Orange County Pride to move to Costa Mesa in October

Orange County Pride Costa Mesa

The Orange County Pride Parade makes its way through downtown Santa Ana. The Pride parade and festival are scheduled to move to Costa Mesa in October. Photo: @ayyosunny

Orange County Pride will move to Costa Mesa this year with organizers calling it a “transformative shift” and “symbolizing a strategic decision to enhance sustainability, safety, and community engagement.”

The festival and parade also will shift from its traditional late June date to early October.

Orange County Pride, which started in 1989, will relocate from its downtown Santa Ana location to the Orange County Fair & Event Center Oct. 5.

Early bird tickets are available for $15.

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Organizers listed a few reasons why they decided to move the festival and parade.

Number 1

“The choice to relocate emerged from pivotal considerations,” organizers announced recently on social media. “Escalating fees, particularly substantial charges from the City of Santa Ana, posed financial challenges despite the organization’s unprecedented sponsorships and donations.”

Kimberly Sauvageau, Orange County Pride board president, mentioned in the comments section of the post that the cost of Santa Ana police last year was $53,000.

Number 2

“Safety concerns amid the 2024 election year, spotlighting LGBTQIA+ issues nationally, played a crucial role,” the post read.

The fairgrounds private property status ensures “heightened security, shielding the event from disruptive elements.”

Several people in the comments mentioned that at last year’s Orange County Pride, anti-gay and anti-trans protesters walked up to the “kid zone” in downtown Santa Ana and shouted hateful speech, including calling people pedophiles and scaring the kids.

Number 3

The festival’s growth constraints within downtown Santa Ana necessitated finding a venue capable of accommodating expansion, organizers said.

The expansion in Costa Mesa means increased entertainment slots, additional festival zones, and plans to establish year-round organizational staff, organizers said.

Number 4

Relocation will improve accessibility for attendees and volunteers, provide more parking, and address disability access concerns, organizers said.

Also, Orange County Pride wants to work with transportation companies to facilitate rides for senior attendees, organizers said.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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