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Laguna Beach Pride to celebrate gay community with weekend party

Laguna Beach Pride to celebrate gay community with weekend party
Laguna Beach Pride, sponsored by the Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Committee, will celebrate the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Friday through Sunday. (File Photo)

Laguna Beach Pride, a celebration of the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, returns Friday through Sunday with parties, dancing, music and other attractions around town.

The annual fixture, sponsored by the Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Committee, kicks off with a party at Main Street Bar & Cabaret from 4 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday. The bar, at 1460 S. Coast Hwy., will host a costume contest at 10 p.m. Prizes will include gift bags and VIP tickets to another Pride party Saturday.

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Main Street Bar also will host cabaret and go-go dancer performances.

On Saturday, the Royal Hawaiian at 331 N. Coast Hwy. will feature an “aloha brunch,” bingo and Drag Queen Endora from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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The Laguna Beach Pride Pavilion, on the former site of the Boom Boom Room nightclub at 1401 S. Coast Hwy., will host festivities including DJs, a drag show and dancing from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $50 for VIP. Guests 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The property also will bring back the Boom Boom Room for music and dancing for those 21 and older beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday and going until 2 a.m. The gay nightclub closed in 2007 but has been revived on special occasions in recent years.

An alcohol-free party at West Street Beach — the city’s unofficial gay beach — will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, including music, dancing and games for all ages. There is no cover charge.

Laguna Beach has been known for its LGBTQ community and amenities dating to at least the 1920s. According to Laguna Beach Pride, the South Seas, a bar at the Coast Inn property, was popular around 1927 among straight men during the day and gay men after dark. A tent city put up downtown in 1964 became associated with housing gay men, resulting in police sweeps.

Laguna’s Bob Gentry became the first openly gay mayor in Orange County in 1982. He served on the council until 1994, the year the city hosted its first Pride event.

In recent years, however, observers have remarked on how Laguna’s LGBTQ scene has waned. Main Street Bar & Cabaret is the city’s sole remaining gay club; several others have closed.

In 2017, local Realtor Chris Tebbutt formed the Laguna Beach LGTBQ Heritage & Culture Committee with the goal of establishing events and artwork. Also last year, the city declared June as LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Month.

For more information about this year’s Laguna Beach Pride and to buy tickets, visit lagunabeachpride.org.

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