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Rachel Drollinger, left, and Brenna Crofton sit under an umbrella taking selfies and listening to music as they attend Wenatchee Pride 2019.

Pride Festival Wenatchee promises to be more than just a show in Memorial Park on Saturday. The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will offer the LGBTQ+ community invaluable resources in a setting that is safe, accessible and fun. 

More than 70 booths will be set up by vendors, sponsors and local organizations representing health care, banking, legal services, education, transit, businesses, shops, student equity clubs, four churches, arts programs and more resources. 

In 2017, the first Wenatchee Pride Festival took place at Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church in East Wenatchee. Finding a new home for the festival took some doing. Centennial Park is too small for the more than 1,000 expected attendees, and Lincoln Park is still without a stage. The central location of Memorial Park is prominent and accessible. The Wenatchee Public Library is allowing portable restrooms to be installed in its six parking spaces.

The official proclamation of June as “LGBTQ PRIDE MONTH” by Mayor Frank Kuntz in 2020 is to “encourage everyone to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, respect the rights of all people, and to celebrate the great diversity of our city.” Wenatchee Pride's Volunteer and Events Coordinator Ashley Peterson says the goal is “to create pride in everyone’s town” while the organization is still working “from the ground up again” administratively with new board members.

Elsewhere in the region, the inaugural Chelan Pride festival happened earlier this month in Riverwalk Park, with about a dozen vendors selling popular fair items like handcrafted clothing, crochet stuffies, cold-brew coffee, sweets and crystals. It was mostly a low-key gathering for queer families with many young people present, plus a DJ, drag queen Connie Hung and an inflatable rainbow arch for selfies.

The Wenatchee Pride Festival has been on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, musical performers reached out to Wenatchee Pride organizers to reserve a stage slot. There’s Ron Evans who performs solo as Bloody Oranges, the Cockaphonics are “a gypsy party stumbled upon in the woods,'' according to the Yakima Herald, The Crushers are a local Ramones tribute band, Datura is a post-punk goth band, Himiko Cloud is instrumental progressive rock, and Devil’s Gulch and the Missionaries play a heavy mash of influences, including blues, funk, punk and rock.

Icicle Brewing Co. specially brews Say Gay APA and made a full sponsorship donation for this festival’s beer garden, which allows all beverage sales to go to the Pride community fund. Wenatchee Pride board president Lincoln Nere said in email that this will allow events year-round like "Queer Prom, a winter gala, some trivia nights, and of course, funds for next year's pride celebration! (and hopefully parade?)."

For more information, visit wenatcheepride.com

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