Gay residents in Lost River, W.Va., the LGBT-popular enclave about 116 miles from Washington, launches its own Pride event on Saturday, June 24. The one-day festival will run from 5:30-11 p.m. at the Lost River Farmers Market (1089 Mill Gap Road, Lost River, W.Va.).
“We are a large LGBT community out here and we decided after all these years, we should just get out and celebrate,” says organizer Dan Mahoney. “We plan on having this event every year from now on.”
The festival will kick off with a pool party at the Guesthouse from 2-5 p.m. followed by a country-style potluck and barbecue. Corn hole sets and a croquet court will be available. At 7 p.m., the band Reckless Abandon will perform. A new film called “Something Like Summer,” a musical about gay love in a small Texas town, will be screened at 9 p.m. Lodging is available in the area. Contact Mahoney at email@example.com for details or look for the event on Facebook.
Mahoney is a retired union leader who serves on the board of directors of the Lost River Artesian Cooperative and the Lost River Educational Foundation. He and husband Doug Gronholm have been together for 29 years. They moved to Lost River in 2012 after stints in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Mahoney enjoys watching TV in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
To some since I was 15, to the world since 1998. It was hard to come out to some of my old Air Force buds.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Harvey Milk. When I was getting ready to be discharged from the United States Air Force, my plan was to move to San Francisco but my hero was executed before I could move. I moved anyway.
What’s Lost River’s best nightspot, past or present?
TK’s at the Lost River Grill has a large LGBT crowd on weekend nights and the bar at the Guesthouse in Lost River has a very nice restaurant and bar.
Describe your dream wedding.
Standing on the deck of a cruise ship sailing under the Golden Gate bridge.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Single-payer health care.
What historical outcome would you change?
The 2016 election.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Seeing Neil Patrick Harris play the emcee in the 2004 Studio 54 version of “Cabaret.” That was the day I knew he was gay.
On what do you insist?
Follow through on what you say.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Promoting the Lost River Pride event and the D.C.-area premiere of “Something like Summer.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Not only no, hell NO!
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Not much. I’m a “be-here-now” kind-of guy.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep up the fight. We will never be safe.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To save the love of my life from any danger.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
This whole bottom/top thing.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Beautiful Thing” until last night; now “Something like Summer” is way up there.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
The fact that everyone thinks you should be politically correct all the time. I just say how I feel and live with the consequences.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I have never been one who would strive for a trophy or prize but the Noble Prize money would come in handy.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That things get better the older you get.
Why Lost River?
We have owned a cabin in lost River for almost 20 years. When I retired in 2012, we wanted an inexpensive place to live so we expanded the house and moved here full time. There are lots of LGBT people out here so we have a good group to hang out with and it’s very quiet. Three cars at a stop sign is a traffic jam for us. Much less daily stress although living in a small town means everyone knows your business. We sometimes think it would make a good TV show — “The Real Boys of Lost River.”