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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | VENTURA

Plans Underway for Gay-Pride Picnic

July 12, 1998|JOEL P. ENGARDIO

Encouraged by the success of the county's first gay-pride festival, held in Simi Valley earlier this year, organizers hoping to start a similar annual event in Ventura are planning to test public interest with a smaller event Saturday.

Although more than 3,000 people attended the Simi Valley Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival in May, a gay-pride picnic in Ventura is expected to draw about 100.

"This is just a small start; the big gay-pride festival is down the line," said picnic coordinator Bobby Nelson.

Normally, cities interested in hosting pride festivals first stage picnics, Nelson said, and next week's event will secure a Ventura date on the national gay-pride event calendar.

"Ventura has a gay-friendly downtown and there is a sense of community support here," Nelson said. "It just makes sense to have a pride celebration in Ventura."

The Marina Park picnic will include a barbecue, games and entertainment.

"We want to do something fun and family-oriented for our families and others who want to meet the gay community," Nelson said.

The picnic will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Ventura at 805-653-1979.

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