Aug. 9, and will include an array of live performances, along with local food and art vendors.
“I hope the wide variety of performers gives something for everyone,” says Isaac Paris, Spectrum’s special events coordinator.
The lineup includes Almost Exactly Like Julia, The Eugene Gay Men’s Choir, Hearticorn Brass Band, a community activist street band of women and trans people, Darkswoon, an electric shoegaze band from Portland, and Baroque Betty, a Eugene-based band that roams in the territories of folk, bluegrass and minimalist rock.
It will also feature pop-up performances from the Work Dance Company, DJ Club Neveau, Enigmatic Society and Farce Family, a radical drag show family.
“There is a huge amount of talent in this town and giving a voice to all these performers is a thrill,” Paris says. “When the right audience is in front of the right performers, it’s a really special thing that happens.”
The street party is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is suggested. Most of the performances will take place outside until 10 pm. Afterward the party moves indoors; 21-plus, $10 cover charge.
Pride in the Park
The annual Pride in the Park Festival Aug. 10 has grown over the years. This year, the festival will have a full kid and family friendly area, unity march and scholarship donation.
“I’m kind of scared, but I’m so excited about it,” says Bill Sullivan, president of the Pride festival.
One of the largest developments in this year’s event is the increase in vendors and sponsors.
Two years ago, 52 vendors attended Pride. Last year, 79 attended. This year, a total of 130 vendors and sponsors will be at the festival. Businesses include Hop Valley, Wildcraft Cider Works, White Bird Clinic, Sexual Assault Support Services, Women’s Space and As You Like It Sex Shop.
Vendors and sponsors at Pride can make all the difference. Brooks McLain, sponsorship coordinator and Pride board member, says part of Pride’s all-day event is to help queer community members seek out LGBTQIA+ friendly local vendors and sponsors.
“There is a lot of our corporate sponsors that are queer friendly places to work so the community has a chance to look for jobs and find places where they know are safe for shopping and existing as a queer person,” McLain says.
This year will also feature a first-ever Pride unity march, called March to Pride in the Park, beginning with a gathering at 9 am Saturday, Aug. 10, at Spectrum, 150 W. Broadway. The march takes off 10 am and will go east on Broadway toward Alton Baker Park. A full march route can be found online on the Pride in the Park’s Facebook page.
For anyone who hasn’t been to Pride before, vendor coordinator and Pride board member D. Ann Williams says the festival is “a good launching point, especially since it’s pretty centrally located so people can come and go as they please.”
Marketing coordinator and Pride board member Marlie Heberling adds, “It was such a fun event for everybody in my life, there was a lot offered but it also felt small enough that it wasn’t overwhelming.”
This year’s Pride festival marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
“It’s a little more activist feeling in the last couple of years due to the national situation and kind of, outright attacks, especially on the trans community,” McLain says.
In response, the Pride Board Committee enacted a scholarship opportunity to serve LGBTQIA+ youth who are attending post-secondary school, higher education or community college.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit this scholarship fund.
“We gave away $7,500 this year and next year I’m looking at $10,00 to $15,000,” says Sullivan.
A post-Pride party takes place at Spectrum around 8 pm with a show from Unveiled: Eugene’s Queer Burlesque. The theme is “It’s My Party and I’ll Pride If I Want To.”’ 21-plus, $6.