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GRAND RAPIDS – The 27th Annual Greater Grand Rapids Pride, “Together We Stand: Divided We Fall,” will be held in Calder Plaza June 20.
Last year the Grand Rapids LGBT organization, The Network, returned as Pride organizer and turned up the volume with bigger performances and larger crowds. This year, the second largest city in Michigan will experience a Pride event like none other.
The day will start with a kick off “Hand in Hand” rally by the river at 10 a.m. Those attending are encouraged to bring posters and circle the river in a rainbow as a show of solidarity and joy.
“Visibility is our greatest ally! That is what pride is all about! Besides one hell of a party, it is the opportunity for our community, our family and our supporters to come together and celebrate all of our rainbow,” said Larry DeShane Jr., volunteer coordinator at The Network.
Nationally recognized entertainers and hometown favorites will come to the main stage for back to back performances stretching from noon to 10 p.m.
Comedian Chris Ryan will begin Pride entertainment at noon followed by Out Pro, Sac Quist, a Drag Show featuring Dymond Denae and the Royal Court of West Michigan, The Network’s LGBT Fund, Lady Ace, Experience Grand Rapids and another drag show just before dinner.
Evening performances will include: Hector Fonseca, Eryn Woods and Alex Newell (most known for the role of Wade “Unique” Adams on FOX’s “Glee”) will take the stage at 8 p.m. followed by an additional performance from Hector Fonseca and the Grand Drag Show. Closing ceremony and the after-party announcement will be held just before 10 p.m.
Over 70 local and statewide vendors will be present at Pride. Many are LGBT owned, with more small local businesses than ever before and proud community partner non-profits that are pro-LGBT, including: StandOUT, Transgender Michigan, Aerial 4 Me, General Electric, Grand Valley State University LGBT Resource Center, HRC, Planned Parenthood, Now GR, Campit Resort, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Fountain Street Church and many more.
Together We Stand will feature family friendly programming in the new Kids and Tween DJ/Dance floor, improved and expanded beer garden, a brand new food court, VIP lounge, community and vendor booths and more.
Cover for GGR Pride is just $5 for adults. Children 10 and under get in free.
The after party is hosted by the Apartment Lounge and will be catered by West Michigan Catering.
Many changes have been made to the 2015 GGR Pride. Unlike last year, there will be no parade. Those funds have been redistributed into bulking up other areas of Pride including closing down Ottawa Avenue for more celebration space and expanding the kids area to have its own DJ and national performers.
Additional Pride activities for the weekend include: a film showing of “A People’s History of The LGBTQ Community In Grand Rapids” beginning at 5:30 p.m. June 19 at the Apartment Lounge located at 33 Sheldon Ave. NE in Grand Rapids, and a White Party, presented by The Network, to be held after the film beginning at 9 p.m. for those 18 and over at Eve, 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids.