WATSONVILLE—On Sunday Pajaro Valley Pride (PVP), a local nonprofit aiming to support and advocate for South County’s LGBTQ+ community, will hold its first in-person fundraiser since the start of the pandemic.
“Raise a Pint to the Qmmunity” will feature a drag show, with local and regional performers, music and presentations at Fruition Brewing, 918 East Lake Ave., in Watsonville. The brewery is offering a special beer, Pride Snack, and some food specials with their new kitchen partner, Hindsight Cafe.
PVP volunteer and fundraising coordinator Raudel Covarrubias said that Fruition had wanted to do an in-person event last year, but couldn’t due to Covid-19. However, they still held a fundraiser through sales of Pride Snack to donate to the organization.
“Because of that … we already had an established relationship,” Covarrubias said. “So this year we met up with them, and discussed ideas. They were fully supportive. They’ve been great.”
The show will be held in the midst of Pride Month, a worldwide commemoration of the Stonewall Riots that occurred in June of 1969. Every year communities hold Pride parades, marches, performances and fundraisers to celebrate the progress of LGBTQ+ people, and to call for more support.
“We feel a responsibility as owners of a community gathering place to support and share with others who may not have a place to call their own,” said Fruition Brewing co-owner David Purgason. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to come together as much for the last year, but thankfully we’re turning a corner.”
Pride Snack went on sale June 1. For every can sold, Fruition is giving $1 to PVP (and 10% of keg sales). The beer is a version of its popular session sour ale, with organic butterfly pea flowers that give it a magenta color.
Purgason described the beer as “light, bright, with a refreshing tartness.”
“We also add a natural enzyme which reduces the level of gluten for those with sensitivities,” he said.
PVP found the pandemic challenging to weather as most of its funding had come from in-person events. Covarrubias said he felt grateful to finally have a space for an event—especially during Pride Month.
“The pandemic was hard on a lot of people,” he said. “We are so thankful, being able to be out and queer, especially in this town. Having an event like this … it’s like we can breathe again.”
Since they could not hold their annual march and celebration last year, they joined Monterey Peninsula Pride, Santa Cruz Pride and Salinas Valley Pride for a special virtual event. The event will return as “Connected in Pride 2.0” on July 24.
Additionally, PVP will join Diversity Center Santa Cruz County on June 25 for a virtual forum discussion about law enforcement’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more at bit.ly/lgbtq-watsonville.
“Raise a Pint to the Qmmunity” will be held Sunday 3-8pm, with Fruition staying open later for the show. Sales of Pride Snack will continue through June, while supplies last.
“At the end of the day, being able to do what we love, make and share beer, while supporting people we love, is what it is all about,” Purgason said. “Until there are equal rights, liberty and justice for all, we’ll keep making beer to help support causes and communities that need it.”