1. Four decades of Pride
Forty years ago, San Diego Pride was a small-but-fierce protest. Fernando Lopez, the organization's spokesperson, says that only a few dozen people marched through downtown San Diego in the city's first Pride event.
"Many were active service members who had paper bags over their heads, since homosexuality was still considered a mental illness and they were afraid of the persecution they would face," Lopez says. "So, it's become quite a different Pride from 40 years ago."
In the four decades since, San Diego Pride has grown tremendously. It's now one of the largest annual events in the county, and, aside from the masked leather daddies, no one's covering his or her face.
Pride pre-parties are already happening, but the event officially kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, July 18, with the Spirit of Stonewall Rally and Flag Raising at the intersection of Normal Street and University Avenue in Hillcrest. Laverne Cox, the transgendered actor who plays Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black and a strong advocate for the LGBT community, is the keynote speaker. She'll be joined by other notables, including San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, July 19, the Pride Parade takes off at Normal Street in Hillcrest, heads west down University Avenue, hangs a left at Sixth Avenue, veers over to Balboa Drive and ends near Laurel Street where the Pride Celebration and Music Festival is happening from noon to 10 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 20.
This year's fest, tickets for which cost $20 for both days, includes tons of themed stages featuring live music, DJs and other performances. New this year is a beach-themed area, the Big Gay Wedding Expo and an official NASA information and outreach booth.
"We're thrilled to have NASA," Lopez says. "The more LGBT people in STEAM fields"—science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics—"the better."
Visit sandiegopride.org for a list of all of this year's Pride events.
2. Imperial Beach beckons
Admit it: You've lived in San Diego a long time, and it gnaws at you that there are certain parts of the region that you've never explored. Imperial Beach is one of those places, isn't it? Mm-hm. We thought so. Guess what: Saturday, July 19, will be a great day to finally head over to the weird little seaside enclave. That's when the Sun & Sea Festival happens, highlighted by teams of expert sand sculptors creating master works in the Original Imperial Beach Sandcastle Competition. If you can get there by 7 a.m., there's a pancake breakfast, followed by a community parade, a farmers market, an international food fair, kids' sandcastle building and live music. Get all the details at sunandseafestival.com.
There will be craft beer at Craft / Art, a comic-book art show and auction this week at the Stone Brewing Tap Room. Coinciding with Preview Night of the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, many artists are expected to drop by and do live sketches for sale. Already confirmed are Jeromy Cox, creator of "Zombie Love" and "Sonámbulo" artist Rafael Navarro. Fans of comic art can swing by the venue (795 J St. in East Village) from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, and perhaps acquire one of these fresh sketches or take part in a silent auction that'll feature artwork, books and other comic-centric merch. Proceeds benefit Media Arts Center San Diego and its Summer Youth Media & Tech Camp. Suggested donation is $5 to $10. Search for Craft/Art on Facebook.
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.