By Valerie Luu
Campus News Reporter

This Mother’s Day weekend, UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz community will have plenty to celebrate.

On Saturday the Lionel Cantú GLBTI Center will sponsor the Rainbow Families Fair, a carnival to celebrate nontraditional families. Located at the softball field near Family Student Housing, the event will feature free barbecue, live music, and carnival games and activities such as a dunk tank, bounce houses and recreational sports.

Fifty percent of UCSC and Santa Cruz community members have nontraditional family structures, said Tam Welch, the center’s program coordinator. These include same-sex and single parents, grandparents raising kids and children in the foster care system.

“Creating a positive, family-oriented event such as the Rainbow Families Fair helps bring everybody together,” Welch said.

According to Welch, nontraditional families struggle with finding connections and resources; the Rainbow Families Fair is a large and visible way to make that happen, she said.

“We’re engaging everybody in the community — creating networks, support systems, and resources in a very fun and engaging event,” Welch said.

Organizations on and off campus, such as the Diversity Center, the Nonviolent Communication Resource Center, Family Student Housing and Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students (STARS), will have information booths at the festival.

For Julia Schwab, student program coordinator for the Cantú Center, the event is a way for LGBT families to gain visibility and enjoy themselves at the same time.

“Queer parents and children of queer parents can feel a place of home within an environment like this,” Schwab said.

Although the event is held to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), and other non-traditional families, Shane Sanchez, a resident adviser for graduate student housing and volunteer for the event, said this festival is also for UCSC and Santa Cruz community members who want to come and appreciate Santa Cruz’s diversity.

“We hope to emphasize [that] we enthusiastically invite the community — the more people we can have, the happier we will be,” Sanchez said. “We’re all in this. We’re all part of the same rainbow.”

_The Rainbow Families Fair will be held this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UCSC Family Student Housing softball field, by the West Entrance. Food and admission is free, and free parking is available at the West Remote Lot. For more information, contact the Lionel Cantú GLBTI Center at (831) 459-2468 or e-mail