CoastPride, the Half Moon Bay-based nonprofit focused on supporting LGBTQ+ youth and families, is gearing up for a busy few weeks with three parades scheduled around the Coastside.
Three different Pride parades in Pescadero (May 31), Pacifica (June 3) and Half Moon Bay (June 11) are scheduled within less than two weeks of each other. The Half Moon Bay parade will be CoastPride’s first official parade open to the public in the city. There have been two other downtown processions involving CoastPride, an informal march down Main Street in 2020 and a private benefit from Fancy Pants Costumes in June 2022.
During an informational pop-up last week, CoastPride President Jenny Walter announced that longtime local farmer John Muller will be the parade’s grand marshal and lead the way down Main Street on his tractor.
While Muller may not be the first person Coastsiders would think of when LGTBQ+ allyship comes to mind, CoastPride’s board of directors believe people like Muller, a well-known public figure, who identifies as a straight, cis-gendered man, can provide key support and grow awareness about the issues the marginalized lesbian, gay and transgender community face.
Muller, who got CoastPride’s attention when he raised the Pride flag at his pumpkin patch in 2020, was honored by the nonprofit’s invitation. The man known to many simply as “Farmer John” believes it's important for the agricultural industry to support all walks of life. He noted his family has strived to respect all people regardless of sexual orientation. Muller said the point was driven home during the 1980s when he lost customers to AIDS in San Francisco as the LGBTQ+ communities were stigmatized during the outbreak.
“Growing up on the coast here in the 1950s and ’60s, we weren’t really aware of a lot of that, to be honest,” Muller said. “These days, over the last 50 years, times have changed. And that’s OK.”
Walter also noted that in the wake of national anti-trans legislation, CoastPride will have a “call to action” during the parade for people to volunteer or write notes to transgender children. The letters will be put into donated backpacks.
“Here in California we’re really not insulated from it,” she said.
The Half Moon Bay parade will run down Main Street from Filbert Street to Mill Street. Mac Dutra Plaza will feature tables and exhibits from nonprofits serving the community and family activities. San Benito House is hosting an afterparty with live music from DJ China G. The parade is open to the public, and participants can learn more at coastpride.com and sign up to participate by emailing Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event will also showcase Ensamble Folclórico Colibrí, a queer-centric Mexican folklore dance group. El Centro de Libertad’s Crisis Assistance Response and Evaluation Services team will be tabling during the parade. The parade begins at noon and the afterparty begins at 3 p.m.
To kick off Pride Month, the city of Half Moon Bay will hoist the Pride Flag atop City Hall at 4 p.m. on June 1. That coincides with the monthly Make It Main Street event downtown. That evening, Speakers’ Space will be hosting an open mic at Mac Dutra Plaza. Co-emcee Megan Brown will read a community poem based on the prompt “Queer joy is ...” and use responses from CoastPride’s social media channels and newsletters.
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