Traditionally, San Diego is associated with Comic Con, Shamu and tasty, young skater boys. But on the weekend of July 20, this laidback beach town will unfurl a multitude of rainbow flags and usher in the 38th Annual San Diego Pride celebration. In a nod to the LGBT community's many national victories over the past year (New York's legalization of same-sex marriage, the repeal of DADT, Obama's public endorsement of gay marriage), this year's theme is America's Pride. While reveling in these historic triumphs with our queer brethren is enough motivation for some Angelenos to venture south, others may need a stronger nudge. That's why Frontiers has created a neophyte's guide to navigating the best of San Diego Pride 2012. We understand that leaving the comfort zone of L.A. is unnerving, but in the words of Luscious Jackson, "All the best things make you nervous, and all the best things come in surprise." Oh, and did we mention the cute skater boys?
AMERICA’S PRIDE FESTIVAL
Sat., July 21, noon-10 p.m.
Sun., July 22, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Balboa Park (6th Avenue and Laurel)
Pride’s premier celebration includes multiple stages of entertainment, over 80 musicians, bands, comedy and dance performers, 300 participating vendor booths, cultural presentations and great food. Highlights include a "hiNrg" dance floor, beer gardens, wine grotto, leather realm, 'Art of Pride' showcase for LGBT local artists and, of course, the hilarious Sandra Bernhard.
PRIDE OF HILLCREST BLOCK PARTY
Fri., July 20, 6-11 p.m.
Normal Street and University Avenue
Hillcrest is practically WeHo's kissing cousin, so most L.A. boys will fit right in at this Pride kick-off party. The event features an open-air dance floor, DJ stage, tons of entertainment and a gigantic Ferris wheel. Visit PrideofHillcrest.com for advance discount tickets.
LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS, OH MY!
Sat., June 30, 1-7 p.m.
Registration starts at The Range Kitchen & Cocktails, 1263 University Ave.
Time magazine once stated that the Stonewall Riots were "inspirited by a potent cocktail of pent-up rage [and] overwrought emotions (hours earlier, thousands had wept at the funeral of Judy Garland)." So it’s appropriate that the official pub crawl of San Diego Pride, an event commemorating gay history's definitive rebellion, is an overt nod to Ms. Garland, the LGBT community's fairy godmother. Partygoers are encouraged to dress as Wizard of Oz characters and pub crawl all over Hillcrest.
ALL IN PRIDE CELEBRATION
Tue., June 26, 6:30 p.m.-midnight
W Hotel, 421 W. B Street
Pride will honor this year’s Spirit of Stonewall honorees with an awards reception, followed by the finale of the “Voice of America’s Pride” competition and will end with a dance party. This free event is open to the public.
PRIDE 3-2-1 GO!
Sat., June 30, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Eden, 1202 University Ave.
Pride's final countdown party. Register at the aforementioned pub crawl or RSVP with Pride for free cover before 11 p.m.
OUT AT THE PARK
Sat., May 19, 7 p.m.
Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd.
San Diego's annual LGBT jock fest is full of firsts this year. Not only will it be the first time the Padres compete with the Angels in interleague play at Petco Park, but it'll also be the first time baseball superstar Albert Pujols will appear in San Diego as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, says SD LGBT Pride Executive Director Dwayne Crenshaw
Sat., July 21, 11 a.m.
University Avenue and Normal Street
The parade typically serves as the linchpin to any Pride event, and San Diego is no different. In fact, as the fourth largest in the nation, this parade is expected to attract over 197,000 spectators and significant media attention. The parade begins at Normal Street, proceeding west on University Avenue to 6th Avenue, turning south on 6th Avenue and ending at Balboa Drive and Upas Street.
Urban Mo's 308 University Avenue
Nothing's worse than drinking on an empty stomach, so you might as well hit up one of San Diego's many unique eateries. Fans of kitsch will appreciate Urban Mo's, a nonjudgmental gay bar/ grill that believes cocktail glasses should be adorned with plastic farm animals.
Find discounted ticket and registration information for many of the above Pride events at SanDiegoPride.org.