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Taste the Rainbow

A roundup of Pride events
Diva Simone Slaughter. Photo by Todd Cooper.
Diva Simone Slaughter. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Pride 2016 is slated to be bigger than ever. 

“Both the Wayward Lamb and the Pride festival are working together to expand events around Pride,” says Vincent Mays, an organizer for the Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year at Alton Baker Park.

The Wayward Lamb kicks off the celebration early with a 21-plus block party 5 to 10 pm Friday, Aug. 12, on Broadway between Olive and Charnelton. 

Colin Graham, owner of the Lamb, says he wanted Pride to be represented downtown, like the celebrations he’s attended in San Francisco and London.

“For me, the thing about Pride that was so wonderful is that tons of local businesses get to be a part of it,” he says, pointing out all the queer-friendly businesses downtown. There will be loads of live entertainment, Graham says, including performances by Concrete Loveseat, Work Dance Co., drag queens Angelica D’Vil and Daphne Storm and comedians Seth Milstein and Randy Mendez. The afterparty will start inside the bar at 10:30 pm.

In light of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Graham says the Lamb is working closely with Eugene police and the Downtown Guides (aka the Red Hats) — Downtown Eugene, Inc.'s private security — to provide an increased security presence. Graham says the Lamb will post tips on its Facebook page  to partygoers on how to stay safe.

Drag queen Diva Simone Slaughter hosts Cowfish Dance Club’s Pride White Party (“Wear your fiercest white attire and glowwwwww baby!!!” the event page says) 9 pm Friday.

The festival at Alton Baker Park runs noon to 6 pm Saturday, Aug. 13; $5 suggested donation, all ages. The entertainment lineup features the Jeremiah Clark Trio at 12:45 pm, Work Dance Co. at 1:50 pm, Soulicious at 2:30 pm, the Imperial Court and Friends Drag Show at 3:30 pm and The Essentials at 4:45 pm.

Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and County Commissioner Pete Sorenson will speak 12:15 to 12:30 pm, followed by Oregon Labor Commissioner (and candidate for Secretary of State) Brad Avakian and State Representative Nancy Nathanson 2:15 to 2:30 pm.

Mays says speakers have been asked not to focus on Orlando but on love instead.

“If you’re feeling frustrated,” Mays says of recent events, “and you want to make a difference, volunteer. There’s no better way to make a difference right now.” He points out that local public service outfits like the HIV Alliance, which does free HIV testing in the community, Womenspace and the Democratic Party of Lane County all need volunteers. To see a full list, visit eugenepride.org.

There will also be facilitated conversations for “LGBTQIA and Questioning Youth” 12:30 to 2 pm. 

Trans*ponder — a Eugene organization for transgender education, resources and support — will have a presence at both the Lamb and the festival. The group just recently nabbed official nonprofit status — the first trans nonprofit in Oregon according to Executive Director Oblio Stroyman.

Not only does Trans*ponder provide social support, with several meetups a month, but the org offers vital resources like an ever-updated list of medical providers who are not only trans-friendly but well-trained in the health issues affecting the transgender community. To find out more, email transponder.eugene@gmail.com.

The Wayward Lamb and Cowfish are both hosting festival afterparties 9 pm Saturday, Aug. 13.