A crowd of people in the audience of a show.

Riverside’s First LGBTQ+ Pride Event since 2009 Attracts Over 2000 Attendees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RIVERSIDE, CA – September 12, 2022 – In early 2021 a new PRIDE organization was formed in Riverside, California with the mission of elevating and illuminating the LGBTQ+ community, and a goal to bring a large-scale PRIDE event back to the Inland Empire. After almost 2 years of grueling work, planning, hurdles and challenges – the inaugural Riverside’s Inland Empire Pride™ festival rocked the Riverside Municipal Auditorium on Sunday, Sept 4th, 2022. 

Despite a record heatwave bringing Riverside’s hottest day in history, more than 2,000 attendees flocked to the auditorium to celebrate their truths and find community while enjoying food, dancing, live entertainment and exhibitors from around the Inland Empire. 

“For a first time event, we are over the moon with how it went,” said Ray Yu, President of Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Inc., “We were so happy to see that our hard work over the last year brought so many people together to celebrate unity and love.”

For others the event was a chance to show Riverside that they belong to the community:

“In a city that has never had a real LGBTQ+ center, I wanted people to see that we're here, and that we're real members of this community.” said Jasper Moon, an attendee and volunteer. “It was really important for me to see an event that could bring our community together as one, and create something that the entire community could enjoy.”

Jeri Savarese of Free Mom Hugs and a member of the LGBTQ+ community said, “It was absolutely wonderful having Pride in the Inland Empire. My hometown showed up in a big way.” When asked about what she expected when she first heard about the event, Savarese said,  “I imagined it was going to be small with a few hundred or so attendees. The fact that there were over 2,000 people in attendance shows that these community events are truly needed. I met so many families that drove over an hour to come to this event.”

Youth Zone sponsor representative, Rafael Gonzalez from the non-profit organization Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance said it was important for the organization to get involved with the event.

“Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance has served the Inland Empire for over 20 years. We believe that our youth deserve a brave space in which to celebrate PRIDE and be themselves without having to hang out in beer gardens and big crowds of adults. The Youth Zone was filled with youth and their families all day long so we know it was appreciated. It was great to partner with the Riverside's Inland Empire Pride Festival.” 

One of the main attractions of the event was the entertainment lineup which almost exclusively consisted of local LGBTQ+ acts, including a 12-woman dance troupe called Sirens from the local Rhythmbeatz Dance Studio. The troupe’s 20 minute high-energy non-stop dance set stunned the audience and drew a roaring applause from the crowd.

“Still on a high from our Riverside Pride performance!” Lead dancer of the troupe, Cherry Lee said on her Instagram account not long after the event. “I’ve been on stage hundreds of times and still get butterflies. I absolutely love how dance allows for expression in so many ways! It’s a gift to be able to make people feel the celebration of this event through dance!!!”

The day's events culminated in a thunderous finale from local drag stars, Jazmyn Simone-Echelon, Nebeur Styles and Athena Kills, hosted by local Rupaul’s Drag Race star Mayhem Miller. 

“Performing in front of that many people felt amazing because it was like performing for your family at a picnic. Just love love love,” said Simone-Echelon. “I attended the first Pride in Riverside years ago as a fan of Drag, where Rupaul was the headliner and [she] actually pulled me on stage to walk SUPERMODEL with her, it was life changing. Now I was one of the headliners this year. It was amazing.”

When host Mayhem Miller challenged the audience to prove who was more excited, the floor and walls of the auditorium literally shook from the crowd’s response.

“We had just had a mild earthquake the day before,” said a guest who was in the audience. “Every time the crowd reacted, I literally thought we were having another one.”

What’s next for Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride?

“Rest. For a month.” said President Yu, “then back to work fighting for acceptance and equality. That’s year-round work for us.”


Riverside Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride, Inc. (aka: “Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride” or “Riverside Pride”) is a volunteer-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit charity working to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate and support our diverse Inland Empire community. For more information about Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, contact Troy Yu at ‪(951) 554-0783‬ or gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 .

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Related Links:
Website: www.RiversidePrideIE.org

Riverside Pride's PRIDE Month Event to Shine Bright for a Good Cause.

