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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

Pride Festival returns to GH on Saturday

Below is an article in today's Grand Haven Tribune about an event our church helps sponsor and enthusiastically participates in.

The second annual Grand Haven Pride Festival will return to the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium on Saturday, featuring live music, food trucks, vendors, a drag show and family-friendly activities.

Chelsea Folk, co-chair of the festival, hopes that both kids and adults will enjoy the festival.

“This year is all about creating a really fun and exciting upbeat environment,” Folk said. “There’s going to be so much music … it’s going to be really hard to have a bad day. If you are in a bad mood, we want people to come out because we’ll turn that around.”

“This year is going to be a lot bigger,” Folk said. “Our market has more than doubled in size with about 100 vendors, and we’ve also doubled our food trucks.

The festival begins at noon and runs through 9 p.m.

Specific festival events include:

  • A drag show hosted by Veronica Scott and DeeDee Chaunte, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

  • Michigan Autobots (life-size characters from the “Transformers” movie), 1-2 p.m.

  • Drag Queen Bingo, 3-4 p.m.

  • Performance by MI Drag Brunch, 7-9 p.m.

Musical acts include:

  • Adeem the Artist (country), 2:45-3:45 p.m.

  • Money Soup (modern jazz-funk), 4-5 p.m.

  • Lipstick Jodi (alternative pop), 5:15-6:15 p.m.

The festival will begin and end with performances by DJ Jason G

The Grand Haven Pride Festival is organized by a number of groups from the Spring Lake and Grand Haven area. While the inaugural festival received plenty of backlash, Folk said that the festival hasn’t been impacted.

“Anyone who has been to any area of Pride has seen what that pushback looks like,” Folk said. “We’ve not really felt it. We see it. We saw the letter that came out from the Ottawa County GOP, but we have a really great community in Grand Haven.”

The Ottawa County’s GOP May newsletter lashed out at the festival’s activities and it’s supporters. Photos of children handing money to drag queens from last year’s festival and a graph of all the businesses that have financially supported the festival were attached to the letter.

Ottawa County GOP wrote: “Next month, the city of Grand Haven will host their second annual ‘Pride Festival.’ We’ve put the title in quotation marks because we’re not altogether sure of what the City Council is proud of exactly. One has to wonder after last year’s stunning debacle of soliciting children in a public space in broad daylight, why they would enthusiastically promote this event again.”

Despite the pushback, the festival has been supported by a number of local and state community members, including Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, who gave opening remarks at last year’s festival. The Ottawa County Health Department was met with criticism for participating in the festival last year; the health department will be present at the festival again this weekend.

In his monthly Community Column in the Tribune, the Rev. Jared Cramer of St. John’s Episcopal Church, one of the Pride Festival organizers, responded to the criticism he and the festival have received.

“(Drag) queens are not soliciting children, and to say that just demonstrates the depth of bigotry and prejudice that exists in the hearts of some people,” Cramer wrote. “Those who would attack drag are the same who want LGBTQI+ people to go back in the closet. But the closet is deadly to queer people and Pride Month is about telling people that they don’t need to hide there anymore, that they are safe to be who they are.”

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