23 May Santa Monica Goes Big at Its First Pride Celebration
The inspiration for SaMo Pride, Downtown Santa Monica’s first Pride celebration came from an unexpected source—their holiday lights. During the 2018 holiday season, they installed a rainbow of colored lights overhead on one block of the Santa Monica Promenade, and called it “Rainbow Road.” Mackenzie Carter, the director of marketing and communication for Downtown Santa Monica, recalls, “People absolutely loved it. They were stopping to take pictures of it, lying on the ground to take pictures of it, doing crazy selfie stuff and taking pictures… It really looked amazing.”
Downtown Santa Monica had been looking for a way to get involved in Pride, and when they saw how people reacted to the rainbow of lights, they decided to bring it back for Pride month. When the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Place, and the city manager’s office expressed interest in being involved, the idea grew into a larger project, now called “Miles of Pride.”
From June 1 to June 30, Carter says, “The Miles of Pride light installation will light up the sky in a rainbow of color every single night. You can walk down the Promenade, through Santa Monica Place, and down the Pier, feel the love in the air, and take the time to be a part of Pride.” The overhead rainbow will run all three blocks of the Promenade, from Wilshire to Broadway. Santa Monica Place is decorating their palm trees, and the bridge on the Santa Monica Pier will be lit in a rainbow wash of color.
Artist Phil America has created colored flags containing quotes from people in the LGBTQ+ community that will fly on the Promenade. America says, “The flags are part of a much larger project called Colors of Progress that I’m working on with an art producer named Tre Borden.” June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and they created Colors of Progress as a way to honor that while also bringing attention to people in the LGBTQ+ community who continue to be marginalized. Colors of Progress flags will also be on display at Sacramento Pride—both the artist and producer are originally from Sacramento, L.A. Pride in West Hollywood, and three locations in New York City for World Pride.
In addition to the month-long lighting and flag installations, SaMo Pride includes an online event calendar packed with local events that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Carter says, “We have gone out to the businesses and people of Santa Monica and said, ‘This is SaMo Pride, this is what it’s all about. If you want to do something during the month of June, let us know, and we’ll put it on the calendar.’” They had a huge response. If you’re looking for fun activities in Santa Monica this June, the SaMo Pride calendar is a great place to start.
Pride on the Promenade Festival
Saturday, June 15 from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Third Street Promenade
Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with live theatre and musical performances, a DJ dance party, youth art project, games, Instagrammable moments, LGBTQ+ resource center, food, drinks and a signature SaMo PRIDE moment.