The first-ever Hazel Park Pride (HPP) celebration will take place Sunday, Aug. 15 in Green Acres Park. COVID-19 caused the inaugural event to be pushed back a year, and organizers are now more than ready to go.
In a recent official statement, Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher said, "After being delayed for over a year, I'm happy that the organizers are now able to hold a Pride Celebration in Hazel Park. We're hoping for good weather and a successful event."
City Councilmember Mike McFall said he is excited about the "first-ever Pride event in our friendly little city." McFall noted that Hazel Park has a sizable, growing LGBTQ community. "This event is one more way our city continues to demonstrate how welcoming Hazel Park has become," he said.
Event organizer Tim McKee-Zazo, who runs Menjo's in Detroit, said he is honored and excited to support the event. "It's great to see Hazel Park's rising prominence in Oakland County with many LGBTQ+ residents, families, and business owners as the new norm in this community," he said.
HPP will take place from noon until 7 p.m. The festivities will include outdoor activities in three covered pavilions located in the center of the park.
In the vendor pavilion, attendees can shop for Pride merchandise and get their fill of traditional barbecue favorites, candy, snacks and adult beverages. The entertainment pavilion will feature more than 50 entertainers performing on stage, including live deejays. Finally, the family pavilion will offer face-painting, drag queen story time, classic board games and a host of carnival-style games.
"Having Hazel Park's first LGBTQ Pride is a dream come true," Jeffrey Olivier, a long-time Hazel Park resident, told Pride Source. "In 2001, LGBTQ was not even talked about. But now people can come out and be who they are and know Hazel Park is accepting and safe."
Robert Zurenko told Pride Source he has only lived in Hazel Park for about three years.
"The best thing about living in Hazel Park are the parks and the community," Zurenko said. "I'm excited about HP Pride because it shows the city's willingness to work with its diverse range of inhabitants."
"I'm excited about the many activities we have planned," Olivier said. "And just to meet other LGBTQ people in our community and everyone just being able to enjoy themselves."
It was Olivier who helped get McKee-Zazos on board as event planner.
"He asked me to help him plan what was going to be a small picnic," McKee-Zazos told Pride Source. "It's turning into something larger."
McKee-Zazo, who has lived in Hazel Park since 2016, said he was "looking forward to an all-inclusive and diverse, beautiful summer day in the park celebrating our differences as well as embracing them."
Admission to HPP is free but donations to support LGBTQ+ organizations are encouraged.