Duluth-Superior Pride: Not Your Typical Small Town Pride


Duluth-Superior Pride is not your typical small town Pride, according DS Committee co-chair Bradford Folta. Lovingly nicknamed “Harbor Fairies,” over 10,000 proud GLBT people are estimated to swarm Duluth’s Bayfront Park this Labor Day weekend. With a strong GLBT community living in Duluth, and the countless visitors from across the country, Folta says, “The gays take over. It is literally gay central.”

One unique aspect about DS Pride is that the festival is completely run by volunteers. Folta boasts, “People say it’s the best Pride they’ve been to that is put on by a nonprofit…No one gets paid. The headaches that we get through, the hair-pulling that we do behind the scenes, is all because we’re doing it out of love for everyone else.There’s no Pride for us except to make it better for others.”

Many local businesses, hotels, and bars are on board for the busy weekend. There are many options for lodging and dining in the Bay area. “Everyone loves it. Everyone wants to put on a good show. Everyone just wants to work together to make it great.”

With events like the FooFoo ChooChoo, the Fruit Float, and the Bar-B-Queer, there are plenty of unique experiences to be had. Folta suggests visiting the Pride in the Park festival on Saturday, watching the parade down Tower Ave in Superior on Sunday, and then choosing to either ride the FooFoo ChooChoo or go on the Fruit Float on Sunday. (There are still a handful of tickets available for purchase at the dock.)

The party definitely doesn’t stop after the festival; Folta notes that everyone goes to the bars after the special events for block parties. Notable gay bars in the area include the Main Club and the Flame Club in Superior, and (as of July 30), the Flame Club Duluth is now open in Canal Park. The Flame Club Duluth is the first openly gay owned and operated nightclub in Duluth.

Folta describes the atmosphere of DS Pride as amazing. “Duluth-Superior in itself is one of those bay cities where being gay is okay. There are a lot more supporters than everyone believes. That’s the beauty of Duluth. It’s such a progressive town.”

Duluth’s political leaders are notably progressive, from Mayor Don Ness who openly supports and advocates for the GLBT community to former Mayor Herb Bergson. As an outspoken ally for the GLBT communities of Duluth and Superior, Bergson openly thanked the GLBT community for their charity and AIDS awareness work in 2005. He also was very aware of the economic and cultural benefits of being a welcoming community. Lavender Magazine featured Bergson on a cover in 2005, noting his strong support for the GLBT community. Bergson’s official portrait, which includes a pink triangle at his request, will be unveiled at this year’s DS Pride.

Folta urges people to attend Duluth-Superior Pride, saying, “Don’t look at Duluth-Superior Pride as a small town Pride. It’s not. It’s huge, and there’s way more to do. People have been coming to it for years and still haven’t done everything…Everyone who goes has seen it and loves it.”

Duluth-Superior Pride Events

Thursday, August 30

Mayor’s Reception
The Depot, 506 W Michigan St, Duluth

Friday, August 31

Poetry Reading
5pm – 7pm
Jitters Coffee House, 102 W Superior St, Duluth

Jazz Night
8:30 pm
Carmody Irish Pub, 308 E Superior St. Duluth, MN

Bonfire on the Point
Wisconsin Point, WI

Saturday, September 1

Hummingbird Family 5K
8:30am Registration/9:00am Start
Western Lake Superior Waterfront Trail, Duluth

Bayfront Pride Festival 2012
Bayfront Park, Duluth

Hosted at the home of Alvin Berg and Vince Nelson

Sunday, September 2nd

Worship Service and Brunch
8:30-10am Brunch, Service at 10:00
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth
835 West College Street, Duluth
Pride Parade
Tower Ave, Superior

Fruit Float
3:30 Boards, 3:45 Departs

The FooFoo ChooChoo
Departs from Depot Area

Main Club Drag Show
9:30 pm
1217 Tower Ave, Superior

For more information, visit www.dspride.com.

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