FOR RELEASE APRIL 12, 2022 at 09:00

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – April 12, 2022 – Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride announced today that it plans to glimmer and shine up the night with a fundraiser event called, Riverside Pride’s Glow Walk for Love, that will take place at  the University of California, Riverside, on June 18, 2022. The nonprofit organization encourages people from all Southern California to come dressed in costumes and glow novelties to illuminate the evening while walking to raise money for the non-profit charity.

The event will be co-hosted by the LGBT Resource Center of the University of California, Riverside. “We are thrilled that we can bring such an event to our campus and help support the Riverside Pride Event that has been missing from our vibrant community for years.” said the Center's Program Director, Megan Rush.

“This will be a PRIDE month event like no other,” said Troy Yu, the event organizer. “We’re so excited to partner with UCR and light up the campus for PRIDE month.”

The event kicks off at 7 p.m., where after an opening ceremony, participants will be cheered on by a drag cheerleading squad as they choose to walk or run their number of pledged miles for charity. Spectators are welcomed to cheer on participants and mingle with the many vendors and food trucks who will be present at the event. Prizes will also be given out at the end of the night to the highest donors and best and most outrageous outfits. 

Rush added, “This is a great opportunity to create and build a bigger and more connected LGBTQ+ Community throughout Riverside. Few things are as better than being in community in a post COVID-19 world, so wear all your neon favorites and join us for lots of fun and love!”

“We hope to bring together everyone to heal rifts and build bridges within our community.” Yu said, “In order to succeed against all the new forms of adversity we're facing these days, we’ll need to work together.” 

Information about guest speakers and entertainers will be released in the coming days.

For more information and to register to the event, visit www.RiversidePrideIE.org

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available – contact gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 for information. 


Riverside Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride, Inc. (aka: “Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride” or “Riverside Pride”) is a volunteer-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit charity working to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse Riverside community. For more information about Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, contact Troy Yu at ‪(951) 554-0783‬ or gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 .

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Website: www.RiversidePrideIE.org

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Real Housewife Star to Spend Mother’s Day with Guests at Riverside Pride’s Brunch Event [PDF Version]

FOR RELEASE MARCH 31, 2022

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – March 31, 2022 – Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride has announced their Mother’s Day Brunch fundraiser on May 8th, 2022 at VIP Nightclub in Riverside, CA and there will be a REAL VIP in attendance. The event, which is an opportunity for families to celebrate with their matriarchal family members, is a charity fundraiser for the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and will include food, entertainment, and a chance to meet special guest Braunwyn Windham-Burke from the reality television show Real Housewives of Orange County

Winham-Burke, who came out as a lesbian in 2020 (the first openly gay cast member in the franchise’s history), has long been an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, and has even supported her children in exploring and finding their own identities within the community. 

“Being a mom to queer kids is awesome. You get to see your kids thrive and shine when they’re surrounded by love and acceptance,” Winham-Burke explained. 

“I’m so excited to work with Ms. Windham-Burke on this event,” said Troy Yu, the event organizer. “I cannot think of a better ally from the world of reality television to represent what it means to be a loving, supportive mother on Mother’s Day. Her journey has been a perfect example of what Mother’s Day is all about and it will be great to have her as our guest of honor.” 

“Coming out later in life was really hard,” Windham-Burke said. “There have been times where I questioned if I made the right decision to come out so publicly, but I’m so grateful I did. I often say representation matters. There is a need for people to tell their stories, and I am so honored to be able to be that representation for so many people.”

The event, which benefits the efforts of Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Inc, a non-profit that works to increase visibility of and provide support and resources for the LGBTQIA+ community in Riverside, will include entertainment, fabulous food and drink, and even surrogate mother figures for those who are missing that person in their life.

“We’re working with one of our favorite organizations called Free Mom Hugs, who work to promote acceptance, love and support for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. They will be providing ‘surrogate’ moms for those who want to attend but for whatever reason, don’t have a mom to celebrate with,” said Yu. “We recognize that many in our community are not in contact with their mothers or have lost them in some way, so we want to make sure that those who want to celebrate with us, still have someone to spend the day with.”

Founded in 2021, Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Inc. will bring a large-scale PRIDE event back to the Inland Empire after a long period of relative quiet for the visibility of LGBTQIA+ in the area. The festival and parade, currently in planning stages, will take place in downtown Riverside on September 4, 2022 during Labor Day Weekend. The organization has several cohort events scheduled for the months leading up to the PRIDE event to raise awareness and funds for the effort. 

