A crowd comes out in Vancouver for growing homegrown gay pride event

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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Vancouver’s lesbian and gay community lost something when its only gay bar, Northbank, closed. But it gained ground when The Advocate, a national gay-interest magazine, ranked the city the sixth-gayest in America.

Ambivalent about what that meant for the 17th annual Saturday in the Park, Corey Eubanks, a planning committee member for the event, said he was ecstatic with the turnout.

“There’s more people here than last year,” Eubanks said mid-afternoon Saturday at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. “I think next year will be even bigger.”

The event, put on by Saturday in the Park Pride, a group registered as a nonprofit, aimed to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Clark County. It featured entertainment by a number of performers throughout the day, including Lipz Cabaret, which was The Northbank’s drag revue, and the band There She Goes, fronted by Vancouver’s Christi Mangner.

In addition to live entertainment, there was food available and a beer garden for adults.

Rainbow balloons lined the park, and many patrons came showing their pride. One woman carried a sign reading, “You are beautiful.”

Eubanks said the event is important for Vancouver because it brings gay residents — who may shy away from the bustle of Portland and its more frequent gay-friendly events — to one place.

“It’s still really tough for people to make it public,” he said. So to have a gay pride event in your hometown: “It’s really empowering,” he said.