Credit: Alex Spiegel

This year’s Pacific Pride Festival isn’t just about celebrating Santa Barbara’s LGBTQ+ community; it’s about bringing together the entire city to unite in light of the recent uptick in attacks against the queer community across the country.

Credit: Alex Spiegel

“This year’s festival finds us at a time when an increase in attacks against members of the LGBTQ+ community, both nationally and locally, have targeted those we love through violence, legislation and acts of intimidation,” said Kristin Flickinger, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation. “Pride is about celebrating each individual in their wholeness.”

The festival returns Saturday, August 26, at Chase Palm Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with live entertainment, food trucks, and a beer garden that the Pacific Pride Foundation hopes will “ignite a feeling of togetherness, joy, and strength throughout the larger community.”

Organizers said this year’s festival prioritized themes of “belonging and access,” making sure that every aspect of the event would be welcoming and equitable to all attendees. This includes offering Spanish, Mixteco, and American Sign Language interpretation for all stage shows, and a dedicated “raised platform” developed to allow attendees with wheelchairs and mobility differences to view onstage talent without issue.

Credit: Alex Spiegel

Live performances start at 11 a.m., beginning with “Art as Resistance,” which is described as “a rousing hour featuring queer artists with a message of empowerment, introspection, and inclusion.” The event’s headliner will be Calypso Jetè Balmain, a celebrated activist and entertainer also known as the “Mother of the House of Balmain.”

Attendees can also visit several festival spaces, with areas carved out for Arts, Health, Outdoors, Spirituality, and a Social Justice Action Center, sponsored by The Fund for Santa Barbara, where attendees can spend time talking with the elected representatives from noon to 3 p.m.

Also new this year will be a sober space called “Sparkletown,” and a silent disco.

The event will be free and open to all ages, though organizers are encouraging visitors to use public transportation as parking will be “very limited.” Bike valet will be provided, as will a free shuttle running all day between Isla Vista and the festival.

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