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Sonoma County Pride 2012 – Have a Ball!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 | Posted by
Gay By Nature

If you ask current residents of Guerneville where they’re originally from, they’ll answer “Oh, Muleshoe, Texas, or Yonkers, or Hobbs, New Mexico, or Slidell, Louisiana.” Very rarely do they say they’re “from here.” But with no hesitation they add that they’re so glad they’re here now and they consider themselves Sonomans by osmosis.  And the pride and joy with which they make that proclamation is fairly obvious.

Guerneville Lodge

So for the last several years, local citizens have been compelled to express their good luck and appreciation by having a parade down Guerneville’s Main Street, generally followed by an outpouring of hugging and radiant smiles.

Over the years, it has grown and evolved into a mighty expression of affection, and this year’s celebration, taking place on the lush, grassy riverfront meadows of Guerneville Lodge on Sunday, June 3,  should be the most monumental one yet.

The Pride parade will begin at 11 a.m. and run west to east down Main Street in Guerneville. And if this past winter’s holiday light parade is any indication, it should have more imaginative and diverse floats than ever before, and brim with more jubilation and good will.

Efren Carrillo

Dr. Marshall Kubota

Grand Marshalls this year are LGBT-friendly Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carrillo and Dr. Marshall Kubota.  Practicing currently in Santa Rosa with 33 years experience under his belt, Kubota has a long association with the West County Health Centers, primarily specializing in HIV/AIDS treatment and research. He also has become a leader in educating and instructing medical professionals and lay persons in ways to deal with HIV and AIDS, and continuing to be called upon by medical professionals around the world. He is a hero to many people in Lower River communities.

The festive crowd will then drift down the street to the celebration site, Guerneville Lodge at 15905 River Road, with its  expansive lawn, riverfront location and huge deck-with-a-view. There will be vendors at the arts and crafts area, and a full line-up of family oriented games, including a dunk tank and an inflatable jumpy house.

Pride 2012 will see the return of Lilith’s Lounge, the Radical Faerie Freedom Village and the Pride in Wine Country Terrace, which will feature six outstanding Sonoma County wineries, including Paul Mathew Vineyards, Hart’s Desire, Moshin Vineyards, Raymond Burr, Bjornstad Cellars and de la Montanya.

The Pride Planning Committee has chosen as this year’s Mistress of Ceremonies Sister Sara Femme Fatale, a charismatic veteran MC with Women’s Weekend, Sisters Bingo and other jamborees under her slimline belt. She’s excited about her role, and the Sisters say that “parents accompanied by small children are encouraged to remember that every effort will be made to respect the family-friendly nature of this festival.”

A series of fundraisers planned by the Sisters to pay for this FREE event include a performance by Lolita Hernandez from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at Chrome Lotus,  501 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, and “a riotously amusing variety show,” SoCo Talent Idol on June 2 at the R3Hotel (formerly the Russian River Resort). SoCo Talent Idol is the novice project of Novice Sister Yoda Layheeehooo of the Russian River Sisters. A successful novice project is a requirement for trading the white veil for a black one that indicates an advancement to fully professed status.

Sr Sara Femme Fatale and Sr Sorenda da Booty

A very  special only-in-Guerneville event will be a Commitment & Re-commitment Ceremony. Couples will gather on the patio of Guerneville Lodge at 3 p.m. The ceremony gives couples the opportunity to pledge their commitment to each other publicly before friends and family. The ceremony will be conducted en masse, but participants will have a moment to privately exchange vows or a token of their love.  Friends and family are welcome to attend, and commemorative certificates will be available for each couple. There is no cost or pre-registration for this event. Just show up!

One of the celebration’s most stunning features will be the entertainment. The heady lineup includes Safety Orange, a high energy surf music band from San Diego; the “sultry experimental sound” of Audrey Howard and the Misters; a high energy four-piece band from San Francisco, The Del Mars, beachy and dance-oriented calorie burners; the “electronic primitivism” of a duo called Adonisaurus, which “will fossilize all preconceived notions of electronica;” Tehya, featuring diverse influence from the ’50s until now; Finding Stella, with two front women indulging in a classic rock spirit guaranteed to warm the crowd; Society’s Child, a five-piece group channeling echoes of Jefferson Airplane; and singer-songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine, a prize-winner at West Coast Songwriter’s Association.

Segwaying Sisters

Additionally, Metropolitan Community Church of the Redwood Empire will host a Pride Pancake Breakfast from 9 to 11a.m.,  a benefit for the World AIDS Day Quilt Display,which will take place at Odd Fellows Hall, 16219 First St. (one block over from Main Street). Breakfast will include pancakes, eggs, meat and  juice or coffee for $9. The Pride Committee encourages revelers to arrive early and come have breakfast before the parade.

The 6th Annual Pride Interfaith Service – Gay By Nature will conclude the 2012 Sonoma County Pride Parade & Celebration week. The service will be held 7-8:15 p.m. Sunday, June 10, at Christ Church United Methodist, 1717 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. It “will bring together religious leaders and musicians from diverse religious traditions within Sonoma County to acknowledge and celebrate the spiritual presence found in every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex, Questioning and Straight person.”

The Russian River Sisters  Pride Planning Committee promises “more GLITTER, more GLAM and more INDULGENCE!”  Pride Chair, Sister Scarlet Equality Billows says, “We really need the community to get involved if we are to craft an event that captures the essence of LGBTQI

Sr Scarlet Billows

life in Sonoma County.”

There are many communities throughout America that make it a point to practice tolerance, but living a life of love and acceptance, regardless of preferences, is Guerneville’s hallmark, and the community interaction and warm acceptance is what makes it so unique and special. No wonder its citizens feel so proud.

  • Mikki Goldstein Herman

    Lovely, Stephen. You’ve certainly captured my feelings for the place!

