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Countywide : 15,000 Expected at Gay Pride Gathering

A variety of artists, speakers and cultural and political groups will gather for the sixth annual Orange County Gay & Lesbian Pride Celebration at UC Irvine this weekend.

Organizers expect 15,000 visitors on the grounds at Aldrich Park. The festival runs from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Entry fees are $10 each day, but they are half-price Sunday for those who attend all weekend.

Festival organizers have scheduled a series of “issues awareness” seminars to recognize the 25th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots. The June, 1969, riots launched the country’s gay rights movement.

The seminars run from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Art Expo/Coffee House. A panel will discuss gay issues in the media, and speakers include San Clemente artist John Breitweiser, named Man of the Year by the festival sponsor, Orange County Cultural Pride Inc. A video illustrating Stonewall celebrations will be shown from 5 to 6 p.m.

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A variety of gay artists will display their work at the Art Expo during the weekend.

About 140 groups and organizations will set up booths to give information and display artwork. Singers, bands and comedians will perform from 2 to 10 p.m. both days.

The festival’s parade begins at noon Sunday. For the first time, participants will leave the festival grounds and march around the perimeter of the campus. The parade begins at Berkeley Avenue, turns left on Campus Drive and continues to Bridge Road.

Free child care will be available.

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