State Fair

‘Every day is Pride month’: Out at the Fair takes the stage at California State Fair

Hot on the heels of Pride month comes Out at the Fair, a series of LGBTQ-centered events at the California State Fair featuring LGBTQ and allied entertainment – including this year’s State Fair headlining musical act, TLC.

“This summer, for us, every day is Pride month,” said William Zakrajshek, entertainment coordinator of Out at the Fair. “Everyone was focused on inclusion and loving each other (in June), and I really hope that can carry over, not only through July, but also through the rest of the year and moving forward.”

At its inception in 2011, Out at the Fair was a Facebook check-in that Zakrajshek and his friends set up as an inside joke at the San Diego County Fair. They called it “Unofficial Gay Day.”

Much to their surprise, other people started to check in too.

They were surprised once more when, the following year, they received a Facebook message asking whether they were going to do Unofficial Gay Day again. They took it in stride and established a popular, informal Facebook event.

“That was the year the San Diego County Fair contacted us,” Zakrajshek said. “It started so organically.”

The event grew yearly as the team expanded to first three locations, then five – then, this year, eight, including the State Fair on July 14.

It is Out at the Fair’s second year in Sacramento and first year on the Promenade Stage, where performances will run the queer gamut from the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus to experimental cumbia band Mala Greña to drag queens Luna Nova, Penelope and Tangerine the Dream. After the entertainment from 3 to 6 p.m. will come a silent disco sponsored by Lavender Heights staple Badlands.

At 8 p.m., Out at the Fair’s biggest headline performers yet, TLC, will hit the State Fair main stage.

Attendees aged 21 and over who can’t get enough can head to Badlands, Sidetrax and The Depot for the official after parties.

Zakrajshek said the team is focused not only on LGBTQ-friendly entertainment, but also “aspects all the way down to the bathroom – making sure our community has bathrooms they feel like they can use – and the inclusiveness of comedy shows.

There’s a fair in all of our backyards and we all should be able to go.”

If you go

When: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., July 14

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Boulevard

Cost: Included with general admission tickets

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Chalay Chalermkraivuth, from Yale University, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee. She reports on arts and entertainment, the LGBTQ community and social justice. She grew up in Bangkok, Thailand.