    • Stephen Gross

      Thanks for taking the time to write – I guess there’s a reason (or two) when we have so many choices, that we choose to live here.

  • http://KarenLockertArt.Fineartstudioonline.com Karen Lockert

    This one is a reason for you, too, to be proud, Keep up the good work. :)

  • Stephen Gross

    It’s very kind of you to be so supportive – and it’s always good to hear from you! The First Friday Art Walk is a brilliant way to promote interaction among our villagers and bring so many people together.
    Thank you!

  • http://www.sonomacountypride.org Mary Agneberg

    Beautifully written Stephen! Thank you for covering the Sonoma County Pride Parade & Celebration!

  • Laura Mueller

    Great coverage, Stephen! I’ll be announcing for the parade, along with Owen (Alice Dee) Edwards…see you there?

  • Laura Mueller

    And, hey, that picture of Scarlet is hot!

  • Jim Longacre

    Thanks for the great article!! I am so fortunate to be part of this wonderful community!

    • Stephen Gross

      Thanks for choosing to be part of our community and for taking the time to write.

  • Kayte G.


  • Doug

    We need to import some law enforcement folks from Moscow ….

    • Stephen Gross

      What laws do you expect they’ll have to enforce?
      Maybe you mean Moscow Road?

  • Beth Rudometkin

    Thank you so much for such a fabulous article! I am very proud to be part of such a loving and accepting community.

    • Stephen Gross

      It’s people like yourself who make it such a warm, delightful and nurturing place in which to live. And thanks for taking the time to read my post. I really appreciate it!

  • Beth Rudometkin

    I love our town!

    • Stephen Gross

      It’s not everyone who’s lucky enough to feel so positively about where they’ve chosen to live. I think we’re both blessed.

      • carol schwartz

        great article,hope to be there

  • Shelly

    In years past the Cattle Co has had blow-up dolls in their convertible – How does that “respect the family-friendly nature of this festival” My experience having grown up in this town has been extreme reverse discrimination. Where is the accepting gay community to us “breeders”

    • Stephen Gross

      Macy’s has really big ones floating over New York’s 5th Avenue every Thanksgiving and no one seems to mind.

    • http://www.sonomacountypride.org Mary Agneberg

      Shelly- I saw one doll & had it put away, so thanks for the heads up. There were quite a few families and straight people at Pride- to me that is part of the success. I don’t think of straight people as breeeders and have many gay and lesbian friends with children & grandchildren. I personally love them & wish I’d had one. And I haven’t noticed much by way of “reverse discrimination” but I did get smacked in the face by a drunk & mindless straight girl once. She now has a child & I do hope she has matured a little and isn’t breeding hate.

  • Casey

    Thank you, Stephen, for the lovely article.

    My response to Shelly would be to ask the Senior Center, the schools in Guerneville, Forestville and the surrounding community, the firefighters, the Little League, the Dogs for Diabetics, etc. etc. about the “extreme reverse discrimination.” Each year the Sisters give grants to organizations such as these. Those microscopes your children are using in school, or the 8th grade trip your children have attended, or the Project Grad party? Those may have been partially funded by the Sisters. Discrimination against “breeders”? Please check your issues at the door.

    • Stephen Gross

      You make a good point, Casey. In fact, according to a March 28 posting:

      The Russian River Sisters have revealed the winners of their most recent grants. They are:

      West County Health Centers – Forestville Teen Clinic
      Russian River Senior Resource Center – Guerneville
      West County Health Centers – Forestville Wellness Center
      KGGV radio – Guerneville
      Piner High School Project Grad – Santa Rosa
      Food for Thought – Forestville
      Sadie’s Horse Rescue – Sebastopol
      Becoming Independent – Santa Rosa
      PALS (Pets Are Loving Support) – Russian River area
      El Molino High School Music Program – Forestville
      KOWS Community radio – Occidental
      Russian River Firefighter’s Association – Guerneville
      Elsie Allen High School Music Program – Santa Rosa
      Community Clean Water Institute – Russian River area
      Sonoma County Hepatitis AIDS Risk Reduction Program ( SHARP)
      Turning Deserts into Forests – Sebastopol
      Face to Face – AIDS Emergency Fund – Santa Rosa
      Martial Arts Youth Institute (MAYI) – Santa Rosa
      Community Action Partnership – Youthbuild – Santa Rosa
      Friends Outside – Sonoma County
      West County Community Services Adventures for Kids – Guerneville

      Just imagine, Shelly, how many blow up dolls the Sisters could have bought with all that money they gave away.

      • http://www.sonomacountypride.org Mary Agneberg

        The Sisters had nothing to do with the doll- I never saw it.

  • http://www.sonomacountypride.org Mary Agneberg

    I’d like to point out that we had 30+ contingents and if only had something objectionable that’s not to bad. And most kids wouldn’t understand the significance of a the doll anyway- probably would just laugh at it. There is nothing we can do about things that happened in the past. This year we are making a special efffort to be family-friendly. I don’t recall the exact wording in the but the rules ask the contingents to refrain from nudity, lewd and inappropriate behavior etc. I’ll ask the people at the sign in to remind the contingents. If it were a group of frat boys riding with the doll would your response to be different?

  • Willow

    I’m looking forward to walking in the parade (with my dog, Trav) with other volunteers from Food For Thought Food Bank.

    This was a great article. Thank you.

  • Carin JK

    Thank you Sisters for being so inspirational on so many levels…you are awesome!

  • Angelique Heddings

    “Under her slimline belt”? Is that a fat joke????

    Lovely article Stephen! Thanks for supporting us so beautifully!!!! Much love!!

    Sister Sara Femme Fatale

  • Pingback: Free To Be Me Bingo will both liberate and identify you - Guerneville, CA

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