Ever been to one of those summer festivals that has the fancy misting tents to help keep you cool? Yeah, that’s OK. But how about a 10-foot-tall T-rex and a giant unicorn that squirt water instead? Welcome to Michigan City PRIDE Fest 2019.
The second annual event on June 29th is all about family, community, phenomenal entertainment, great food, and love. It happens from 1-9 p.m., at the Guy Foreman Amphitheater, 115 Lake Shore Drive, Michigan City. The event is free and open to the public with food and beverages available for purchase. Washington Park admission fees apply ($4 for those with a sticker, $8 without).
“The support that families have shown to being open and accepting in our community is a wonderful thing. I’m looking forward to seeing the love that the community brings,” said Daisy Lee, chairperson for the Michigan City PRIDE Fest planning committee and secretary of the Michigan City PFLAG chapter, which worked with the Northwest Indiana Gay Straight Coalition to organize the fest this year.
Last year’s first-ever PRIDE Fest in Michigan City was expected to draw 400 people. Instead, 2,000 showed up, so Lee said the planning committee made a few upgrades this year.
“We’ve moved it from the You Are Beautiful space downtown to the Guy Foreman Amphitheater. It gives us some shade, a huge stage for entertainment, and the beach is close by for everyone to enjoy if they want,” Lee said.
It’s hard to imagine the beach would lure anyone away, though, when you consider everything on the docket for the day. Food trucks, local craft beer and wine, a huge kid’s area, and a stage lineup of local live music, culminating in a wildly entertaining, family-friendly drag show by the beloved queens and kings of Welcome To The Other Side.
Flash tip! The drag performers will mingle afterwards and make themselves available for the perfect selfie opportunities!
“We learned last year that so many people just loved interacting with the drag performers and taking pictures with them, especially the kids. It sparked the group to really expand their outreach and begin offering family-friendly performances and appearances,” Lee said. Since then, performers with Welcome To The Other Side have done a family-friendly brunch at Fiddleheads in Michigan City, and appeared at the PRIDE family bowling event, among other gigs.
Other stage entertainment this year includes: Dennis Brittain, Blastcap, Married Life, Dream Eels, Jes Kramer, Zha Zha, Sick Day, Mother Nature, Real Dom, and a live Zumba fitness demo.
The kid’s zone at Michigan City PRIDE Fest will be facilitated by after-school diversity clubs and the high school’s LGBTQ+ club and will include a Make Your Own Slime station, corn hole, a cotton candy machine, a giant Twister game, and of course, the huge T-rex and unicorns squirting water to cool off the kids (and adults, too!).
Come hungry, and thirsty. Burn ‘em Brewery will serve locally crafted beers and wine, and food vendors will include Smokey G’s BBQ, Wana Pizza, Blue Chip Casino Food Truck, LuLu’s Licks, and Kona Ice.
Tightly woven into the Michigan City PRIDE Fest fabric among all the fun is the strong presence of social, spiritual, medical, and family support at this year’s event.
“Last year we had 19 booths from community organizations, and this year we are up to 35. Every day for the last week I’ve fielded calls from new community groups who want to have a presence,” Lee said.
Booths range from medical organizations, social service groups, not-for-profits, churches and faith-based organizations, and advocacy groups offering a broad range of services and support. Free HIV testing will be available.
“The support, love, and acceptance that the community has shown is incredible. But even with that, I see that people still struggle with acceptance,” Lee said. “It’s very encouraging for those who struggle to see families and parents interacting with their kids and to see how they are open and accepting.” She added that everyone who participates, including volunteers, are supporting PFLAG’s mission: to celebrate diversity in Michigan City, to foster fellowship and unite the community, and to continue towards equality through support, education, and advocacy.
Michigan City PRIDE Fest is accepting volunteers! Share the love you have to give and sign up today at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c094fa9a729a1f49-michigan1. For more information about Michigan City PRIDE Fest in general, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/977405249124631/?active_tab=about or online at michigancitypride.com.
A 21-and-older post-fest parking lot party takes place at Fiddlehead Restaurant, 422 Franklin St., from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., June 29, featuring a live band, DJ, drink specials, beer truck dancing, laughing, and of course – dressing to impress! The theme is Think Pink.
Sponsors for Michigan City PRIDE Fest 2019 are: Fiddlehead Restaurant, Michigan City Human Rights Commission, Blue Chip Casino, Indiana Suicide Prevention, NIPSCO, and Welcome To The Other Side.