The 1999 Pride Design Team
In 1999 I was elected president of the Pride board and invited Sean Newman - an outspoken skeptic of past festivals & parades - to serve as one of my vice presidents. The critics
finally had a place at the table to plan and organize that year's celebration. It was decided to have Arenas Road feature our corporate sponsors and a dance arena with the festival on the lot next to the Marquis Villas containing: vendors; game booths;
main stage; food court; and beer garden. Overseeing the layout of the festival grounds was a design team that planned and executed the concepts as they were finalized - adding flare and fairy dust to the '99 celebration. Construction and preparation
of the scenic props was done in a design center that Bill and I donated to Pride. Jack Schloeder became president in 2000 and oversaw the change of venue to the Palm Springs stadium - what follows is the editorial that ran in the June 16, 2000 issue
answering the growing concerns of the gay community regarding the change of the festival site from the downtown area.
SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL
Pride celebrations are, by their very nature, unifying and energizing events. They offer a time when we as a community, actively work together promoting the spirit of harmony,
acceptance and understanding. That's how Prides are supposed to work.
As immediate past president of the Greater Palm
Springs Pride and, currently serving on the board, I am painfully aware of the controversy surrounding this year's event. The move of the festival site from the Arenas Road area to the Palm Springs stadium placed me in the unique position to be able
to argue both sides.
FACT: Last year's Pride Board spent December '98 to June '99 arguing about where
the festival should be located. Reviewed sites included: Arenas Road; the Palm Springs Convention Center; Ruth Hardy Park; Francis Stevens Park; and Museum Drive. With Melinda Tremaglio's departure from the Pride Board, the directors and officers
set the wheels in motion and presented a highly successful festival and parade. The Arenas Road/Marquis gardens location was ideal because of the high concentration of gay businesses and residents in the area. Critics believed that the move from
the "streetfair" atmosphere of Arenas to the "festival village" at the Marquis, was a bad decision. We proved the critics wrong.
FACT: The Marquis Resort rented the lot last year to Pride for $5,000. Another $2,800 was spent by Pride to install additional gates onto the grounds. Marquis representatives, aware of their limited Pride sponsorship,
have graciously offered the same rental agreement this year.
FACT: The Palm Springs stadium is fitted
with two beverages service stations, a large number of restrooms, seating and electricity. Parking is ample and the park surrounding the stadium features shaded areas. The rental for the stadium is $440 per day. The rental of generators,
light towers and comfort stations would be greatly reduced.
FACT: The stadium has enough room for our
Pride Festival to grow and double in size from last year's festival site, which was filled to overflowing. Pride '99 was understaffed with volunteers. We had over 300 people sign-up but only a third actually helped with the festival. Limiting
access and egress to the grounds and a number of other sacrifices were made due to the lack of volunteers, community cooperation and support. The city owned stadium features trash and latrine services and is much easier to secure at night. Besides,
the facility offers a wonderful setting just yearning to be fluffed.
FACT: There are thirteen members
on the Pride Board. We were presented details on the financial status our festival could realize at various locations. Three locations were reviewed: the Convention Center, Arenas Road area and the stadium. The Convention Center would be
too expensive and prohibitive. Arenas Road/Marquis gardens would be costly but Jack Schloeder, Pride president, was unable to procure an agreement of notification with the Marquis on any changes to the lot before the November event (the concrete dance
floor that was installed for the White Party represents a loss of 30 vendor spaces). The vote was unanimous to change location. Contrary to rumor, I did not choreograph the festival site move. I am only one vote.
FACT: We make our own reality . . . suffering is optional!