BY AJ TRAGER
FERNDALE – Ferndale Pride will kickoff the Pride season May 30 with more than 90 vendors, 13 bands, disc jockeys and other performers. The event will cover a big portion of the Nine Mile stretch of Downtown Ferndale beginning at 1 p.m. and stretching until late hours of the night.
This year’s event will include performances by Detroit Music Awards winner DJ Maestro and Octavia, The Blueflowers, Nina & The Buffalo Riders, Natalie Cole’s Spectacular Drag Show and headliner – Bitch. Vendors will line the streets selling food, beverages and goods, as well as providing information. Numerous downtown restaurants and merchants will provide promotions and specials.
Gearing up for the event, Soho will host a Hot Daddies contest beginning at 9 p.m., May 22. The contest will feature men 35 or older who will compete for the title of Hottest Daddy. All attendees are encouraged to bring dollars to vote for the “hottest daddy” and raise money for Ferndale Pride’s charities.
Affirmations will open the Ferndale Pride’s All Media Art Exhibition at 6:30 p.m. May 28 in the Pittman-Puckett Art Gallery.
Day Of Pride
Starting off the day with color, the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce will host its Rainbow Run, a 2k or a 5k walk-run event that gathered over a thousand participants last year. Participants are encouraged to wear white clothing and be prepared to get covered in non-toxic colored powder that will turn them into shining rainbow runners or walkers. Strollers are permitted during the run, but dogs and bikes are prohibited. For those interested in running to support non-bullying and diversity initiatives in the area, visit http://www.rainbow-run.com/ to sign up at a discount or arrive the morning of to pay full price. Runners will begin at E. Nine Mile Road and Bermuda. There will be an inflatable arch marking the starting line. Participants will run along the road and will be escorted by the police department, who will create a rolling street closure to block off
Affirmations will host its Pride Prom the day of Ferndale Pride from 7-10 p.m. for all LGBTA youth ages 13-20. Youth are encouraged to wear as many colors of the rainbow as they can in celebration of Ferndale Pride; formal wear is not required. The rainbow themed event will be held as an afterglow to Ferndale Pride and will feature food, a gender queer prom King and Queen contest, raffle prizes, photo booth and music by DJ Tone.
For the third year, Clean the Ferndale Up project will begin at 8 a.m. on May 16. The project was designed by the Ferndale Community Foundation in partnership with the City of Ferndale to improve the environment in parks, roadways and other public areas. Those interested in cleaning up the city will meet at the City Government building. Visit http://cleantheferndaleup.com/ for more information.
Ferndale Pride is always looking for volunteers to help set up and tear down tents and chairs, support vendors, assist DJs and other staff and distribute information. Anyone interested in volunteering can go to http://www.ferndalepride.com/volunteering/how-to-volunteer.html.
After-Pride events will include Rosie O’Grady’s Drag Queen and King Brunch on May 31, with shows starting at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Rosie’s porch. Rosie’s is located at 279 W. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale.
May 31 is also Transgender Day of Empowerment; it will be held all day at Affirmations and will offer an entire day of free workshops that are a celebration of self, Participants will spend the day making “decisions, declarations and doing” by taking ownership of their existence and boldly taking one more step forward in the journey of self-actualization.
Held on the weekend of Motor City Pride, the Motor City Bears will host their Speedos Car Wash beginning at 11 a.m. June 6 at 22635 Woodward Ave., just south of Nine Mile. Come out and get cars, bikes, scooters, etc. washed by the Motor City Bears and help out the southeast Michigan LGBT community.
Free HIV & STI Testing
Free testing will be available in the evenings at Affirmations May 26, 28 and 30. Testing will be provided by the Oakland County Health Department and AIDS Partnership Michigan.
Ferndale Pride is sponsored by MotorCity Casino Hotel, Rosie O’Grady’s, One-Eyed Betty’s, Suburban Buick GMC of Ferndale, Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, Between the Lines, Metro Times and Tami Jo Urban Tattoos.
All proceeds from Ferndale Pride will go towards benefiting Affirmations, the Ferndale Community Foundation, Michigan AIDS Coalition and Transgender Michigan.