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Five Ways to Celebrate Pride in the Willamette Valley

By Matt Wastradowski

In recent years, Oregon and the Willamette Valley have developed reputations for diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. In 2008, for instance, Stu Rasmussen made history when he was elected as the nation’s first openly transgender mayor in Silverton. And in 2016, Oregon elected Kate Brown as the state’s governor—becoming the first state to elect an openly LGBTQ+ official to its highest office.

Today, Pride Month events all over the Willamette Valley honor, celebrate, and recognize their LGBTQ+ communities through a variety of fun and important experiences. In the likes of McMinnville and Newberg, for instance, Wine Country Pride hosts street fairs and a festival that spotlights queer-owned, queer-made, and queer-grown wines from throughout the United States. And in August, even after Pride Month ends, Pride in the Park will take place at Alton Baker Park in Eugene.

Share in the celebration of our LGBTQ+ communities in June during Pride Month or later this summer; here’s a guide to Pride events throughout the Willamette Valley.

Wine Country Pride members march at the McMinnville UFO festival. Photo by Timothy Sofranko.

Some of the festivities at Wine Country Pride in 2023 include Queer Wine Fest (a celebration of queer-owned, -made, and -grown wines), Rainbow Quest (where local businesses offer special Pride-related food, beverage, or retail items for sale), a drag extravaganza, and more. Money raised from these events will support scholarships for LGBTQ+ youth and assist local advocacy organizations.

Wine Country Pride members march at the McMinnville UFO festival. Photo by Timothy Sofranko.

Since 2017, Albany Pride has created opportunities for members of the local LGBTQ+ community to connect and celebrate their identities. In the years since its formation, the group has come together each June to celebrate through a variety of fun events.

This year, Albany Pride will mark the occasion with a rally on June 24, 2023; the event also will include a march, live performances, music, vendor booths, local food trucks, and other activities. Learn more about what’s in store for Albany Pride in 2023.

June might be Pride Month, but Pride activities continue all summer long in the Willamette Valley.

On August 12, 2023, for instance, Eugene Pride will hold a pair of events celebrating the community’s LGBTQ+ community. The first event is a kickoff rally and march, which will begin downtown and end at Alton Baker Park—where the organization’s annual Pride in the Park celebration will take place. Details for this year’s festival are still being worked out, but past events have included live entertainment, food and drinks, local vendor booths, family activities, and more.

In the meantime, the Eugene Emeralds—the class-A, minor-league baseball affiliate of the San Francisco Giants—will face the Vancouver Canadians on June 23, 2023. The team’s Pride Night celebration will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and fans can bid on game-worn jerseys in a silent auction; proceeds will benefit a local nonprofit. The first 1,000 fans, meanwhile, will receive free Emeralds-branded fanny packs.

Salem’s Capital Pride organization is hosting several fun events this summer.

The first is the group’s annual Pride March, happening on June 17, 2023; it will include the namesake march and a Pride block party in downtown Salem.

Later in summer, the group’s Pride in the Park event is taking place on August 26, 2023. The event is still in the planning stages, but visitors can expect all the hallmarks of the popular event’s LGBTQ+ recognition and celebration: nonprofit and vendor booths, a 5K run and walk, live entertainment, an art show, and more.

Take part in a one-hour flow Pride Yoga practice on June 15, 2023, in downtown Salem. Admission to the event includes a limited-release yoga tank, wine, snacks, and a private shopping experience at CreativiTee (where the session will be held).

On July 22, 2023, the second annual Family Pride Day will feature a variety of fun events at Academy Square in Lebanon. The event is still in its planning stages, but events and attractions will include a celebratory walk around Academy Square, resource and education tables, LGBTQ+ business vendor booths, live entertainment and performances, and more.

Just 30 minutes west of Salem, Falls City Pride features a full weekend of fun events in Falls City. Plans are still being worked out for the event, taking place August 4-6, 2023, but past celebrations have included a Pride dance party, vendor booths, food for sale, drag queen Bingo, and a fundraiser pancake breakfast.

The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library is hosting its All-Ages Pride Party on June 3, 2023 at the library. The free event includes rainbow-themed crafts, face painting, photo booth, refreshments, and more.

All ages, genders, and orientations are welcome at the Secret Garden Ball, happening on June 3, 2023, at the Corvallis Community Center ballroom. The dance includes live music from queer and trans-led bands (including DoublePlusGood, Caleb Nichols, Grave Saddles, and Jean Shorts Jesus), free refreshments, a photo booth, and other fun attractions.

Admission is a suggested donation of $5-20 at the door, but no one will be turned away for a lack of funds; all money raised from the event will benefit The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that helps LGBTQ+ youth in crisis. Attendees are encouraged to wear fancy or “Secret Garden”-inspired attire, be substance-free, and wear masks.

Your adventure begins with the official Willamette Valley Travel Guide. Request your complimentary printed guide or download a digital guide today.

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