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How Gay Day grew Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Aug 20 2011 12:00 PM

Who's got pride?

The South Bay Alliance does.

This Saturday they are celebrating their eighth annual LGBT art and music festival at Memorial Park.

Founder and chair of SBA, Marci Bair, said the organization is expecting some 2,000 people to attend this year, up from 500 last year.

The South Bay has at least 17,000 LGBT residents, according to a 2005 American Community Survey for the San Diego metropolitan area.

The goal of South Bay Alliance is to promote awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community by bringing the community together through social networking, local businesses and promoting political awareness on LBGT- related issues.

Since the alliance began in 2006, the group has grown to have more than 1,000 supporters.

Originally, the event began as a small picnic called Gay Day in the South Bay and focused on events for families in the community. The alliance took over in 2006 for Family Matters, the gay parenting association of San Diego.

"Chula Vista tends to be more conservative," Bair said. "But newer Chula Vista is a lot more liberal."

Overall, Bair said this community is very well accepted in the South Bay.

"The event is important to the community to build bridges as well as open the hearts and minds of people with regard to the LGBT community rather than be divisive," Bair said.

Vendors include local churches, community organizations and local businesses.

Bair said the Alliance has changed as far as the demographics and matured to include couples with young children and seniors.

"It's important for the LGBT community to know that there is a whole community in the South Bay," she said. "And also for the officials and council members to realize there is a community here."

Young artists will also be displaying their creativity during Art of Pride in the park.

"We've also been reaching out to high schools in the community such as Castle Park, Eastlake and Hilltop High School, which will be representing at the event," Bair said.

Bair said that some of the current LGBT issues being discussed in this community include the issue of gay marriages and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military.

"We will have a former Marine and Navy man who will address this issue and talk about how things have changed now that they (military personnel) cannot be kicked out because of their sexual orientation."

An opportunity drawing will give attendees a chance to win tickets to the Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance concert Oct. 6 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater.

The event is free and from noon to 7 p.m. at Memorial Park in Chula Vista, Saturday, August 20. There is a suggested $5 donation at the gate.

An after party will be held at Urban Mo's and Gossip Grill.


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