"Given the recent events in Orlando, now is the time more than ever to come out, celebrate and be proud," says San Diego LGBT Pride Public Relations Manager Alex Villafuerte. "To celebrate our accomplishments and progress, and also have some fun."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Barely a year since the landmark Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage and only a month removed from the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, this year's San Diego LGBT Pride Celebration seems particularly poignant. Held Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 17, the weekend is filled with must-go celebrations and activities.
It all kicks off on Friday with the free Spirit of Stonewall Rally at 6 p.m. at Marston Point (Balboa Drive and Eighth Ave.), which will feature speakers such as Padres CEO Mike Dee and Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning. Then, head over to the Hillcrest pride flag (Normal St. and University Ave.) for the annual Pride Block Party, a dance-friendly festival in the streets. Tickets are $20, but don't party too hard...
Because you'll need to rise early on Saturday to get a prime viewing spot for the Pride Parade. Happening from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. all along University Avenue from Normal Street, the parade will feature dozens of floats, marching bands and community groups. This year will also include a special tribute to the lives lost in Orlando.
Finally, the Pride Music Festival will be on both Saturday and Sunday at Balboa Park (Sixth Ave. and Laurel St.). Starting at 11 a.m. each day, the fest, as always, sports an eclectic lineup of more than 150 musicians, bands, comedians and cultural performers. There are five stages spread out over seven entertainment zones and even if you're not into headliners like Kesha, Paul Oakenfold and Sam Sparro, there are still plenty of vendors, booths and beverage gardens to check out. Tickets range from $20 to $120 for VIP passes. Check out the full itinerary of all the weekend's events at sdpride.org.
BAD IS GOOD
For many of us Comic-Con is about as appealing as a Chewbacca costume in July; an overcrowded, overpriced and overwhelming expo where people are herded around like cattle at a pop culture feed lot. For those that want an alternative, there's Villain Fest, a comic book, fantasy and sci-fi festival taking place in Barrio Logan. The free event is designed with families in mind, with activities for comic book fans of all ages. Kids can play games and make their own artwork, while adults can check out local artists and enjoy craft beer by Iron Fist Brewing. Other highlights include a cosplay contest and an appearance by the SDPD low-rider police car. The festival starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Mercado Del Barrio (Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy). sdbeerartfest.com
WHY THE LONG FACE?
The Del Mar racetrack is quick to tout its glamorous, star-studded history, but let's not forget that it played a major role in famous degenerate Charles Bukowski's book Post Office. And perhaps that's the ultimate appeal of the track: a great equalizer that caters to everyone's desire for both high and low culture. In the past, Opening Day—which goes down at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 15—has attracted people who dress fancy but have an appetite for drinking, gambling and other debauchery. Ticket prices range from $10-$63. If betting on horses ain't your thing, the Del Mar BBQ State Championship—starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 17—will feature more than 40 professional pitmasters slinging their meat for your approval. Attendance is free with a racetrack ticket, but bring some money to buy some tasty samples. dmtc.com