Russian River Pride Parade cancelled, celebration still on – Sonoma West

Guerneville gears up for River Pride 2.0

Weeks before the inaugural Russian River Pride Parade was scheduled to take place, event planners were confronted with the devastating news that some of the permits required for the parade were unavailable.

In response, Rodger Jensen, event coordinator, hustled to make “lemonade out of lemons” and confirmed the celebration would take place without the parade. River Pride 2.0, a two-day celebration, kicks off this weekend.

On Saturday the festivities begin with pool events and raffles at R3 Hotel in Guerneville, 16390 4th St., featuring DJ Bryan Hughes from noon to 5 p.m. The River Boat Queens Show will take place at 8:30 p.m. at R3 Hotel featuring Mercedez Munro.

On Sunday morning a pride breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. at 3 Alarm Grill, 16218 Main St. The Big Bang Celebration begins with a pool party at R3 Hotel, including more raffles, hosted by Berlin and Diva D and featuring DJ Bear Mittens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Celebrations will continue throughout the day and Jensen encouraged attendees to bring pride flags and wear fun outfits.

“Our Wendell Joost will be taking us on Hook and Ladder Fire engine rides all through the day from (the R3 Hotel)resort all the way down Main Street and back to the resort!” Jensen wrote in a post.

Elizabeth “Elyse” VanDyne, Russian River Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the event is very important to the community.

“Leaders of the community want to celebrate and foster acceptance and diversity,” she said. “This is a great way to do it.”

As for a Russian River Pride parade, VanDyne said it would have to wait until next year. “We will be doing it,” she said.

Jensen announced the Pride Parade cancellation on a Facebook post on Aug. 14.

“Today is going to be a rough day for our town, and our LGBTQA community and myself,” Jensen wrote. “After trying very hard to save the event, it is in my greatest sadness that after seven months of backbreaking work and lots of sleepless nights and hours, we are going to have to postpone Russian River Pride!”

On the following Sunday, Jensen announced Russian River Pride events would take place on Saturday, Aug. 25 and Sunday, Aug. 26 urging visitors to not cancel reservations.

“After a crazy two weeks of letdowns, I have done my best to make lemonade out of lemons,” Jensen wrote.

Since 2009 the Sonoma County Pride celebration has been held in Guerneville. This year the county pride parade and festivities took place in Santa Rosa in June. This weekend will be the first-ever official Russian River Pride.