South Bay Pride Art & Music Festival was a fantastic success! We had between 7,000 – 8,000 LGBT and their allies show up to celebrate Pride in south San Diego County.

The cool ocean breeze was a perfect solution to the warm day. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence kicked off the event with their blessing. Our bands were fantastic and Laura Jane made it absolutely fabulous. With the awesome lineup of local bands on the Port Authority of San Diego stage, as well as the great lineup of deejays hosted on the Flicks Entertainment stage, everyone found a perfect place to kick back and enjoy.

Even our local politicians came to show their support. Thank you to Congressmember Susan Davis, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, deputy mayor of Chula Vista Patricia Aguilar, Chula Vista city councilmembers Pamela Bensoussan, and Mary Salas, former Chula Vista mayor and candidate for city council seat 1 Steve Padilla, and Serge Dedina, candidate for mayor of Imperial Beach. We value your ongoing and loyal support of equality for all.

San Diego Kid’s Rentals provided us with the euro-bungee trampoline and other inflatable entertainment for kids of all ages. Others checked out the kayaking in the Bay offered by Chula Vista Kayaks, and of course, everyone enjoyed the food, vendors/exhibitors and Mo’s Playground beverage garden.

Our first Leather Realm was a success and will be returning next year. We plan on continuing to expand this event. With all this success, we are considering moving the celebration over to Bayside Park, the park just north of Bayfront, so that we can make it even larger. There is also a sand beach there and more potential for parking, so stay tuned.

Many people commented on how much they appreciated the diversity represented and the intimate atmosphere that it provided. It is the goal of the board to maintain that theme as we grow. We are thrilled that so many people continue to come out and celebrate with us and with the great support we have had from the Port Authority and the cities in south San Diego County.

Next year we are going to target an attendance of 10,000 as our goal! Join us in moving this forward and supporting our outreach in the South Bay.

If you can, please donate to the cause by visiting southbaypride.org/donate. We fell short of our donation drive goals and would appreciate your support. Give what you can to keep this free event open to everyone.

In addition, we are looking to expand the board and are recruiting members. If you are interested in being part of making a difference, please contact us at southbayalliance@gmail.com.

I want to thank everyone who made South Bay Pride such a wonderful event. In particular, I would like to thank Joe Burke and Craig Knudson, both of whom I could not have done without! I would also like to thank the rest of our board and our volunteers. You were fantastic and I love you all for being there and working your tail ends off.

It is always inspiring to watch an event like this happen and turn out to be so fantastic — all through the efforts and support of dedicated people who want to make a difference. And of course, we could not have done it without our sponsors who continue to support us every year.

We will keep you posted as we now turn to working with GSDBA to expand business networking into support our local area businesses and start having mixers for networking here in the South Bay. Thank you again everyone for making South Bay Pride so successful!

— Dae Elliott is a founding executive committee member and the current executive director of South Bay Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit and organizer of the annual South Bay Pride Art & Music Festival. Contact her at southbayalliance@gmail.com.