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Macomb County’s First-Ever Pride Will Show Local LGBTQ+ Community They Live in an ‘Accepting and Welcoming Place’

By |2021-10-14T16:24:25-04:00October 14th, 2021|Michigan, News|

For the first time ever, Macomb County Pride (MCP) will take over downtown Mount Clemens this weekend. The event, set for Friday, Oct. 15 to Sunday, Oct. 17, will celebrate the local LGBTQ+ community with a street fair, live performances and more. And it might never have come to fruition without some libations.

“I was sipping margaritas in my backyard with my cousin Carrie and friend Cecilia,” Phil Gilchrist, president of MCP, told Pride Source. “We had been discussing that there is a lack of opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to coalesce or connect here in Macomb County. [There is] very little opportunity in terms of places to go or programs and events geared toward our community.”So the idea for MCP was born. Last year would have been the festival’s inaugural year, including the first-ever MCP Pride parade. But, alas, the pandemic ruined that.

“Though we’ve had to change…we are excited to host one of the largest street fairs Mount Clemens has seen in years,” said Gilchrist. “[There will be] 86 booths filled with artists, makers, bakers, supportive businesses, nonprofits serving the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a number of sponsors.”

Primary sponsors include the Henry Ford Health System and Shango Hazel Park, a marijuana provisioning center. And while their contributions are immeasurable, Gilchrist said, this festival wouldn’t have happened without the help of volunteers.

“The volunteers who have helped to plan this event have been flexible and willing to do what needs to be done,” he said. “A couple of us have prior experience with planning large-scale events and fairs of this sort, which especially helped ensure that the correct details are addressed and that planning stays on track.”

Gilchrist said this year’s pandemic threw them some curveballs — original plans included a carnival theme, for example. Still, MCP will surely fulfill the group’s stated mission “to create a supportive environment for the LGBT+ community.”

“[Even with all the changes,] we’re excited for the scale of the fair that we’ve assembled and are looking forward to sharing our hard work with our friends, neighbors and broader community,” he said.

Gilchrist said this first Pride is a major step for Macomb County.

“I don’t think the importance of this event to the LGBTQ+ community in Macomb County can be overstated,” he said, “and I hope that our work to establish this presence in Mount Clemens and Macomb County will help to show that we do live in an accepting and welcoming place.”

Pride Pub Crawl

Friday, Oct. 15 (6 p.m. until close) 

This event is free and open to the public, but some establishments may require participants to be 21 or older. Please check with individual bars and restaurants for their requirements. Participating bars and restaurants include Little Lorraine’s, Gumbo’s, Abbibo, Orleans Sports Cafe, Cellar 104, O’Halloran’s, Bath City Bistro, Your Mother’s, Madison’s Pub, and Three Blind Mice. See the full list at MCP’s site

Family-Friendly Street Fair

Saturday, Oct. 16 (12 to 6:30 p.m.)

Stretching down Macomb Place, Walnut Street and Pine Street in downtown Mount Clemens, the street fair will have something for everyone. There’ll be a wide array of artists, makers, bakers and more, including nonprofit resource partners, a family activity area and Drag Queen Storytime. Mount Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp will kick off the festival at noon. Congressman Andy Levin and Rachel Crandall-Crocker, creator of the Transgender Day of Visibility, will speak at 3 p.m. 

A full lineup of performers includes Michelle Elizabeth Brown, Sing Out Detroit, Mae James, Alise King, Kelly Zullo, James Taylor, Jr., and Nikki Holland and the Dirty Elizabeths, as well as drag performances hosted by Crystal Harding. DJ Roger [email protected] will provide dance inspiration at the Fountain Stage.

Drag Brunch at Gumbo’s

Sunday, October 17 (11 a.m, – 1 p.m.)

This ticketed event includes brunch with a show hosted by Crystal Harding with Dela D. Dellataro and Kourtney Charles. Tickets are $38 and are available in advance here. This event is best enjoyed by those 18 and older.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.