'Family' theme for Pride parade in Ashland

The theme for this year's Southern Oregon Pride Festival in Ashland will be "We Are All Family."

The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, with the SOPride Kickoff Party at the Historic Ashland Armory. KISS FM Radio's D.J. Hope will spin the music, and entertainment will include a performance by The Queens of the Night.

Tickets cost $20 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and are available at Paddington Station or the Music Coop in Ashland.

At noon on Saturday, Oct. 1, the SOPride Parade winds through downtown and into Lithia Park. At the Butler Band Shell, Melissa Li and The Barely Theirs will perform, and local political leaders and equal rights activists will address the audience.

Vendor booths will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in "Pride Plaza," also known as Claycombe Plaza, at 40 N. Main St., Ashland.

The Gay Men's Choir will join in the worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ, 717 Siskiyou Blvd.

The grand marshal for this year's SOPride Festival is Beth Coye, a retired Navy commander. She was selected in recognition of her many years of advocacy for gays and lesbians in the military and for her leadership in the Sept. 20 repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," a legal provision banning gays from serving openly in the military.

Ashland Mayor John Stromberg will serve as the honorary grand marshal, in recognition of the city's sponsorship of the festival.

Other events over the weekend include an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show salute to musical stars who took great risks by coming out, and movies with gay-friendly themes at Ashland's Variety Theatre.

See www.sopride.org for full details.

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