Fresno Rainbow Pride Gives Thanks and Recaps Pride 2012

It is said that takes a village to raise a child, BUT I call tell you it takes a community to raise a pride. People, their time, energy, efforts, and spirit are irreplaceable.

There are so many people to thank for making Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival such a success. There is no hierarchy or order that would be appropriate to show my and Community Link’s gratitude. So I will use the term “First off” I would like to thank everyone involved we could not have made Pride Bright and colorful without all of you.

To put on such a large and expensive event Community link’s Fresno Rainbow Pride has to relay on an array of individuals for planning, implementation, and execution. From brain storming, organizing, purchasing, reserving, ordering, networking, staffing, attending meetings, and all of the physically hard work.

Fresno Rainbow Pride depends on the majority of the Community Link Board of Directors who also play-roles during the planning and or are the day of the event staff. We have Fresno Rainbow Pride committee coordinators who play the major role of planning and organizing the festivities. And finally we have many individuals that are the day of the event staff that are significant key factors in making the day go smoothly and finally all of the Pride volunteers that come out to set up the festival, act as safety monitors, work the gate, coordinating the parade entries, taking pictures of the event, work with getting the venders to their spots and getting them their tables and chairs, working our concession stands, being stage managers, and hugely importantly helping us tear down and clean up the parade and festival areas.

I could not possibly do the work I do without my husband, Juan Bustamante’s support and assistance. I lean and depend on him to keep me moving and going. Every Year he has consistently taken on more and more for me and the community. It is truly only for the love he has for me, and truth be told he would rather give up all of this community organizing to have a simpler life and to be able to just sit back and enjoy this unique cultural event. He will often tell folks that he has not been able to watch the parade since 2003. The year Community Link took over the annual Pride Celebration. 

I have a female co-chair at Community Link, Lorraine Wing, she handles delivering all of our permit applications to the city and securing police signatures for the California Alcoholic Beverage Control applications for our special one day beer and wine license, two huge headaches. She runs interference between these bureaucracies and the organizing committee. This means lots of running back and forth to get all the concerns they come up with addressed so that we can move forward. She is our “honey-do,” catching all kinds odds and ends like repairing the rock work on the old ornamental fountain at our Rainbow Parkette, dead-heading the spent blossoms, planting, weeding, trimming the Parkette plantings. This year she ran over town to find the best rate for new trash cans and tables something that was within our limited budget. She found a new trophy shop for our grand marshal plaques and pride awards. Lorraine and a group of volunteers folded the couple hundred t-shirts and labeled each volunteer’s shirt based on size and committee duties. She is our ice deliverer and spends the whole day working our concession stand and stays to help pack everything up.

Kirk Caldwell, while not working as a committee member this year, is irreplaceable. He is our graphics designer, our web-master, T-shirt layout artist, program coordinator, ad designer, poster and flyer and billboard and banner layout artist. Festival site plan designer, develops the booth layout map, chalks out the individual festival spaces, develops our PSAs for radio promotions and most of the time catches all of my spelling and grammar errors. This is just a sampling of what he does for Fresno Rainbow Pride. He does tons of other stuff for community Link such as the website, News Link and the Radio show “It’s a Queer Thang.”

Kevin Caldwell, Kirk’s husband, does all of the running for Kirk and there is a lot of it. Kevin is the secretary for Community Link and is one of our distributors for the News Link.

Mark McKay, Andrew Strambi, Ron and Jerry Community Link Board members who donate their time the whole day at the beer and wine booth. These four work their asses off to safe guard our ability to have the beer garden and to serve the thirsty crowds. Jerry and Carol personal friends of Mark and Andrew’s have been trusted and dependable beer attendants for at least the past three years.

Roy a former Community Link Board member continues to help make sure that no underage person gets any alcohol. He is our carder extraordinary. He is a very vital component in safe guarding our liquor license. He helps move the lines along quite quickly. He also gives up his whole pride day to make us successful.

Rachel Joy Bowman handles of the equipment rentals, logistics, and items needed for making the festival happen. She is totally amazing about getting us the best deal possible and getting businesses in the festival area involved with Pride. She is extremely dependable and she keeps me on my toes.

