As an SF dweller for the last eight years, people find it rather amazing that I’ve never gone down to Long Beach Pride. I’ve always thought to myself, well, I’m in SF, how can this one be beat? This year I was invited down to celebrate with a friend of mine, and after figuring out the feasibility of going with a broken foot, I decided to give it a go. Thus, not only was this my first time to Long Beach, but it was also my first time in a wheelchair. The wheelchair experience alone was enough for an article in and of itself, but I’ll spare you that story and stick to Pride.

long beach pride, stands

First of all, trying to compare the two Pride celebrations really doesn’t work. They’re just too different to exist in the same conversation”¦one is downtown and crammed with people, big names and multiple parades. The other is at the beach, on one site, and spread out in a more digestible fashion. So what it comes down to is what you’re looking for. I enjoy both scenes, and having a broken foot I was glad I was at the slower of the two.

Don’t get me wrong-Long Beach Pride is still chock full of partying, people watching and general mayhem. The floats are a little less enterprise and more Mom & Pop, which is a bit refreshing. Personally, I get a bit sick of seeing Bank of America Pride floats. I mean, I love the support, but I’m here to see some happy gender-ambiguous party people, not a blow-up ATM.

This year the main stage headliner was Queen Latifah, and I must admit I’m a bit sad I missed her. Unfortunately the wheelchair antics totally wore me out and I didn’t last after a long day in the sun and (more than) a few beverages. I was happy to hear it was her and not a boy band, though.

One of my favorite places was the house tent. The crew and I pretty much perched here for the duration of the festival. Find yourself a patch of grass here and the people-watching rivals that of Dolores Park”¦with more dancing. And believe it or not, more skin.

Anyway, I’m not going to go on and on about my personal LB Pride experience. It won’t do you any good anyway, since everyone has their own story to tell. But! I will say that I’m a true convert now-LB Pride is rad, and I’ll be going back for sure.

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