Laguna Beach installs OC's 1st Pride-themed lifeguard tower

Eric Resendiz Image
Thursday, July 6, 2023
First Pride-themed lifeguard tower installed in Orange County
West Street Beach in Laguna Beach has been a haven for the LGBTQ+ community for about five decades.

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The nonprofit Laguna Beach Pride celebrated the first Pride lifeguard tower in Laguna Beach and in Orange County with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday.

The tower stands at West Street Beach. It's a space known to be a haven for the LGBTQ+ community for about five decades.

"We wanted a lifeguard tower of diversity like Long Beach has and Venice Beach has. It was the perfect timing. They had to get new lifeguard towers," said Jonathan Colliflower, vice president with the nonprofit Laguna Beach Pride.

"So, the city was very thoughtful working with us and other community members to have it ready for this 4th of July. To celebrate this wonderful country we live in and to show the diverse culture and history of Laguna Beach."

The nonprofit was one of the groups that led the effort to install the Pride lifeguard tower. Last month, the Orange County banned the raising of the Pride flag at county buildings. About a week ago, demonstrators held a rally inside a county building and unfurled a giant Pride flag.

"It was definitely a rollercoaster. At first, I was sad, especially because they did it during Pride month. June is our month. But I am glad now that is over and we're able to have a tower. I wasn't aware of that until today. Very happy. Progress, finally," said beachgoer Daniel Raygoza.

Organizers said the price tag for the pride tower was about $30,000. It was thanks to fundraising, donations and city contributions that made the installation possible.

Colliflower said he hopes the tower is a beacon of light to welcome new LGBTQ+ businesses to the community.

"With everything going on in the country and in Orange County, it is a perfect time to have this. It is the perfect time to have this symbol of diversity and inclusion for this community in Laguna," said Colliflower.

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