June 13, 2018 at 10:00 am EDT | by Staff reports
Towns within a few hours’ drive of D.C. have major Pride events planned
regional Pride events, gay news, Washington Blade

Baltimore Pride (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Not Prided out yet? Willing to hop in the car for a road trip? This weekend and the following have major Pride events planned in Shepherdstown, W.Va.,; Baltimore; Norfolk, Va.; and Frederick, Md.

W.Va.’s Panhandle Pride runs this weekend

regional Pride events, gay news, Washington Blade

Under new leadership, Panhandle Pride moves to downtown Shepherdstown. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

MARTINSBURG — West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle Pride is significantly different this year with new leadership and all new events.

Pride here started five years ago organized by the now-dormant Eastern Panhandle LGBTQ Alliance of West Virginia under the leadership of John Mason, a former minister. A Pride day was held in Morgan’s Grove Park in Shepherdstown, W.Va., a small college town about 73 miles from Washington, with live music, drag performances and a small festival. The Panhandle encompasses West Virginia’s Berkeley, Morgan and Jefferson counties.

At last year’s event, Mason said illness prevented him from continuing and asked for others to volunteer to take the reins. Over the winter, a new group formed and is offering four main events this year:

• Vendor Street Fair is Saturday, June 16 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. featuring queer artisans, networking opportunities and live performances. DJ Jerrbear, a staple of Panhandle Pride who’s emceed all four previous years, will host. Luscious Purr, Michael Ratliff and Darrell Russ will perform.

• A Pride Float is planned for Saturday, June 16 from 2-6 p.m. Interested parties can meet at the Shepherdstown Library (100 E. German St.) at 2 p.m. with bathing suit in tow. River Riders will provide inner tubes and bus rides to and from the river. Cost is $36 per rider. Call 304-535-2663 to book a spot. The code is “Pride Float.”

• A Disco Party will be held Saturday night from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at Domestic (117 E. German St., Shepherdstown). DJ Sidekick will spin. It’s free but a $5 donation is suggested.

• On Sunday, June 17, a Brunch & Art Exhibit will be held from 1-4 p.m. at the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub. Singer Chelsea McBee will perform. The Tap House will feature art from local LGBT youth.

Full details for all events is on Facebook — just search “Eastern Panhandle Pride 2018.”

Alex Orton and his partner Rod Snyder have helped organize the new group along with former state Del. Stephen Skinner (D-W.Va.) and Shepherdstown business owner Mark Harding, who leads the planning committee.

“We’re just a group of people here who really wanted to make sure this event continues in our area,” Orton says. “This is our first year bringing Pride into town and we want to make sure it’s a success.”

Flooding in the region prevented a drag show as has been held in previous years. Orton says they plan to have one later in the summer. A few hundred attended last year’s event. The decision was made to move from the park into town to increase LGBT visibility.

“We thought about bringing them to the brunch, but we didn’t want to do something half-way,” he says. “We want to take time to give that event the respect it deserves.”

DJ Jerrbear (aka Jarvis Jerry Leland Brooks) says he’s honored to continue emceeing.

“Eastern Panhandle Pride has always been one of my favorite events that I would headline and donate my time to each year,” he says. “I’ve seen what an impact showing love, sharing your talent or gifts at these events has over others because I know how it touches and blesses me.”

Mason says there’s no hard feelings.

“Our organization was very happy to turn over responsibility for Pride to the new Panhandle Pride organization,” he says. “We’ve offered them any help they need and we’re very happy with the job that they’ve done.”

Coming up in Shepherdstown, this year’s installment of the Contemporary American Theater Festival (July 6-29) features two plays with LGBT characters/themes — the unusually timely “The Cake” by Bekah Brunstetter and “Thirst” by C.A. Johnson. Details at catf.org.

— Joey DiGuglielmo

Hampton Roads Pride turns 30

Events near Norfolk, Va., kick off next week. (Photo via Hampton Roads Pride Facebook)

Hampton Roads Pride celebrates 30 years of Pride with a week’s worth of events on the theme “Stand Up Stand Out 30 Years Strong” starting Thursday, June 21. The organization’s first Pride event was organized by the social and political group, Our Own Community Press, who brought a June potluck picnic to the community in 1986. The tradition of a summertime festival began in 1988. 

Since then, the festival has expanded welcoming an estimated 30,000 guests to its celebration in 2017. It’s also the only Pride organization in the United States to host a Pride Boat Parade.

Hampton Roads Pride gets an early start with the Chrysler Kickoff at the Chrysler Museum of Art (1 Memorial Pl., Norfolk, Va.) on Thursday, June 21 from 6-9 p.m. Guests can pose with the LOVE sign outside and then go inside for a cash bar, food and live music by DJ Melody & Co., Ju Ju Drum and more. There will be a Make & Take table where attendees can create their own flags. The event is free for museum members and Hampton Roads Pride members. $5 for non-members.

Croc’s 19th Street Bistro (620 19th St. Virginia Beach, Va.) hosts a Pride Drag Brunch on Sunday, June 24 with showtimes at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Pride pre-party will have a fundraiser, raffle prizes, food, drinks and more. 

Beach Beats and Brews is at Smartmouth Pilot House (313 32nd St., Virginia Beach, Va.) on Monday, June 25 from 6-9 p.m. Details on this event will be announced closer to the event date.

The Hampton Roads LGBT InterFaith Group hosts its sixth annual Interfaith Celebration at the New Life Metropolitan Community Church (1000 Sunset Dr., Norfolk, Va.) on Tuesday, June 26 at 7 p.m. The service is open to all faith communities, members of the LGBT community and allies. An ASL interpreter will be provided. 

