Murphys Community Park filled with folks of all ages and walks of life on Saturday for the fourth annual Pride in the Park event.
The event was put on by the Tri-County LGBT Alliance, which is active in Calaveras, Amador and Tuolumne counties, and seeks to establish good relations in the local community.
Activities included music, speeches, an auction and carriage rides. Food and beverages were also available. Some picnicked on the grass, while others lounged at the park’s many tables. The sun shone through the trees, and groups of children played in the creek.
Rainbow streamers hung from the park’s gazebo, and brightly colored flags and banners were placed about the perimeter of the gathering, emblazoned with sayings like “Love, Peace, Respect, Pride” and “The People Means Everyone.” Among them waved several American flags.
“For the last 50 years, across the world, people gather in different ways to honor our identities and to bolster our sense of interconnectivity,” Tri-County LBGT Alliance board member Tyx Pulskamp said. “Especially in a rural area, it’s easy to feel isolated … but you take a look around you and you realize that there’s a lot of diversity out here.”
One booth sold pride stickers, rainbow leis and beads, while another offered festival glitter. The Amador Arts Council had a booth, and so did the First Congregational Church of Murphys.
“We support the LGBTQ community, we have a youth group, and we feel that it’s important that churches come out and show their support,” church member Joe Jackson said.
“We have an open and affirming stance in terms of welcoming everyone,” said church member Susan Medeiros. “We welcome diversity, and LGBTQ is part of that.”
Tri-County LGBT Alliance President Dre Vader was excited about this year’s turnout.
“Every year we have more people come,” she said. “This event was borne out of a desire to bring the LGBT community together in a way that also incorporates our connections with the community of Calaveras, Amador and Tuolumne … so that we can really see how much we all have in common.”
The event draws a wide range of people, Vader said.
“People come now from San Francisco, they come from all over the place … and today we also had people just walking by and thinking, ‘A pride event in Murphys?’ and so they came and stayed for the rest of the day. Also we’ve had people who’ve lived in this community for years and never knew that there was anybody else like them … because there wasn’t a way for people to get together,” she said.
Vader encouraged other community members to reach out to the Tri-County LGBT Alliance if they want them to become more involved in the community.
“We would love to do more things in the community,” she said.