Sara Martinez, while not a committee member this year, was a life-saver for us this year. Taking her “final” class exam early to free up her Saturday to be able to come work Pride. She single handily organized a new check in/check out process to make it easier for all concerned. She also brought her wife Sabina, family and friends to help our younger person in training, Tiff, our official booth coordinator, who was pressed into service due to a huge shortage in staff. Tiff showed a lot of courage to jump in and take on a job she had never done before. Tiff is a young person with a huge amount of potential. She is also being trained to be a board operator/producer for “It’s a Queer Thang.”

Rachel “Banana” Wilson is another young person with amazing potential. She is a Community Link Board member, Fresno Rainbow Pride committee member in charge of volunteers, and the future facilitator of the Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance. Rachel is probably the most amazing young person I have worked with in many years. She organizes herself and all other youth who make up the biggest part of our festival volunteers. She and JoJo her boyfriend/ally really took total responsibility to water our Parkette and keeping it green.

Crystal Macias is another Fresno Rainbow Pride committee member-at-large. She was asked to fill any need that the committee had. Stuffing envelops helping to create mailing lists, creating email address lists, loading and unloading trucks, and helping with the Partkette. Crystal is also a peer facilitator with Rachel of the Fresno Youth Alliance, helps with mailing out the News Link every month, and an assistant with maintaining the community achieves. 

These young people were our parkette volunteers: Banana, JoJo, Crystal, Tiff, Bobby, Luna and OZ. Also helping with the parkette were Juan, Lorraine, Rachel Bowman, Jane and me this year.

Our Parade coordinators who make the Parade smooth and professional Patty Colucci, Cindy Williams, Elizabeth Dayton-Williams, Susan Kuhn, and Jon Pace. This group showed up year after year and makes sure that everyone is organized and that the parade starts on time. Starting on time is a miracle in the gay community and they get it done every tear.

Artemis Recovery Motorcycle Club, the L-Riders, and the Sacramento Dykes on Bikes had the biggest turn out we have seen in years for our motorcycle contingent. Somewhere between 20-25 bikes. They brought back the days of old and it was great to see such a large turn out.

Peter Robertson who has been my co-emcee since 2003 of the parade. He also works quietly behind the scenes and helps hold people accountable. His contributions are numerous, but he is humble and does not look for recognition.

Chris and Luis have become godsends as they are true work horses and bust their assess off to help get the festival set up and ready to be opened at 11am. They then stick around and help disassemble the whole festival site including taking down the fence.

Our concession stands were ran by long time volunteers Kat and her daughter, David McGee one of Community Link’s Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance’s adult facilitators, Lorraine, Juan and a new helper.

The Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance’s “Sweet Spot” bakery goods booth was coordinated by Ryan Rickert and Kristen Rodriguez. They are two of the youth group’s other adult facilitators. They were crazed baking queens extraordinaires helping raise money for the youth prom in July. 

Zoyer wrote all of our press releases and was the back stage manager of the entertainment tent with Frank Delgado who also developed some Pride outreach materials directed to the progressive straight community. 

A big part of the festivities is the Unison Dance Party Tent that DJ and Grand Marshal Binx organizes. Unison,with an amazing array of Local DJs and GoGo boys from Unzipped and Club Papi is the main attraction for many. It’s “The Hottest Dance Party” in the valley and the thanks go to Binx.

Jonny O did a fantastic job of emceeing the Entertainment tent and was a real trooper in problem shooting problems that arose and putting in a full day of gab for everyone enjoyment.

This year two groups truly saved at the entertainment tent. The California Ground Pounders, The nationally awarding winning country cloggers, and a new group the Fresno Cali Drag Kings without them we would not have had much of a show. Both of these amazing groups revved up the crowds and put on fantastic show. Rounding out the show was Patsy Del Rey, FeFe “D” Channel, and Anthony Alvarez aka Lady Gaga, Maylisha and Raging Grannies. Of the scheduled performers only 40% actually showed up.

Our sincerest apologies go out to Anna-Knee-Cola who received an emergency call and had been told she would go on next before she had to leave. But communication between our stage manager, the emcee, and myself was totally screwed up and none of us not the message correct. Anna-Knee-Cola I am truly sorry for not getting you on stage before we started to hand out the Grand Marshal presentations and awards. 

