Ann Arbor Pride Starts Aug. 3

Eve Kucharski
By | 2019-07-12T11:49:47-04:00 July 12th, 2019|Michigan, News|

Though Pride month may be winding down, Pride season has only just begun with dozens of Pride celebrations scheduled across the state this summer. Ann Arbor Pride is no exception, officially celebrating its 25th anniversary exactly 50 years after the Stonewall Riots. The annual event is hosted by and benefits the Jim Toy Community Center, an organization dedicated to serving Ann Arbor’s LGBTQ community, and will begin on Saturday, Aug. 3. Joe Schoch is co-director of the festival, and he said that this year will kick off like usual on Saturday with a party.
“We’re still finalizing those details, [but] on Saturday is really where the festival is,” he said. “[That’s] where we’ll have not only an entertainment stage with local entertainers as well as a national headliner, we’ll also have a beer and wine tent and a kid zone as well. The kid zone will have a face-painter, a bounce house, a drag queen storytime — one of our favorites, we’ve received a really positive response for that in our community. And then, Sunday, we kind of wrap everything up with a community picnic.”
This year’s national headliner is something of a milestone for the festival, too, as she’s a drag queen — something Ann Arbor Pride has never done.
“Their name is Aja and they were on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ but they also are an advocate in the genderqueer movement as well,” Schoch said, adding that this year the festival has a dedicated focus on inclusion of all groups within the LGBTQ community.
“Jadein Black is [a local drag queen and] the one who is organizing all of the local talent. One thing that I really like about Jadein’s schedule is she does a really good job of really representing the community in diverse ways,” Schoch said. “So, this year we’ll be bringing back yoga in the morning. We also have a variety of drag queens and kings, Killer Flamingos, we have some poetry readings as well and then we also have a queer burlesque group coming in, along with the OutLoud Chorus. So, what has really excited me is that Ann Arbor Pride has always had a really good representation of everybody in the community, not just the stereotypical white male version of pride. We really wanted to make sure that we created an environment that mirrors Ann Arbor’s environment and allows everybody to come in and feel comfortable.”
Part of ensuring that comfortable feeling is ensuring that all can attend the event easily; that’s why Schoch said the event is free.
“It’s nice to be able to see sponsors and vendors come in and also support the organizations and the group and help people find their communities hopefully post pride, so that this doesn’t just become a one-time thing where the community gets together and celebrates,” he said. “Hopefully, people can get together and engage in meaningful ways and find their community and their tribe outside of the first weekend of August.”

About the Author:

Eve Kucharski
As news and feature editor at Between The Lines, Eve Kucharski's work has spanned the realms of current events and entertainment. She's chatted with stars like Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Tyler Oakley as well as political figures like Gloria Steinem, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Her coverage of the November 2018 elections was also featured in a NowThis News report.