Seventh annual Stockton Pride Festival attracts large crowd

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San Joaquin Pride Center hosted its seventh annual festival at Weber Point Events Center Aug. 25, 2018..

 It was a day filled with color and energy.

“I have already seen how deep of a family event this is,” said San Joaquin Pride Center board member Seiro Khem.“You see from like young little toddlers to different generations that will come and visit. It’s a really wholesome festival. I think in no time it’s going to make a presence here in Stockton.”

Religious protesters stood at the entrance holding signs damning the LGBTQ+ community shouted their beliefs through a bullhorn at attendees as they entered. 

After a while, the police asked them to move away. 

Volunteers at the donation booth expressed their own Christian values, saying that their partners are involved in accepting denominations.

The advice offered to people subjected to the protesters was ‘Ignore the Haters’. 

“I’m old enough to see a lot of hate in this world and you can’t let that squash your joy,” said Delta Pride Center’s Ricky Gutierrez-Maldonado.

Entertainment was provided throughout the day, including previews from upcoming shows for Stockton Civic Theater and drag queens from all over the region and more. 

“I know most of the feedback that we get is that they want to see entertainment and they want to see that entertainment evolve,” said Khem.

Drag Queen Alice Wonders started performing in October 2017 and made her debut in Stockton at the festival.

Her costume and makeup were the focal points of her attraction. 

“[This face took] oh, two and a half hours. [And the wig] took me about three hours to do,” said Wonders. Spectators enjoyed the performance so much that they tipped her after the show.

The Jello Shot Fairies were a group of four men dressed in earth, wind, fire and water themed costumes holding baskets with the alcoholic treats.

Delta College was represented by two booths, The Pride Center and The Delta Pride Club.

Delta’s Pride Center booth handed out information pamphlets about the college. 

“A lot of folks that are here are students at Delta College,” said Gutierrez-Maldonado. “They’re kinda letting people know about their experiences, getting information out, free little giveaways. 

The Pride Center is  somewhat  new  so  we  have  some new Pride Center stuff … like stickers.”

The Delta Pride Club used the festival as an opportunity to fundraise, by selling homemade stone necklaces, bracelets, and keychains.

Sponsors from all around Stockton pitched in to make Pride a success, including AT&T, Health Plan of San Joaquin, PG&E, Paradise Nightclub and more. 

The most prominent sponsor was Wells Fargo, as they provided volunteers with shirts that  

read “STANDING 30 YEARS STRONG TOGETHER” to support our local LGBTQ+ community, as well as stickers and rainbow pride flags.

Vendors from all around participated and raised awareness for their cause, such as local public school teachers endorsing Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction, while helping people register to vote.

The San Joaquin Pride Center offers hormone therapy as well as a foster youth program providing guidance, counseling and mentoring. 

The center allies itself with many of the Pride organizations from local high schools like Lincoln High School Pride Club and both University of the Pacific and Delta Pride Centers.

Sensitivity training for businesses, organizations, schools, Stockton PD and the like is the biggest revenue bringing initiative for the center. 

“It goes to our bottom line so we can keep the doors open,” said Khem.