Hampton Road Pride and Pride on the Peninsula present Pride 30, a reflection of the last 30 years of Pride in the Hampton Roads area, at the Virginia Air & Space Museum Library (600 Settlers Landing Rd., Hampton, Va.) on Wednesday, June 27 from 4-6 p.m. Keynote speaker Dr. Charles Ford will lead an open moderated discussion on Pride history. 

The fourth annual Pride Party on the Peninsula is at Carousel Park (602 Settlers Landing Rd., Hampton, Va.) on Wednesday, June 27 from 6-8 p.m. There will be free rides on the historic Hampton Carousel, free food and drinks. Later in the evening, attendees can board the Miss Hampton II for the second annual Drag Down the River Boat Cruise. 

Crafty Queen Weekend Wind-Up is at O’Connor Brewing Company (211 West 24th St., Norfolk, Va.) on Thursday, June 28 from 6-10 p.m. Details will be announced closer to the event. 

The seventh annual Pride Block Party is at Norfolk Scope Arena (201 East Brambleton Ave., Norfolk, Va.) on Friday, June 29 from 7 p.m.-midnight. Advance tickets are $12 before June 25 and tickets at the door are $15. 

The Pride Boat Parade kicks off PrideFest along the Town Point Park (113 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, Va.) waterfront on Saturday, June 30 at noon. Small and large boats will travel along the waterfront with themed decorations. The “Out on the Boat” party on the American Rover (333 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, Va.) follows the festivities. 

PrideFest is on Saturday, June 20 from noon-7 p.m. at Town Point Park (113 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, Va.). “Empire” star Jussie Smollett headlines the music festival. There will also be a performance from the Hampton Roads Pride Mass Choir, a local LGBT history and walking tour, family games, vendors and more. 

For more information on Hampton Roads Pride, visit hamptonroadspride.org. 

— Mariah Cooper

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

Baltimore Pride (Washington Blade photo by Chris Jennings)

Tonight Baltimore kicks off its 43rd annual Pride weekend. One of the oldest U.S. Prides, Baltimore Pride began in 1975 with a rally of about a dozen activists. It has since grown tremendously over the past four decades, with about 30,000 people at last year’s festivities, and organizers are expecting an even greater turn-out over the weekend. This year’s theme, “United We Shine,” is about celebrating similarities and differences and embracing community as a means of combating injustice. 

The weekend begins tonight with several pride festivities, including a fashion show (7-10 p.m., 2 N. Charles St.), drag show (8:30-10 p.m., 10 W. Franklin St.) and fetish party (9 p.m.-2 a.m., 2022 N. Charles St.) to name a few. And Saturday and Sundayare equally packed from start to finish. 

Saturday begins at 12:30 p.m. at 25 St. and N. Charles St. with a race in which men wear not-made-for-racing heels of at least two inches to mark the official beginning of Pride weekend. To participate, sign up at baltimorepride.org. 

The day continues from there with Saturday’s main event, the Pride Parade, with floats, musicians, civic leaders and more marching South on Charles St. from 33rd to 23rd. This year’s grand marshals are Shawnna Alexander, three-time winner of Best of Baltimore Drag Queen; and Davon Fleming, Baltimore native and semi-finalist on NBC’s reality singing competition “The Voice.” 

Saturday also marks the Pride Block Party (4 p.m., Charles St. and 22 St.), headlined by Miami Tip, Taylor Bennett and TT the Artist and featuring Grand Marshall Devon Fleming. Tailgating will also be available from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Lez Lot (1915 N. Howard St.) with food trucks on site. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com for $20 and include two attendees; each additional person will be $5 (cash-only) at the door. 

Sunday marks the annual Pride Festival (noon-6 p.m., Druid Hill Park), an all-day celebration with music headlined by Tish Hyman — native Bronx rapper best known for her song “Dreams” featuring Ty Dolla $ign — a drag stage, exhibitors and local food trucks. 

Both Family Pride and Elder Pride will also take place beginning at noon on Sunday at Druid Hill Park, offering a chance to celebrate elders of the LGBT community and educate the next generation about its history. For a map with specific locations within the park for each event, visit baltimorepride.org. 

While official Baltimore Pride festivities run just this weekend, there are lots of unofficial parties and events throughout the rest of June in celebration of Pride month. For a comprehensive list of all events, visit facebook.com/baltimorelgbtqpride or baltimorepride.org.

— Grace Perry

Frederick Pride continues to grow in Maryland

Frederick Center, gay news, Washington Blade

Frederick Pride (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Frederick Pride, now in its seventh year, is Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Carroll Creek Linear Park in downtown Frederick, Md. 

Organizers are expecting up to 8,000 attendees and about 100 participating organizations. Admittance is free and families and allies are welcome. All attendees receive a Frederick Pride rainbow bracelet from welcome stations at each major park entry. 

There will be two entertainment areas featuring bands, drag shows, DJs, dancing and more at both the Carroll Street Amphitheater and the Market Street venue. The musical headliner is transgender country singer Brody Ray, who auditioned for both “American Idol” and “The Voice” as well as advanced to the celebrity judge auditions of “America’s Got Talent.” Chi Chi DeVayne, from season eight of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (and season three “All Stars”) is the drag headliner. 

The keynote speaker is Rebecca King, a community storytelling advocate for the National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Organized group youth activities will be located near East Street. 

food court featuring beer and wine will be next to the amphitheater. Official Pride merchandise from the Frederick Center, the LGBT non-profit that organizes Frederick Pride, will be available. Proceeds will go toward supporting local LGBT community center programs. 

For more information, visit thefrederickcenter.org/Frederick-pride. 

— Abby Wargo

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