Tickets for Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride’s Mother’s Day Brunch will go on sale April 8th, 2022 at www.RiversidePrideIE.org 

VIP Nightclub is located at 3673 Merrill Ave, Riverside, CA 92506


Riverside Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride, Inc. (aka: “Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride” or “Riverside Pride”) is a volunteer-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit charity working to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse Riverside community. For more information about Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, contact Troy Yu at ‪(951) 554-0783‬ or gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 .

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Website: www.RiversidePrideIE.org

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Gala to be hosted at Crestmore Manor in Jurupa Valley [PDF Version]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – April 4, 2022 – Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride announced on Monday that it plans to have a grand night of eleganza at their Riverside Pride Masquerade Gayla, hosted by the Crestmore Manor in Jurupa Valley, California, on Saturday, June 25, 2022.  

“The Gayla is a unique opportunity to meet others who are active in the Inland Empire queer community, all in an enchanted setting of a masquerade ball,” said Ray Yu, President of Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride.

The black-tie event, which benefits the efforts and visibility of the non-profit organization, will include food, entertainment, and a silent auction for participants to bid on various prizes. Tickets start at $75, where participants will enjoy a night of entertainment that includes a drag show performance, an elegant dinner, DJ and dancing, a cash bar and more. Groups of up to 8 people can upgrade to a VIP experience with an entire Lux Table for $1000 with a better view, better champagne, luxury swag bags and a complimentary drink at the bar.

The event will also feature the first annual Riverside Pride Awards ceremony, where the non-profit organization plans to honor individuals in the Inland Empire and Riverside region who have helped make positive contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. 

“These leaders and advocates deserve to have the limelight shine on them. We want them to know, we love and appreciate everything they do to make our community a better place for us all,” said David Giron, Vice President of Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride. 

Nominees are reviewed and chosen by their contributions and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Nominations can be made on the Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride website, where people can explain and argue why their nominees deserve to be recognized by the non-profit organization. Tickets for the event are available now at the organization’s website.


Riverside Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride, Inc. (aka: “Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride” or “Riverside Pride”) is a volunteer-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit charity working to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse Riverside community. For more information about Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, contact Troy Yu at ‪(951) 554-0783‬ or gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 . www.RiversidePrideIE.org 

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Awards Ceremony to Honor Those who Made Positive Contributions To LGBTQ+ Community [PDF Version]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – April 4, 2022 – The first annual Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Awards ceremony will be celebrated at Riverside Pride’s Masquerade Gayla hosted by Crestmore Manor in Jurupa Valley, California, on Saturday, June 25, 2022. This award ceremony by the non-profit organization will honor individuals in the Inland Empire who have helped make positive contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride hopes that by recognizing the tireless work of these luminaries that it  can help boost their signals, further their work, and rally others to do more,” said Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride President, Ray Yu. 

Nominations will be reviewed by their continued contributions and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community in the Inland Empire and Riverside region. Nominations can be made on the nonprofit's website, where people can give their reasoning why their nominees deserve to be recognized by the non profit organization. 

The ceremony takes place at Riverside Pride’s Masquerade Gayla, a black-tie event, which benefits the efforts and visibility of the non-profit organization. The Gayla will include food, entertainment, and a silent auction for participants to bid on various prizes. All proceeds will help Riverside Pride’s mission and Pride festival that will be celebrated Sep 4, 2022. 

To nominate individuals, and to buy tickets to the Masquerade Gayla, visit www.RiversidePrideIE.com


Riverside Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride, Inc. (aka: “Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride” or “Riverside Pride”) is a volunteer-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit charity working to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse Riverside community. For more information about Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, contact Troy Yu at ‪(951) 554-0783‬ or gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 .

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Consort events are events that we organize outside of the PRIDE festival, during the rest of the year. Most often, these are fundraising events, but sometimes they are marketing or community service events. All events come with expenses that are difficult for a non-profit to cover, and when it comes to fundraising events, the costs always eat into the profit of the fundraiser. If you'd like to help by sponsoring one of these events, fill out the application below and we'll get back to you ASAP! Oh, and THANKS for supporting Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Inc!

Thank you for your interest in sponsoring Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Inc! We are always in need of help paying for operational costs. This usually means, paying for fundraising supplies (T-shirt printing, etc.), promotional materials (postcards etc.) and office supplies (printer toner, paper, etc.). Administrative costs cover things like filing fees, licenses and insurance.

