Fernando Outdoor Market’s brief history, a Pride edition was held to celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community as temperatures began to rise in the valley.

Under the warm evening sun, starting at the intersection of San Fernando Road and South Brand Boulevard, three drag queens holding up a rainbow-colored sign that read “Love Always Wins” lead a parade of LGBTQ+ members and supporters down the market, with attendees cheering along the way.

The parade reached the center of the San Fernando Mall, where invited speakers shared a few words with the crowd. One of them was San Fernando Mayor Celeste Rodriguez.

“Today, we are celebrating Pride here in San Fernando and three years ago, our City Council unanimously approved a resolution to celebrate Pride [Month] every June moving forward, every year to ensure our community knows that we are diverse, we are inclusive and we choose love,” Rodriguez said.

Caroline Menjivar, California state senator for District 20 — comprising San Fernando, Burbank and communities including Sylmar, Arleta, Pacoima, Mission Hills and Sun Valley — also came to speak, describing herself as an “out and proud lesbian.”

San Fernando City Councilmember Mary Solorio posing with drag queens at the Pride-themed San Fernando Outdoor Market. (Photo by Downtown San Fernando)

“It is such a great honor to be in a community that not just accepts me, but everybody part of the LGBTQ+ community,” Menjivar said, also taking time to mention how she was present when San Fernando raised the Pride flag for the first time.

“I am proud that in my district, cities are raising the flag where other cities in the state of California are bringing down the Pride [flag], and that’s how the 818 leads — from the front,” Menjivar said. “Happy Pride and stay together, united in resistance. We got this.”

After the speakers finished, a couple of drag queens came out and gave a dance performance for the cheering crowd, one of them to the beat of “Celia Mix” by Yuri while inviting a few members of the audience to join in.

As usual, dozens upon dozens of vendors lined the streets of the San Fernando Mall, some with Pride flags. All kinds of products were available, including eco-friendly hair and skin products, horror movie-themed T-shirts and West Coast branded clothing.

Although there has been some backlash to some of the Pride events in San Fernando, including the divided online response to the raising of the Pride flag at the beginning of the month, the vibe of the evening was upbeat and positive as the crowd celebrated inclusion and love.