Once again, Promenade Park was home to one of the most anticipated events of the year for the Ventura LGBT community. Families and individuals from all over Ventura County came to partake in this event, hosted by Diversity Collective Ventura County on Saturday, August 20.
There was no shortage of activities at the event. Participants enjoyed live entertainment by Raja Gemini, winner of the third season of the popular TV show Rupaul’s Drag Race, and Michael Walters, a celebrity impersonator. Some people chose to partake in one of the many free games provided, such as ring toss and spinning the prize wheel. Others decided to socialize and make connections with new people while sharing experiences and interests.
Located all around the Promenade were booths run by CEOs, directors, and employees for various companies. They all displayed different slogans and ideas, but they shared the same goal: to provide services for members of the Ventura County LGBT community.
Lauren Lawson, CEO and founder of the non-profit organization “H.O.P.E. (Holding Our Pride and Equality),” is motivated to provide LGBT mental health and counseling services in Ventura County.
At today’s event, she aimed to draw people to her booth in an attempt to inform them about her services. “It’s been fantastic and it’s been a great crowd… as the day goes on, more and more people are coming [to the booth],” Lawson said.
May Walker, a speaker and writer present at the event, shared her feelings on the environment that everyone has helped to create. “[There is] a lot of love here… We are loved for who we are,” Walker remarked.
She wishes that “it were this way everywhere in the world because there is so much love.”
Ventura resident Adrian Kinnun was pleased with the tone of the event.
“[The event] is a safe environment,” Kinnun said. “Everyone is very open.”
He also emphasized the importance of having a strong community by mentioning the recent tragedy in the LGBT community that occurred in Orlando.
“All of us being together really shows that bad things are [going to] happen, but you can’t tear apart [the] community,” Kinnun said.
The event came to a close at 6:00 pm, but the weekend’s celebrations are not over. On Sunday, August 21, Diversity Collective is holding its first-ever Pride Brunch at The Tavern.
Credit: Nick Zoll / The Foothill Dragon Press