Hundreds attend Santa Maria's first ever pride event - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Hundreds attend Santa Maria's first ever pride event

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An exciting day for many Central Coast residents as Santa Maria held its first ever pride event.

Nearly 400 people attended the celebration while three dozen booths set up shop.                            

Organizers say nearby San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara pride celebrations were an inspiration and having this event in Santa Maria at the Town Center West parking lot was long overdue.

"It's Santa Maria's time. As you can see with all the people here we're moving towards inclusion and that's the way it should be. We're all human beings and we all need to support one another," said Rosale Hill of Santa Maria.

Jessie Funes, President of House of Pride and Equality moved here from Sonoma and wanted to bring along that city's showcase of pride.

"Basically this pride event is to inaugurate that everyone is welcomed at the table," Funes said.

She added that with a population of more 100,000 people and being at the heart of the Central Coast, the city needed this.

"Santa Maria Valley really needed something where everyone and anyone that lives here or used to live here knows that we are not only going to be acknowledged but also be visible, be out, and be loud," Funes continued.

A shooting on her block was a driving force behind starting this event. She says national politics played a role, too.

"We need everyone to basically come out, be vocal, use your voice because right now the administration we have, it could flip us twenty years," Funes said.

"It's especially important with the way our society is today that that kids in and around our area, the Santa Maria Valley have access to the support services they are today representing," said Jennifer Dolan of Santa Maria.

An event, organizers hope goes down in history...

"We have a long road to go in Santa Maria but I think this is the beginning of a lot that's coming," Funes concluded. House of Pride and Equality teamed up with Central Coast Future Leaders to make Saturday's event possible.

If you couldn't make it out on Saturday, Santa Barbara's Pacific Pride Festival is scheduled for August 26th.

For more information, click here.

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