Metro Detroit’s official Pride season kicks off this week with Ferndale Pride presented by the Candle Wick Shoppe, which takes place Saturday, June 1, in downtown Ferndale. More than 25,000 LGBTQ folk and their friends and allies are expected to attend.
Ferndale Pride officially kicked off earlier in the week with Wednesday’s Ferndale Pride Interfaith Service. The service was titled The Spirituality of Stonewall by the Rev. Roland Stringfellow, who helped plan the service with the Rev. Angela Lippard.
Before the Main Event
“The riots at Stonewall were pivotal from a secular viewpoint, but Rev. Stringfellow recognizes the events at Stonewall as spiritual as well,” Lippard said. “For many, our faith/spirituality/connectedness feeds our strength to seek equality in a revolutionary way. At the 2019 Ferndale Pride Interfaith Service, we reflected on the revolution that started 50 years ago at Stonewall.”
Also, Saturday morning features the annual Rainbow Run, which is sponsored as always by the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. All participants in the 5K received a pair of Michigan-made Ferndale rainbow socks. The event is family friendly and runners are encouraged to come out in creative costumes. Sabin will be the run’s official hostess and is sure to keep the crowd laughing before and after the run.
The main event though takes place Saturday, and Pride Chair Julia Music said planning this year came together early.
“Due to the success of this growing event, we sold out of booth spaces with more than a month to go,” Music said. “We also exceeded our past sponsorship, which allowed us to add another organization to those we will donate to post Pride.”
New this year will be weddings in the Rust Belt Market, which is billed as Ferndale’s premier wedding venue.
“Working with Rust Belt we are able to ensure that couples are able to have their wedding in front of a choice of backdrops, enjoy a cash bar and desserts before joining the after party of the year,” Music said.
However, Music said that if the idea of getting married during Ferndale Pride is an appealing one, she advises that plans are made as soon as possible for next year. This year’s wedding event is booked solid.
Also new, Mark McMillian from the Center for Relationship and Sexual Health is sponsoring the sober space area. He is planning a day of activities for the area, giving options to adults who are looking for more activities outside of the bars. There’s also going to be a food truck section near the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Children’s Area. Drag Queen Story Time will also, for the first time, take place at Affirmations.
But the newest and undoubtedly least unwelcome addition to Pride this year is a large decrease in available parking near the event. To combat this, Ferndale Pride has partnered with SMART bus.
“Parking is always a challenge but with the groundbreaking of the DOT project in Ferndale it got even more tricky this year,” Music said. “Our friends at SMART bus came through for us. From the hours of 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., event-goers can park and just hop on a shuttle.”
The shuttle route will include Ferndale High School, located at 881 Pinecrest Drive; Renaissance Vineyard Church, located at 1841 Pinecrest Drive; or Gerry Kulick Community Center, located at 1201 Livernois Ave. The SMART shuttles are scheduled to arrive every five to 10 minutes and will drop Pride attendees off and pick them up from the Livernois entrance of Pride.
Headlining The MotorCity Casino Hotel Mainstage will be Shamir. The 24-year-old androgynous voiced singer/songwriter, who identifies as non-binary but is comfortable with masculine pronouns, hails from Las Vegas.
Shamir said the indie music scene there was “near non-existent and not that diverse when I was growing up there. All the bands were older and only played 21+ venues and all the ‘all-ages’ shows were pop, punk and metal shows.”
Shamir, who now calls Philly home, has been open about battling bipolar disorder. He has, to date, released five albums, the latest of which is this year’s “Be the Yee, Here Comes the Haw.” Shamir has also dabbled in acting, notably playing AJ on the Neflix series “Dear White People.”
Also on the MotorCity Casino Hotel Mainstage Saturday night will be Siena Liggins who made a splash last year with the single “Naked” and the #LetsGetNaked campaign, geared toward helping women achieve body confidence and featuring fellow female artists such as Flint Eastwood, Tiny Jag, Erin McConnell and others.
“The campaign is a way to sum up the lead up to the song, but I live these conversations all the time,” Liggins told Between The Lines in an interview last year. “I’m always thinking about these things, especially I think because I make my music for women — and I love women. I think I grew up in a household and setting where women have always been the foundation of my confidence and my empowerment. And I am always trying to do things to uplift them because that uplifts me and that makes me feel better about myself and it affirmed me in a way.”
Over on the Genisys Credit Union DJ/Dance stage, Joe Gauthreaux is headlining. Gauthreaux has played almost every major circuit event all over the world, including Winter Party Festival, Black Party New York, White Party Miami, Song Kran Bangkok, New Year’s Rio at The Week, Atlantis Cruises and others. His production career has included official remixes of major dance artists like Steven Redant, Leo Blanco, Tony Moran and Kristine W., not to mention mainstream top 40 artists like Adele, Rita Ora, Blondie, Troye Sivan, Justin Bieber and Brian Justin Crum. Most recently, his big room progressive-tribal remix of Diana Ross’ classic anthem “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” with Brazilian producer DJ Leanh, has taken the circuit by storm.
Gauthreaux will also be spinning at an official Ferndale Pride after party at the Grasshopper Underground, which is located at 22757 Woodward Ave. Titled “Thots & Prayers presents Joe Gauthreaux: After Pride,” the show will also feature DJ Jace and Bentley James.
Ferndale Pride 2019 Schedule Highlights:
Rainbow Run 2019
8:30 a.m. to noon.
Western Market Pride Celebration at Western Fruit & Meat Market
1 to 9 p.m.
Ferndale Pride Beer Garden to Benefit FernCare
1 to 9 p.m.
Free Hugs – Ferndale Pride Sponsored by Jim Shaffer & Associates
Noon to 10 p.m.
Pride Yoga with Rusty LeBlanc
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Ferndale Pride 2019
1 to 10 p.m.
Thots & Prayers Presents: Joe Gauthreaux | After Ferndale Pride
9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
For more information on Ferndale Pride visit ferndalepride.com.