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San Diego's North County to celebrate Pride on Saturday in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – It’s time for San Diego’s North County LGBT community to celebrate, as the annual Pride @ the Beach! festival returns tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 13.

The event, organized by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, is a family-friendly LGBT Pride celebration, which includes entertainment, food, community resource booths and vendors, and other attractions that people have come to expect at such events.

Some might ask “Why another Pride celebration in San Diego County?” but organizers contend that the years of silence among the LGBT community in North County is the main reason why the celebration and other activities are planned.

Some who live in San Diego’s northern communities feel isolated from the vibrant LGBT scene that exists in Hillcrest and surrounding areas, as the commute to central San Diego can take as long as 40 minutes, not considering traffic. Of course, the challenges are even greater for those without reliable transportation.

Activists in North County have been working hard for many years to create a presence for LGBT people in this part of the region, which also has a strong military presence due to Camp Pendleton, which is located near Oceanside.

The North County LGBT Coalition was formed in early 2008, and in 2011, changed its name to the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. After a successful fundraising effort, the organization opened a physical location in Oceanside late last year.

Pride @ the Beach! has been put on by the North County LGBT group for several years, and organizers say that it continues to grow each year. The 2008 event welcomed approximately 800 attendees, while the over 4,000 people came through the gates in 2011. The event is expected to be even larger this year.

Entertainment lineup

Pride organizers worked for the last several months to put together an entertainment lineup that they felt would have the widest appeal to festival goers.

This year’s entertainment includes a number of local performers and groups, including the San Diego Women’s Chorus, and San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, the San Diego Kings Club, Diversity Arts and others.

Traci Dinwiddie, billed as an “actress, groovy drummer, part-time Bad-Ass, full time Fruit Cake,” has been booked as a “special guest” performer. She is known by sci-fi fans as Pamela Barnes, the flirty and feisty blind psychic on CW’s “Supernatural.”

This year’s headline performer is national recording artist No Angel, whose latest single “Shy Girl” has reached the third place position on the local dance charts. The track has been played on over 1,000 FM radio channels.

No Angel is on a nationwide tour promoting her latest dance tunes at LGBT festivals and Pride events.

The full stage schedule follows:

11 am: Opening with emcee Laura Jane

11:15 am: San Diego Women’s Chorus

Noon: Volunteer recognition ceremony

12:15 pm: Diversity Arts

12:45 pm: Social Animal

1:30 pm: Full Strength Funk Band

2:15 pm: San Diego Kings Club

2:45 pm: Full Strength Funk Band

3:30 pm: Traci Dinwiddie

4:15 pm: San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus

5:15 pm: No Angel

Those who wish to get Traci Dinwiddie’s autograph may do so between 4:30-5:30 pm by the stage area.

Other festival attractions

Festival-goers will be able to spend the day at the beach front Pride festival participating in a number of activities, including checking out vendor booths, mingling with old and new friends, and trying the food options available.

A number of community groups, businesses and organizations will host information tables throughout the venue, including Mo’s Universe, San Diego Pride, and PFLAG. Hale Media, publisher of San Diego Gay and Lesbian News and San Diego PIX magazine will also be on site, and festival-goers will have the opportunity to meet with staff members, including Editor in Chief Ken Williams and Staff Writer Ben Cartwright.

An opportunity drawing will also be held throughout the day, with prizes like a weekend get-away to Bear Dance Cabin in Running Springs, Calif., a two-night stay in Las Vegas, and a massage package.

If you go

Tickets to North County Pride @ the Beach! are $5 for general admission, $2.50 for students and seniors, and free for active duty military and children 8 years and younger. They can be purchased online or at the gate.

The festival will be held at Betty’s Lot, next to the Oceanside Pier. Directions from both San Diego and LA are HERE.

There are several free parking lots near the pier, as well as street parking, and a parking structure at the Coaster station. Additional information about parking is HERE.

For more information about the event, click HERE.