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Best LGBT Events In Sacramento

Sacramento is home to almost 10 percent of the nation's gay and lesbian population, putting it in the overall top 10 cities. As with other cities that have a significant LGBT community, there is access to numerous art and cultural events. Many of these serve charitable and educational purposes, and have gained significant support and backing from members outside of the LGBT community. If you are looking for cultural events and art exhibits in the Sacramento area, check out these three festivals and the Lavender Heights neighborhood, Sacramento's equivalent to the popular Castro neighborhood in San Francisco.
Pride Rainbow Flag
(credit: Thinkstock)

Rainbow Festival 2012
20th and K Streets
Sacramento, CA 95811

Dates: Labor Day Weekend August 31 to September 2, 2012

The annual Sacramento Rainbow Festival is a longstanding event in the local LGBT community. Its purpose is to make the community aware of the countless services the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Community Center provides. Another important reason the Rainbow Festival is celebrated each year is to raise funds for charities that have significant importance to the LGBT community. During the 25 years that the Rainbow Festival has been held, over $500,000 has been raised. The organizations that are recipients of the donations provide important services in various ways -- women's health and wellness, children living with HIV, youths needing outreach and education about health and social issues, and treatment and intervention services.

The entertainment lineup has not yet been announced, but in years past, there have been live bands and performers on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday is an all-day street fair. The festival street fair is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and includes various types of entertainment and vendors, drag shows and a wet t-shirt and underwear contest. Admittance to the street fair on Sunday is $10, with kids under 12 admitted for free.

Film Reel
(credit: Thinkstock)

Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
The Crest Theater
1013 K St 95814
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 304-3456

Dates: October 11, 12 and 13, 2012

The Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (SIGLFF) was founded in 1992 and is held annually in October to celebrate National Coming Out Day. SIGLFF was founded by Allen Cole and derived from the student-sprouted gay and lesbian film festival at Fresno State University. The organizers there teamed up with students from California State University, Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Alliance and the brothers of the Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity. They received grant funds and put together the first festival in 1992, managing to sell out one night.

The annual non-profit film festival celebrates worldwide film and video works that portray daily life in GLBT communities, and includes both positive and critical portrayals. Each night is composed of different short and feature-length films fitting various themes.

Related: Top Charities Giving Back to the Sacramento Arts

Sacramento Pride
(credit: Sacramento Pride/Facebook)

Sacramento Pride Festival
Capitol Mall, near Tower Bridge between 4th and 7th Streets
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 307-5130

Date: June 2, 2012

Sacramento Pride is the biggest festival and cultural event in the LGBT community and takes place on June 2, 2012. The festivities kick off with a parade through downtown Sacramento starting at 11 a.m. and then the festival follows. The parade is free to watch, but there is a $10 admission fee for the festival (children under 5 are free). Each year, the festival includes vendor booths, live entertainment, food and even a dance tent. While the festival is the opportunity to bring awareness to the LGBT community, it is not limited to LGBT members only. Anyone can participate or attend the events during Sacramento Pride Festival, and in fact, many do.

With Sacramento being home to 9.8 percent (6th highest) of the nation's gay population, Pride is one of the larger events in California and the biggest fundraiser for the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center.

Kennedy Gallery

Lavender Heights Area
In and around K and 20th Streets
Sacramento, CA 94814
(800) 292-2334

The Lavender Heights area is Sacramento's version of the well-known Castro area of San Francisco. In and around K and 20th Streets in Midtown, Lavender Heights is an area filled with gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses. Tucked in with all the bars, lounges, restaurants, coffee shops and stores are several art galleries and theaters. One theatre is the Closet Door Theatre, a traveling company headquartered in the area. It is also the only LGBT theatre company in the Sacramento area, is a California non-profit and is a 100% volunteer-run.

The Kennedy Art Gallery, at the corner of 20th and K, showcases the work of accomplished artist Michael Misha Kennedy, whose works have been exhibited throughout the United States. He features a number of other artists and is very involved in the local Sacramento art community.

Check out CBS Local's Guide to Sacramento Pride

Erin De Santiago is a freelance travel and food/wine writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. She is a regional membership coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and writes for a number of publications in addition to publishing her own blogs.  She has traveled to over 40 countries on five continents in search of the best food and wine around the globe. Her work can be found at

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