Every Month Is Pride Month

Photo courtesy of Phil Schroeder
Photo courtesy of Phil Schroeder

This year’s East Central Minnesota Pride will be unlike any other—for more reasons than one.

Of course, June will always be Pride Month. But Pride isn’t something that can be contained to just 30 days—it’s a state of mind, a never-ending celebration of oneself. So when East Central Minnesota Pride 2021 had to be pushed back from June to September, the LGBTQ+ community wasn’t too upset about it: we just get to prolong the celebration.

Photo courtesy of Phil Schroeder

“Pride will continue to bring some great music from two bands—Jacob Mahon and the Salty Dogs and the Rebel Queens,” says ECMN Pride committee member Julie Redpath. “And we look forward to welcoming Martina Marraccino as emcee and between-sets entertainment. The most noticeable difference for this 16th Pride is that it’s being held in September rather than traditionally being held during Pride Month—the first Sunday in June.”

Redpath says their plan was to switch to the first Saturday in June rather than hosting the event on a Sunday, as it has been done in the past. Also, to allow for social distancing and COVID-19 health protocols, they’re switching from classic picnic food grilled on-site—burgers, brats, and the trimmings—to hiring a few food trucks. “For sure we’ll have trucks offering tacos and BBQ ribs and some awesome sweet treats from a local coffee house,” she adds.

Photo courtesy of Phil Schroeder

In the mix of this year’s food trucks are Burnsville-based Tacos Tacuba, Brooklyn Park-based Run Tell That BBQ, Pine City-based Cabin Coffees and Duluth-based Gumbo Boi. Minneapolis-based Sandy’s Grill & Italian Ice will be parked a block north at Three Twenty Brewing Co., 135 5th St. SE.

“We have an exciting boost in community involvement this year,” Redpath says. “Following the Pride in the Park music portion (1:00 – 5:00 p.m.), at 7:00 p.m., the Highway 61 Film Festival will be showing four short LGBTQ+-themed films at the Pine Center for the Arts building located across the street from Robinson Park. Also, across from Robinson Park at the other end of the street, Froggy’s Bar and Grill will be hosting a drag show at 9:00 p.m.”

Redpath says that, while at first she was reluctant to make the switch from Sunday to Saturday for this year’s Pride events, it seems that changing to Pride on Saturday has made a difference to downtown Pine City businesses. 

Photo courtesy of Phil Schroeder

“Hopefully it’ll turn out to be good for business and a lot of fun to be involved this year,” she says. “Froggy’s and the film festival are new participants. Three Twenty Brewing has offered support and Pride specials for several years. I think people are ready to gather together and have fun. Perhaps this is the time the local businesses felt it was worth their energy and effort to continue the party into the evening with an eye toward including more people.”

In addition to the annual Pride activities, this year both the Minnesota Department of Health and Pine County Health and Human Services are collaborating to provide COVID-19 vaccines to those interested at East Central Minnesota Pride on that Saturday afternoon, September 18.

Photo courtesy of Phil Schroeder

Local businesses and homes that would like to show their support can contact members of the Pride Committee or the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce for an “All Are Welcome Here” sticker or rainbow flag to display on their storefronts or homes.

And, as Redpath says, “All Are Welcome Here” truly is the message the folx of ECMN Pride want the community to take away from the event.

“All are welcome,” she affirms. “Come celebrate STRONGER TOGETHER.”For more information about ECMN Pride, visit eastcentralminnesotapride.org

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