Welcome to the Rainbow Festival!

Midtown’s annual Labor Day GLBT street fair

Think of the summer as “pride season.”

Now, we’re not talking about the bigheaded, I’m-all-that posturing kind of pride. That’s just not attractive.

We’re talking about the kind of pride that comes from knowing who you are and being comfortable with it, from having standards and living up to them, from caring for your friends and communities. Now, that’s pride.

And for GLBT people, it’s traditional to celebrate our community’s pride with summer kickoffs in honor of the birthplace of gay power, the Stonewall riots, which occurred in New York City 40 years ago last June. Here in Sacramento, there’s a tradition of ending the summer with the Rainbow Festival, two days of entertainment, dance and fun capped off by a Sunday street fair at 20th and K streets. It’s a weekend chock-full of live entertainment, great music, information booths, food and one heck of a big gay party.

The Rainbow Festival was founded more than two decades ago by Terry Sidie, who owns several businesses in Midtown (including Faces Nightclub) and has long been an active and vocal supporter of the gay community. The street fair raises money for a number of local nonprofits and charities, including groups that deal with HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and homophobia. Several hundred thousand dollars have been raised and distributed over the years.

Events include special dance parties at the clubs, live shows with nationally known performers, and food and drink specials. (Find the complete schedule here.)

The Rainbow Festival is also a great way to make contact with organizations that serve the GLBT community and businesses that are either gay-owned or gay-friendly. The street fair on Sunday will feature information and vendor booths from all sorts of local organizations and businesses. It’s a whole day’s worth of party for an admission of $10.

As if that wasn’t enough, it’s a great way to spend the last “official” weekend of summer.