Gallery: Sacramento Pride 2024 goes down as a celebration of community joy

Pride performer Michael Medrano connects with audiences on the Faces Stage on June 8. Medrano was one of the closing artists for the first day of the festival. (Photo by Madelaine Church)

By Madelaine Church

More than 30,000 people filled the streets of California’s capital last weekend to take part in its annual Pride Festival. The gathering marked the largest and most inclusive annual celebration of LGBTQ+ culture in the Sacramento region. First launched in 1979, the event is hosted by the Sacramento LGBT Center and commemorates the historic Stonewall Rebellion that happened a decade before its inception. 

Sacramento LGBT Center volunteer services manager Hollis Sweet said that without locals lending a hand, it wouldn’t be possible to host Pride. Volunteers ensure the festival remains a safe, clean and vibrant atmosphere for all. 

“I feel it’s important when [the volunteers] show up because it feels like the world is showing up,” Sweet reflected.  

The free parade kicked off late Sunday morning with an array of dazzling displays. Participants began in Southside Park, steadily making their way to the Capitol building. Thousands lined the streets to cheer for the marchers, floats and dancers. Many found the vibe electrifying.

Sage Beamon watched it all happen. The Sacramento resident said she enjoyed seeing so many people fill the streets. 

“The parade was fun!” Beamon noted. “I loved seeing the community come together. … It was just a fun and pure celebration of queerness in the community.” 

The streets of Capitol Mall were lined with eye-catching booths. Clothes, jewelry and art were all on display, along with a variety of food options. While plenty of large businesses were involved, smaller businesses were also making their mark. Among them was Strapping, a local gift shop. Kate Burkhalter, operations manager for Strapping, felt excited to be vending at Pride. 

“We are out here to support ourselves, families and staff,” Burkhalter said. “There are people out there who have never heard of our shops before, so it’s great exposure to be out here.” 

The festivities were punctuated by an array of live performances across two stages, including DJs, singers, drag performances, mariachi, belly dancing and more. Daya, an American singer and songwriter, was Sacramento Pride’s headliner, taking to the Faces Pride Stage on Saturday night. 

Faye King It is a local drag king who performs frequently in Sacramento and also stepped into the spotlight at Pride. He said it’s a great spot to perform because it’s one of the main events where the LGBTQ+ community gathers and celebrates. 

“Performing [at Pride] allows me to express myself and I get to see the joy and love here,” said Faye King It. “It’s a great spot and creates a community.” 

Organizers of Sacramento Pride stressed prioritizing the creation of clean, accessible and safe spaces for all attendees. They provided options that catered to different groups, including their Q-Spot, a space for individuals aged 13-24 who have not publicly identified as LGBTQ+ to interact and watch live drag performances. Also at Pride was Club 55, a space for older adults, individuals with sensory sensitivity, mobility needs, and pregnant people. Leather Pride vendors, which offered a welcoming and secure environment for attendees to celebrate kink. Organizers also focused on sustainability with their Planet Proud project, which worked to divert waste at the festival.

Alejandra Alberson, an Auburn resident, attended Sacramento Pride for the first time last weekend. Alberson was raised in Texas in an environment she says didn’t accept LBGTQ rights, autonomy or dignity. She observed that she felt safe attending Sacramento’s celebration.  

“It’s important to be able to show who you are, and feel safe,” Alberson mentioned. “We should be able to do that all year long, but it’s nice to have a day dedicated for that.”

housands of people fill the streets to attend the annual Sacramento Pride march Sunday, June 9. (Photo by Madelaine Church)
There was no shortage of clapping for the Wind Youth Services group as it marched in Sacramento Pride. (Photo by Madelaine Church)
Large numbers of people fill the streets for Sacramento’s Pride march last weekend(Photo by Madelaine Church)
Sacramento Drag Queen Unieke Moore gets the energy going on the Badlands Stage at Pride on Sunday, June 9. (Photo by Madelaine Church)
Sutter Health participates in Sacramento’s Pride festivities. (Photo by Madelaine Church)
Sacramento’s Pride parade began in Southside Park and concluded at Capitol Mall. (Photo by Madelaine Church)
Attendees of Pride watch Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus perform on Faces Stage during the Sacramento Pride Festival on Saturday, June 8. (Photo by Madelaine Church)
Pride performer Michael Medrano connects with audiences on the Faces Stage on June 8. Medrano was one of the closing artists for the first day of the festival. (Photo by Madelaine Church)

This story was funded by the City of Sacramento’s Arts and Creative Economy Journalism Grant to Solving Sacramento. Following our journalism code of ethics and protocols, the city had no editorial influence over this story and no city official reviewed this story before it was published. Our partners include California Groundbreakers, Capital Public Radio, Outword, Russian America Media, Sacramento Business Journal, Sacramento News & Review, Sacramento Observer and Univision 19.

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