Orange County Gay Pride 2016 - Santa Ana Gay Pride 2016

Celebrating Gay Pride in Southern California's sunny Orange County

••• Velvet Lounge, a popular gay bar in downtown Santa Ana, is one of the main venues of OC Pride. photo by Andrew Collins

Southern California has some of the largest Gay Pride festivals in the world, with major events taking place in Long Beach in May, in West Hollywood and Los Angeles in June, and down in San Diego in July. And, of course, there's also the well-attended Gay Days Anaheim at Disneyland in early October. Although it's a more low-keyed but increasingly popular event, the Orange County Gay Pride, dubbed by organizers as "our day in the sun," has become increasingly popular over the years.

OC Pride is held in the county's second-largest city, Santa Ana (population 335,000), and it has been moved this year from early August to now take place in late June - the dates this year are June 19 through 25, 2016.

A variety of festivities are occurring in different cities in the county each day of Pride Week, including Laguna Beach (which is hosting a big OC Pride Kick Off Party at gay-popular and beautiful West Street Beach on June 19), Costa Mesa, Fullerton, and Garden Grove. Here's a full list and schedule of related Gay Pride events taking place around the country.

Headed out to the coast? See our Laguna Beach Gay Hotels Guide and Laguna Beach Gay Bars & Restaurants Guide

Events culminate on Saturday with the OC Pride Parade and Festival, taking place in Santa Ana's charming, pedestrian-friendly, and historic downtown, near downtown's popular and trendy gay bar, nightclub, and restaurant, VLVT - Velvet Lounge (416 W.

4th St., 714-232-8727) - here's a map as well as info on parking. The Festival takes place along West 4th Street between Ross Street and Broadway from noon until 10 pm, and admission is free, although donations are greatly appreciated. Events and amenities include a main stage, beer and wine tent, a Dance tent, a Pride Rainbow Symposium, a Pride Kids' Club, and much more.

Plenty of great entertainers are performing at OC Pride this year, including Steve Grand, WASI, Sam Tolson, and many others.

Orange County Gay Resources

Santa Ana lies right in the center of Orange County, a short drive south of the region's largest city, Anaheim, and a 20-mile drive north of the gay-friendly coastal resort community of Laguna Beach, which is hosting OC Pride events as well. Santa Ana is just 30 miles east of Long Beach, 40 miles southeast of West Hollywood, 90 miles west of Palm Springs, and 90 north of San Diego. Orange County has several gay bars and many gay-friendly businesses. For tourism and travel information on the region, look to the helpful website of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau and the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce.