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Historic Moment: Pride Comes To Escondido

Kit Carson Park in Escondido pictured in this photo taken July 21, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
Kit Carson Park in Escondido pictured in this photo taken July 21, 2021.
Pride festivities continue this weekend. This time in North County where the celebration is a first for the city of Escondido.

In a first for a North County city trying to shed its conservative image, Pride celebration is coming to Escondido on Saturday.

When Damon Moore, a teacher in San Marcos, heard that news, he couldn't be more excited. It's the first time a Pride event will be held in the North County inland area.

Historic Moment: Pride Comes To Escondido
Listen to this story by Alexander Nguyen.

“I really am excited. I think it’s a great step moving forward for North County," he said. "I know we normally have Pride in Hillcrest, San Diego area. But now that it's moving over here towards Escondido, I think it's a great thing for everyone out here.”

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Escondido is the nightlife and cultural hub for the inland area.

Mayor Paul McNamara was also excited. He said this is another sign the city is shedding its conservative image.


“I think most people are excited about it," he said. "We’ve always wanted the city to be an open, inclusive and tolerant city. So having an event like this is … I think we’re all happy about it.”

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Though, in some ways, the city still has a long way to go to become fully inclusive.

The city issued its first Pride Proclamation last year. This year, during the proclamation ceremony on June 9, two city council members wouldn't come off the dais for a photo with the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.

Making Escondido more inclusive is one of the reasons why Leyel Malave is putting on this event.

“I think having Pride in Escondido is a huge step forward," she said. "I think it’s definitely in the right direction. We’re definitely seeing that Escondido is ready for that change.”

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Malave is the founder of We the People Escondido, a grassroots organization working for change against injustice. The group consists of passionate young people, with the oldest being 25 years old and the youngest is 19.

Video: Historic Moment: Pride Comes To Escondido

For the first Escondido Pride event, Malave said people could expect to see great performances, family-friendly games and a dog competition. She hopes it will become an annual event.

Escondido Pride goes from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Kit Carson Park. Admission is free.