Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 10:29 pm | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Pacific Pride Festival Energized by Celebration and an Eye Toward Future Progress

Hundreds swarm Santa Barbara’s Chase Palm Park for annual festivities, join in marking 40th anniversary of Pacific Pride Foundation

Pacific Pride Festival-goers explore booths set up by nonprofit organizations and local vendors at Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Pacific Pride Festival-goers explore booths set up by nonprofit organizations and local vendors at Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Amid the melodies of local musicians and a bustling row of booths at Saturday’s Pacific Pride Festival in Santa Barbara was one simple theme: celebration.

“Basically for me, it’s just coming out and celebrating pride, and showing unity and supporting the vendors who are supporting the community,” said Scott Kuther, an attendee at the Pacific Pride Foundation’s annual festival.

Hundreds of people gathered at Chase Palm Park, along East Cabrillo Boulevard, listening to a lineup of musicians, checking out booths set up by local and national nonprofit organizations, and buying a wide array of trinkets, flags and other LGBT-themed merchandise from vendors.

This year marks the Pacific Pride Foundation’s 40th anniversary. The organization, an advocacy and education group with offices in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, works to build and make visible LGBT communities, and prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS along the Central Coast.

“We are celebrating our 40th throughout this whole year, and we’re trying to anchor that in a couple of our larger events and our smaller events,” Colette Schabram, executive director of Pacific Pride Foundation, told Noozhawk.

“For Pride, we are focusing on our 40th and highlighting all of the work that we’ve done in our community and Santa Barbara County for four decades now.”

Kicking off under unexpectedly overcast skies and running from the late morning into the evening, the event drew numerous local elected officials as well as scores of visitors from beyond the South Coast.

Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, with Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, took to the Pacific Pride Festival stage to speak about the barriers he says the LGBT community faces in “achieving civil rights and ending intolerance and discrimination.” Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, with Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, took to the Pacific Pride Festival stage to speak about the barriers he says the LGBT community faces in “achieving civil rights and ending intolerance and discrimination.” (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

One couple from Newport Beach, Jodie and Deb, heard about the festival while visiting friends in Ventura.

“We’re in our 60s now, and we grew up when gay pride was something that was very hush-hush, and we couldn’t really come out,” said Jodie, who declined to give her last name. “And so it’s nice to see people have been able to put up tents and just celebrate the fact that we’re gay.”

Underlying the upbeat vibes and celebratory atmosphere, however, was a resolve to continue breaking down social and political barriers that festival-goers said still exist for the LGBT community.

“We’ve had a landmark decision with the Supreme Court making marriage equality the law of the land, but we all know that that is just one important step forward in achieving civil rights and ending intolerance and discrimination in our country against the LGBTQ community,” said Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, the Democratic candidate for the 24th Congressional District seat.

Another component of the Pacific Pride Festival will be Sunday’s Interfaith Pride Celebration at the county Courthouse Sunken Garden, 1100 Anacapa St.

Put on by the Pacific Pride Foundation and PFLAG Santa Barbara, a support, education and advocacy group, the 3 p.m. celebration brings together 21 faith communities from across the South Coast, and will include speakers and an interfaith choir.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Under unexpectedly gray skies, several hundred people turned out for Saturday’s Pacific Pride Festival. The event was also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Pride Foundation, which assists LGBT communities in Santa Barbara County and works to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Click to view larger
Under unexpectedly gray skies, several hundred people turned out for Saturday’s Pacific Pride Festival. The event was also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Pride Foundation, which assists LGBT communities in Santa Barbara County and works to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)
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