The awards ceremony is the one aspect of the entertainment tent that must be conducted on schedule due the dignitaries and politicians that are present at that time. The Grand Marshals Bianca “Binx” Lopez, Empress Chantal Del Fuego Huntley (who was not able to be present), Justin Kamimoto of MyLGBT+, Veronica Salmeron and the LGBTQ Task Force of Fresno County, Brian Bishop (who was also not able to be present) and Judge David A Gottlieb were gracious in sharing their time and were well received by the audience. Thanks to Shay Ashton who worked on the Grand Marshal bios, along with MyLGBT+ and myself.

The Parade Awards went to:

The Largest Contingent Award: The First Congregational Church of Fresno (The Big Red Church)

The Most Festive Award: The Express

The Best Float Award: Club Legends

The CEO’s Award: WestCare

We honored Three Volunteers of the Year: Chris Armendariz and Rene Salas for their fantastic work on Fundraising and JoJo Butler, an ally, who made sure the Parkette was a wonderful green space for everyone to enjoy.

Kids Like Us hosted the children’s fun zone, thanks to Robin McGehee. Avery special thanks to Sara and Sabina for the kids goodie bags and to Melisa and Diane for their donations for kids.

Thanks to our official photographers Dan Waterhouse, Crystal Macias, and Phillip Del Reo we will be able to preserve this day of queer history. CMAC and Rachel Bowman and Lon worked to video taped the parade and interviewed community members about their take on Pride 2012, so that there will be TV presence of Pride culture for those who were not able to attend the pride celebration. 

All of this work would not mean a thing with out our sponsors, Pride Partners, and Fundraisers. Thanks yous cannot say enough to these individuals and businesses.

Our sponsors:
Chuckansi Gold Resort & Casino – $3,000
The Imperial Dove Court- $2,000
Donaghy Sales – $2,000
PG&E – $1,500
Club Legends – $1,000
The Express – $500
The Red Lantern/North Tower Circle – $500
Golden State Bears – $400
SAFE – $150
Bare Foot Wines & Bubbly – In-Kind
Fresno REEL Pride – In-Kind
KFCF – Media Sponsor
GayFresno.com – Media Sponsor
GayCentralValley – Media Sponsor
Community Alliance – Media Sponsor

Our 2012 Pride Partners:
Eric Biglione
Rene Salas
Rachel Bowman
Dr Sue Stone
Peter Robertson & Victor Kral
Susan Kuhn
Danny Goldstein & Archie Lansangan
Jim Daggs
Robin Greiner & Ellis Vance
Donald Passmore
Jane Hudson
Randy Carpenter
David McGee
David Klingensmith & Jeffrey Fay 

Richard Jennings & Peyton Bryars
Richard Stone & Avigdar Adams
Renay Rodriguez
Michael Butler and John Tippon
Don Neufeld
Sue Leaverton & Carol Parks
Benjamin Lock
Wayne Boos
Angela & Jonni Pettit
Terry Story 
Betty Harris & Sue Miller

Our Fundriasers:
“Its on for Pride” – $3,012 (Chris Armendariz and Rene Salas Fundraising Show)
The Phoenix Beer Bust – $159
Fresno Cali Drag Kings show -$900
Youth Group Car Wash –$100
Tacos Marquitos’ “Dine for Pridde” -$459
Cover Girls Show- $250

It takes quite a bit to put on Fresno Rainbow Pride. Plus the funds are need early in the game to pay for many aspects of the Pride event. Down payments, permits fees, security deposits, etc, etc, etc. Everyone from the City of Fresno to the County of Fresno to our contractors to security to insurance almost every thing must be paid in advance. Without getting the funding up front we are put further behind the eight ball. Our Pride Partners understand this and so do most of our sponsors. However we are still waiting for over $6,000 in sponsorships to come in. It’s the preverbal “The Check is in the Mail.”

To all the volunteers whose efforts, time and energy make the event possible, I will thank you on behalf of the whole community. There is no way to thank you enough. 

Thanks must also go out the all the festival venders, parade participants and you the amazing audience and pride party-goers.

If I have over looked mentioning you please accept may apology. You are all a big part of making Fresno Rainbow Pride the largest Gay event in the Valley.

In the end the 2012 Fresno Rainbow Pride was a success. A hot success. We had old friends and new Friends, such as GAP, Inc. join us for an amazingly queer day of celebration honoring the 1969 Stonewall Riots and a very happy birthday of the Gay Rights Movement.


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