A Word In Edgewise – Pride Is A Many-Venued Thing

Photo courtesy of BigStock/photohampster
Photo courtesy of BigStock/photohampster

Pride’s not all about gigantic floats and parades but can blossom in small towns as well. 

After the Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969, in anniversary was celebrated by gay pride marches in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. 

Over the years, the Twin City crowds swelled from a first 50 at Nicollet Mall in 1972 to 400,000 and more, while smaller, more rural areas were starting to develop their own Pride celebrations that offer more locations and a selection of dates allowing many without the means to travel, to take off work or afford weekend lodging share in the celebrations and raise their voices to Say Gay loudly and proudly. 

Here are several of this year’s venues: 

East Central Minnesota Pride 

Pride in the Park, the ECMP’s 17th, on June 4, Noon to 5 PM at Robinson Park, Town Square, Pine City.?Billed as “Minnesota’s Small-Town LGBTQ+ Pride” this year’s theme is “Growing in Pride,” featuring Host Martina Marraccino, New Salty Dog, and Mark Joseph & The American Soul. 

They’re still welcoming help in planning and information is available on www.EastCentralMinnesotaPride.org and [email protected] and vendor coordinator at [email protected]. Their poster is bordered with the names of some 40 participating towns, including Askov, Finlayson, Isanti, Ogilvie, Quamba, Sturgeon Lake, and Wyoming. 

Bemidji Pride 

Saturday, August 27 • RailRiverFolkSchool 303 Railroad Street SW, Bemidji 56601 – check for details Bemidji’s Annual LGBTQS2+ Pride Festival 

Duluth-Superior Pride Festival 

On September 1-4 the 36th year of Pride in the Twin Ports offers boat- and trainloads of events from the Mayor’s opening reception on Thursday the 1st and culminating on the 4th with a grand parade along Tower Avenue in Superior, followed by the Foo Foo Choo Choo (must be 21) three-hour train ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad 3:30-6:30 PM. Go to duluthsuperiorpride.com for particulars and prices. 

Duluth-Superior obviously doesn’t fall under “Small Town Pride,” but the port towns offer unique ways to disport in an area more accessible to many disporters. 

St. Cloud Pride in the Park 

St. Cloud’s 13th annual, family friendly event features local food vendors, friendship, and fun September 11th – 18th. Pride Parade kicks off the week on Sunday at 2PM in Downtown St. Cloud. Check online for entry rules and regulations, deadlines, fees per float, times, map, and other details at [email protected]. Parade will start at Convention Center Lot, 10 4th Ave S. 

It takes a tremendous amount of planning, strategizing, logistics, and just plain elbow grease to make a wonderful weekend or week look like a mere snap of the fingers. Help is welcome, and you can offer assistance at many levels. Don’t hesitate to contact the venue of your choice and see what’s needed. Then join in at the venue that fits your schedule and Say Gay! 

NOTE: It’s a good plan to check your preferred venue from time to time, hours and activities change, so be sure you keep up to date. 

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