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Central Oregon's Pride Celebration has grown from a small picnic to a full day of inclusive fun

Let's start with the entertainment: Dykes on Bikes. Purple Queen. Lady Dice. Maurice's Fashion Show. Plus, Detroit's award-winning R&B singer Alise King. And your mistress of ceremonies for rather eclectic lineup? Why, it's the lovely Poison Waters. Add it all up and you get just one word: Pride.

The 13th Annual Central Oregon Pride Celebration, to be exact. It's the extravagant, rainbow-fueled Drake Park mega-party the Human Dignity Coalition throws each year as part of its effort to promote equality for Central Oregon's LGBTQ community. Six hours of free family-friendly entertainment, 70 vendor and nonprofit booths, live music, food, drinks and fun. There's even a designated "Kid Zone" complete with a 300-square-foot bounce house.

"We're an all-inclusive and family-oriented Pride celebration, inviting everyone in to join us for a day of music and festivities as a united community," says HDC Community Organizer Cait Boyce, who expects at least 8,000 people to attend.

No wonder they call it the "Disco on the Desert."

Besides the fun and games, there's an underlying message that organizers and participants take very seriously: It hasn't always been this way. "Pride has become increasingly popular with more and more community support," says Central Oregon Pride Director Megan Stackhouse. "We started as a quiet picnic and have turned into a huge festival that the community has embraced."

She's right. Check out the booths and you'll find everything from banks to religious groups to Planned Parenthood. And there you have perhaps the most important element of all: Acceptance.

"No matter your age, gender, race, religion or political view, we are a safe and nurturing environment," says Boyce. "HDC and Central Oregon Pride work hard to embrace everyone in our community—and to bring that love and acceptance to all of Central Oregon."

And finally, Stackhouse adds: "I invite everyone to dress up, bring your family and friends and enjoy the celebration!"

13th Annual Central Oregon Pride Celebration

Drake Park

Sat., June 24. Noon-6pm



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