All applications are reviewed to make sure our sponsors are in harmony with our mission. Fill out the application below and we'll get back to you soon!

Pride Festival Planned for Labor Day Weekend

RIVERSIDE, CA – November 18th, 2021 – Following a successful inaugural Pride Picnic this past June, non-profit Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride has elected a new roster to its Board of Directors and is working hard on plans for a 2022 festival.

Newly elected board members include Ray Yu as President, David Giron as Vice President, Christopher Rashidian as Secretary, and Casey Thompson as Treasurer. Other directors elected include Troy Yu as Marketing & Operations Director, Nikki Siangio as Youth Director, and Catherine Garcia and Kyle Freet as Directors at Large. Founding members Sean Maulding and Sean Faustina-Smolak remain on the board as Directors at Large as well.

“When I moved to Riverside years ago, I was not out, but I was looking for my community. I had trouble connecting and difficulty finding community beyond the bar scene,” said Sean Maulding, the founder of the organization. “I wanted an organization to foster networks, educate the public, and raise the visibility of our LGBTQ rainbow.” So, he started one.

Over the next few months, Sean sought others to help organize the first event, a Pride Picnic & Hike held at Riverside’s Ryan Bonaminio Park in June of 2021. Now, the organization is working on plans to hold their first full festival in Downtown Riverside next year.

“Riverside is the most populous city in the Inland Empire and the 12th most populous city in California,” says President Ray Yu. “We need to become a beacon and create safe spaces for our community in Riverside. We need to protect and amplify the voices of our communities, and boost our visibility so we're not afraid. We need to stand in solidarity with other underrepresented groups, lift each other up and be there for each other.”

Vice President, David Giron added, “[I was] concerned that such a big city didn’t have a pride event. It’s very important for LGBTQ+ members of this community to know that their local neighborhood and representatives support them.”  

For co-founder Sean Faustina-Smolak, her intentions were very personal. “I wanted to honor my late brother-in-law who was a beautiful and caring gay man that passed away from AIDS. His parents told him that this was his punishment because he was gay and he didn’t pray hard enough. I chose to become an Ordained Minister so that I could marry anyone, because Love is Love. I believe that we all need to work together to be able to have the freedom to be ourselves without judgement or persecution.”

As a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire, educate, commemorate, and celebrate our diverse community in Riverside, the group is working to plan a festival during Labor Day weekend that stands out from other Pride events in the area.

“We want to align ourselves as allies and not competitors to the other Pride festivals of Southern California,” says Operations Director Troy Yu. “Unity, and at the same time, individuality is important to us. Everyone is important to the community. We’re working on an event that provides a unique, fully inclusive experience, alongside all of the other wonderfully important Pride events in Southern California.” 

Early plans for the event include the expected festival vendors and entertainment, but also a queer art show and exhibits, a region-wide talent contest, and even spotlight presentations on LGBTQ+ history. The group is also working to include a parade in the festivities. “We’re very early in the planning stage but we’re working with the city to figure out what is practical for 2022.” Troy said. 


Part of that work is fundraising. The group is holding their first fundraiser, dubbed Out & About @ Castle Park on December 11th, 2021. The event includes unlimited rides and mini-golf at a deep discount off gate prices, and $10 of every ticket is donated to Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride. If you’d like to attend, you can RSVP on the Riverside Pride website at http://rivpri.de/OaCP?ref=pr1 . Other fundraisers and promotional events are in the works.

Aside from planning the main event, the organization is focusing on recruiting volunteers, sponsors and partners to help. If you’d like to become involved with their mission, visit http://rivpri.de/GetInvolved?ref=pr1 to find out how.


Riverside Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride, Inc. (aka: “Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride” or “Riverside Pride”) is a volunteer-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit charity working to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse Riverside community. For more information about Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, contact Troy Yu at ‪(951) 554-0783‬ or gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@yorT1664904594 .

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Related Links:
Website: www.RiversidePrideIE.org

Volunteer: http://rivpri.de/GetInvolved?ref=pr1

Out & About @ Castle Park: http://rivpri.de/OaCP?ref=pr1
Board of Directors: http://rivpri.de/BoD?ref=pr1 
If you publish, please let us know at gro.E1664904594Iedir1664904594Pedis1664904594reviR1664904594@RP1664904594 and we’ll share it!