When you think about where to go to see drag in California you probably think of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the surrounding communities as places you’d like to visit to catch some shows. But if you’re from the Central Valley of California you know that there are a lot of fierce queens throughout the Valley as well. Though the population of the towns through Central California are much smaller and spread out, there is far more farmland than populated areas, the drag scene from Sacramento down to Fresno is full of incredibly talented queens and so many drag shows it might make your head spin if you’re new to the area. And when Ru girls and local queens team up to put on shows at the clubs throughout the region you know the crowds show up in full force!
And when it comes to drag festivals many fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race have heard of Dragcon LA and NY, Drag World UK, or the Austin International Drag Festival in Texas. In 2018, a new, family friendly, drag festival entered the scene with a fantastic drag celebration in Fresno, California – Fresno’s First Drag Festival. The headliner for this one-day event was queen of “Shit girl please,” Delta Work, who appeared on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and won an EMMY for her work on the show in 2018 and at the 2019 VMAs for the video of the year for appearing in Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down.” Delta and a variety of drag kings and drag queens from throughout the central valley performed for the crowd who’d gathered, and there were also a wide variety of vendors, entertainment, a panel, drag makeovers, and other fun during the inaugural event. To catch up on the performances from the 2018 event you can check out my playlist for the event at here.
As much fun as the 2018 version was, the 2019 edition of Fresno’s Drag Festival is set to blow the first one out of the water! Expanded to two days, the festival this year will include a broader array of drag talent from around the area as well as the incomparable Ada Vox and the wonderfully artistic Erika Klash!
I was able to pin down the very busy and amazing woman behind this event for a few moments as she prepares for an incredibly busy weekend! Read on for more details about what’s going to be taking place. You can also find details on their Facebook page and buy tickets through brown paper tickets at the links below:
DragAdventures: Bella, first I want to take a moment to congratulate you on both the success of Fresno’s First Drag Festival last year and on the way the second event has been coming together! Before we get into the 2019 edition, let’s take a step back. Could you give some background?
Before you began planning the festival had you had much interaction with local drag artists or Ru girls?
Bella Lopez: To be honest, the only person I knew about was RuPaul! And a few names that my daughter spoke about. But I had no clue how big the drag community was/is.
DA: What are some of the memories that stand out to you most from last year’s event?
BL: Last year is such a blur. But I do remember seeing all the Queens/Kings and how much heart and soul they put into each of their performances. Those that attended had nothing but smiles. Parents that brought their young children were excited to see an event that was family friendly.
DA Transitioning to the 2019 event, were there any key things that you learned from the inaugural event that drove your vision for this second edition?
BL: The first year was quite an adventure. And as I immersed myself more into the community, I noticed there was a need for a drag event for the younger generation, which then led me to come up with the idea of becoming a nonprofit – details will be announced on Saturday during the festival…
DA:This year there’s a fantastic lineup, from headliners Ada Vox of American Idol Fame and Erika Klash of Dragula fame, as well as a diverse cast of “local” artists from around the central valley. What else can attendees look forward to this year?
BL: This year we will have workshops, both creative and informative. I’m excited about that! I am very excited to see all the performers, some of which are making their debut!
DA:Thank you so much for your time, Bella. Any additional thoughts you want to share with the DragAdventures readers?
BL: I just want this event to keep growing each year and hope that the community, both LGBTQ and allies alike, continue working together for a better future for the kids.
Be sure to keep up to date with all Fresno Festival activities and for tickets over on their Facebook page here
Written by contributor Rebecca Cave