Five Ways to Celebrate Pride in the Willamette Valley

By Matt Wastradowski

In recent years, Oregon and the Willamette Valley have developed reputations for diversity and LGBTQ inclusivity. In 2008, for instance, Stu Rasmussen made history when he was elected as the nation’s first openly transgender mayor in Silverton. And in 2016, Oregon elected Kate Brown as the state’s governor—becoming the first state to elect an openly LGBTQ official to its highest office.

Today, Pride Month events all over the Willamette Valley honor, celebrate, and recognize their LGBTQ communities through a variety of fun and important experiences. In the likes of McMinnville and Newberg, for instance, Wine Country Pride hosts street fairs and a festival that spotlights queer-owned, queer-made, and queer-grown wines from throughout the United States. And in August, even after Pride Month ends, Pride in the Park will take place at Alton Baker Park in Eugene.

Share in the celebration  of our LGBTQ communities in June during Pride Month or later this summer; here’s a guide to Pride events throughout the Willamette Valley.

Wine Country Pride members march at this year’s McMinnville UFO festival. Photo by Timothy Sofranko.

Wine Country Pride Features Events in McMinnville, Newberg, and More

Some of the festivities in 2022 include a Wine Country Pride kickoff dinner at Pollinate Flowers (featuring a farm tour and catered dinner by Red Hills Market), a Lez Brunch meal and trivia event at Remy Wines, a street fair in McMinnville, and more. Money raised from these events will support scholarships for LGBTQ youth and assist local advocacy organizations.

Albany Pride 2022 Features Performers, Rally, and Other Events

Since 2017, Albany Pride has created opportunities for members of the local LGBTQ community to connect and celebrate their identities. In the years since its formation, the group has come together each June to celebrate through a variety of fun events.

This year, Albany Pride will mark the occasion with a rally on June 25, 2022, featuring statewide leaders from the LGBTQ community. Learn more about what’s in store for Albany Pride in 2022.

Eugene Pride in the Park Celebrates Community Through Vendors, Family Activities, and More

June might be Pride Month, but Pride activities continue all summer long in the Willamette Valley.

On August 13, 2022, for instance, Eugene Pride will hold a pair of events celebrating the community’s LGBTQ community. The first event is a kickoff rally and march, which will begin downtown and end at Alton Baker Park—where the organization’s annual Pride in the Park celebration will take place. Details for this year’s festival are still being worked out, but past events have included live entertainment, food and drinks, local vendor booths, family activities, and more.

In the meantime, the Eugene Emeralds—the class-A, minor-league baseball affiliate of the San Francisco Giants—will face the Tri-City Dust Devils on June 25, 2022. The team’s Pride Night celebration will celebrate the LGBTQ community, and fans can bid on game-worn jerseys in a silent auction; proceeds will benefit TransPonder, a grassroots nonprofit that provides support, resources, and education for local transgender communities.

Capital Pride in the Park Festival Celebrates LGBTQ Community in Salem

Also happening in August is Salem’s Capital Pride in the Park, though an exact date has not been announced as of this writing.

And while the event is still in the planning stages, visitors can expect all the hallmarks of the popular event’s LGBTQ recognition and celebration: nonprofit and vendor booths, a 5K run and walk, live entertainment, an art show, and more. Visit the Capital Pride in the Park website for the latest updates on the 2022 event.

Celebrating Salem’s Capital Pride in the Park.  Image courtesy of @oregon.fish

Family Pride Day Celebrates Diversity in Lebanon

On June 18, Family Pride Day will feature a variety of fun events at Academy Square in Lebanon. The event includes a half-mile walk around Academy Square, educational resources, games, entertainment, and a screening of the George Takei film “Who’s on Top? LGBTQs Summit Mt. Hood” The 2021 film follows four LGBTQ climbers as they attempt to summit Mount Hood, the tallest peak in Oregon, while challenging stereotypes along the way.
Family Pride Day will begin at 12:30 p.m. June 18, with the film screening to follow at 3 p.m. Learn more, and register for the event here.

Feature image of Albany Pride by Katrina Wilson, 2020