History of Pride in Orange County
The first Orange County Gay Pride Festival, held in Santa Ana in 1989, incited a clash between attendees and anti-LGBT forces. Police ordered organizers of the “Orange County Cultural Pride Festival” to lock the gate to the festival grounds for half an hour after the brawl and considered shutting the event down early, but decided to let it continue as scheduled for the rest of the day. As the event continued, so did the tension between the festival goers and the anti-LGBT crowd. In an effort to calm the crowd, Janet Avery, president of Orange County Cultural Pride took to the stage.
“We came here to celebrate,” Avery said, quieting the crowd. “If you have a friend who is not here to celebrate, please get them in the mood. This is our day in the sun.”
Today Orange County Equality Coalition, OCEC, brings Orange County LGBT Pride to Orange County. OC Pride is a one-day festival honoring our LGBT and ally culture through celebration, advocacy, and pride.
Our Recent History
Formed after the passage of California’s Proposition 8, OCEC decided that our community needed to bring back the pride that this community had been missing for so long. In 2009, OC Pride returned with a picnic in the park; with an attendance of over 500, it unified the LGBT community and gave those who’d been hurt by Proposition 8 a sense of belonging.
In 2010 and 2011, OC Pride was held at Hidden Valley in Irvine (by Verizon Amphitheater); with over 3,000 people, a main stage of amazing entertainers and speakers, a non-stop dance tent, a lively kids’ corner and over 80 booths and vendors, this was a pride festival to be proud of.
In 2012, OC Pride took it to the streets in downtown Santa Ana for another wonderful day of celebration. This change was well received, with over 10,000 members of the LGBT community and supporters coming out to experience the new location while maintaining the qualities that make our event so unique.
This year we’re excited to announce OC Pride 2017 to be held on Saturday, June 24, 2017 in Downtown Santa Ana! Our theme this year is “As One.” Pride is something we all can’t help but feel as a supporter of the vibrant LGBT community. Inspired by the exciting changes, milestones and accomplishments in the name of LGBT rights, we decided to transform those feelings of admiration, gratitude and happiness into something visual. Something creative. Something colorful. Something that vividly flaunts what it is we all feel inside!