“We Are All Family” is the theme of this year’s Southern Oregon Pride Festival. The two day celebration promoting dignity and equal rights for everyone will be held Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1 in Ashland. The city is one of almost 100 U.S. cities where gay and straight people come together to celebrate pride and universal acceptance.
Events will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday with the SOPride Kickoff Party at the historic Ashland Armory. KISS FM Radio’s DJ Hope will be spinning the music, and entertainment will include a performance by The Queens of the Night. Tickets for the Kickoff Party may be purchased in advance (beginning September 1) at Paddington Station or the Music Coop in Ashland.
On Saturday at 10 a.m. SOPride Parade participants will begin gathering at the staging areas on Union St. and Siskiyou Blvd. At noon marchers, floats, and bands will wind their way through downtown Ashland and into Lithia Park, where they will be greeted with a Pride Celebration at the bandshell. Entertainment will be provided by Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs. Local political leaders and equal rights activists will address the crowd. (More information about Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs is included below.)
The Grand Marshal for this year’s SOPride Festival is Beth Coye, Commander, United States Navy (retired). Beth was selected in recognition of her many years of advocacy for gays and lesbians in the military and for her leadership in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (More information about Beth is included below.)
This year, City Council Members for the The City of Ashland voted to have Ashland sponsor SOPride Festival 2011. In recognition of the City Council’s sponsorship, Ashland Major John Stromberg will serve as the Honorary Grand Marshal. Faith based communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals are also supporting “We Are All Family” – SOPride Festival 2011.
In addition to the Pride Parade and Pride Celebration in Lithia park, vendor booths will be open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in “Pride Plaza” (Claycombe Plaza) at 40 North Main St. in Ashland.
Saturday evening the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show will present a salute to the courageous musical stars who took great risks by coming out – and made the world a better place when they did. Also, Ashland’s Variety Theater will show movies with gay friendly themes.
For more information about SOPride, pictures from SOPride Festival 2010, guidelines and entry forms for the SOPride Parade and vendor booths, a list of this year’s SOPride Festival supporters, and more SOPride news go to the official SOPride website: www.sopride.org.
Event Location: Downtown Ashland, Ashland Memorial Armory, Lithia Park
Event Contact Information: