Chris Kipp, Macomb County Pride (MCP) board member, is candid about the fact that the county doesn’t have a stellar reputation on LGBTQ+ issues. “[Macomb] has been in short supply of resources and spaces for our community,” he said. “Our organization is looking to change that.”
One highly visible effort Kipp and other MCP members have taken is Fall Into Pride, set for Oct. 7-9 this year. The grassroots festival is family-friendly and strives to offer something for everyone. There’ll be midway rides and games, as well as a street fair featuring handmade goods and free live performances. Headlining the festival will be Nikki Holland & The Dirty Elizabeths and Alisabeth Von Presley from "American Idol." Local drag superstar Jadein Black from Boylesque will host alongside TikTok influencer Ryan Redoute.
“I think that our inaugural Fall Into Pride festival in 2021 really exceeded our expectations,” said MCP President Phil Gilchrist. “We had great attendance, a plethora of vendors, and a lot of activity that brought a positive energy to downtown Mount Clemens.”
New this year will be the carnival midway, which Gilchrist said he anticipates “will generate a lot of excitement.” The midway will be run by Skerbeck Family Carnival.
Kipp was also pleased with the group’s inaugural festival. He pointed out that the event brought out an estimated crowd of 2,500 “with several of them being young adults, adolescents and children. It was incredibly heartwarming to see them light up at the ability to be their authentic selves.”
“We asked ourselves, what are things the LGBTQ+ [community] hasn’t felt safe or had the opportunity to do authentically, that we can practically provide?” explained Kipp. “How many of us have had the opportunity to walk around holding hands with our significant others or ride a midway ride with them or just have the ability to walk around as our authentic selves.”
Kipp said being there for the first festival was something he won’t soon forget, especially "when [the youth] realized they were not alone and were among many people like themselves."
"Helping to provide that space for them will forever be one of my greatest accomplishments,” he added.
Macomb County Pride Calendar At-a-Glance
Friday, Oct. 7
Pub Crawl: The pub crawl starts at Orlean’s in downtown Mount Clemens (6-8 p.m.) moving on to Abbibo (8-10 p.m.) and O’Halloran’s (10-midnight). Macomb County Pride will have giveaways at each location. Halloween costumes are encouraged.
Carnival: Main Street, 4-11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 8
Carnival: Main Street, noon-11 p.m.
Street Fair and Performances: More than 80 vendors, nonprofit and sponsor booths lining much of Macomb Place and North Walnut Street, with the Meijer Children’s Area located near the Fountain Stage on the Cherry Street Mall. Drag Queen Story Time will be hosted by the Mount Clemens Public Library at the adjacent Cherry Street Studio, with plenty of free family-friendly activities from The ARC of Macomb County, Anton Art Center and the Discovery Center. Noon-8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 9
Carnival: Main Street, noon – 6 p.m.
Pet-Palooza Day: Noon-4 p.m. Macomb Place in Mount Clemens. Special guest judges include Macomb County Pride Board Member Jade Kruse, Mount Clemens Mayor.