By Kristin Ranuio
Napa Valley LGBTQ Pride week takes place this year from June 11-18. A group of all volunteers, known as the LGBTQ Pride committee, spent around five months planning to ensure a wide range of activities and events with something for everyone. It begins Thursday, June 11, with “Q at the Q!” Napa Pride Kickoff Celebration at the Q Restaurant & Bar in Bel Air Plaza from 5:30 to 9 PM. Come, order up some of your favorite barbecue and other culinary delights at a social event to welcome everyone to a week of Pride celebrations. A low-key affair, it is the perfect way to start the week and connect with friends, old and new.
Friday, June 12, means it’s time for the Fogata Bonfire at LGBTQ Connection on Lincoln Ave. from 7:30 to 10:30 PM. The Spanish word for bonfire, Fogata is a night filled with fire pits, food, and fun. The casual affair brought new faces last year, and is especially popular with the younger crowd. There is no cost, making it a free night and a good time.
Saturday, June 16, has two events, one during the day, and another adult-only celebration in the evening. From noon until three, the Got Unity? Pride Family Picnic takes place at Crane Park bocce courts in St. Helena. Another free event, it is an opportunity for families and friends of all ages to come together for a relaxed afternoon of fun, hosted by UnityNapa, formerly known as Unity League.
When night falls, the 21-and-over crowd can head over to City Winery for an evening of comedy and dancing. Called, “Saturday Night Live meets Saturday Night Fever”, the night begins with three comedians taking the stage to entertain and delight. Afterwards, local DJ, Rotten Robbie, takes over for a night of dancing. Comedy is from 6 to 8 PM, dancing from 8:30 PM to midnight. Tickets are $20 per event, or $35 for both; doors open at 5 PM. There will be a no-host bar and City Winery will have its menu available to order from. Reservations can be made for dinner that night, and are highly recommended.
Sunday means it’s time for Drag Brunch at the newly-reopened Carpe Diem Wine Bar, another event for the 21 and over crowd. While enjoying brunch, come see drag kings and queens entertain and mingle with the crowd from 11 AM to 3 PM.
Monday also has two activities planned. The first is the Youth & Senior Intergenerational Luncheon from 12 to 2 PM at Napa Valley Lutheran Church. This is a chance to bring generations together to share stories, wisdom, and camaraderie. Monday night offers something for just the younger crowd, 20 and under, with “Night with the Stars,” a youth-Pride dance at Black and White Center. Committee member, Ian Stanley, is especially fond of this event. “It’s something I couldn’t have dreamed of as a youth,” he said.
Tuesday, June 16, brings options, with two events in the spirit of supporting local businesses being held in the evening. Pride Night at Oxbow Market is being held from 5 to 8 PM, and Pride Wine Tasting at Mark Herold Wine Tasting Room, across the street, is going from 7:30 – 9 PM With the close proximity to each other, it would be easy to do both.
All day Wednesday, June 17th, there is a Pride Pizza-Party Dine & Donate event at Mary’s Pizza Shack, and the ice cream social at Monarcas, benefiting PFLAG. Although both events are going strong all day long, there are meet-ups planned from 12-2 PM and 5-7 PM.
To round out the week, on Thursday, June 18, from 6 to 9:30 PM, we close with a film and art show at Black and White Center, featuring the film, Sin Visa. Sin Visa explores the struggles and triumphs of an undocumented student and the challenges he faces, including within his own community. The 84 minute film will be shown, along with an art show featuring the work of Napa actor and artist, Edgar-Arturo Camacho-Gonzalez, who also stars in the film. Two other short films from Zarco Films; Lluvia Fria, and Bi.das will also be screened.
This year, Pride lanyards will again be available. Pick one up at the Napa Farmers’ Market or any Pride event for five dollars. Get your lanyard scanned at each event you attend for an entry into a drawing for a variety of prizes.
Napa Valley LGBTQ Pride week is open to all, and offers something for everyone. All ages, sexual orientations, and ethnicities are invited and welcome to participate in the week’s fun, safe, and welcoming events designed not only for a good time, but to bring the entire