Up & Coming Weekly

June 07, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 19 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JUNE 8 - 14, 2022 UCW 19 ere are a number of events in the local area recognizing Pride month and celebrating diversity in our community. Pride Car Parade and Health & Employment Education Fair June 10, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Fayetteville VA NC Coastal Health Care System located at 7300 S. Raeford Road. Proudly serving all veterans. Come out for the annual Pride Month Car Parade at noon. e decora- tion area opens at 10 a.m. e Health and Employment Fair takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Some of the event community partners include NC Works, Fayetteville Technical Com- munity College, Veterans Bridge Home, Wood- peckers Baseball and Fayetteville PRIDE. Rainbow Skies: LGBTQIA+ Book Club June 11, 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Cumberland County Public Library, Cliffdale Reginal Branch. Come and join the library for the first meeting of Rainbow Skies: LGBTQIA+ Book Club. e club will be reading "Hunting Monsters" by S.L Huang. When her mother stands trial for the murder of a human-cursed grund- wirgen, everything she knew about her family and her past comes crashing down. Auntie Rosa has always warned her about monsters. Now, she must find and confront them to save her mother. e story is available online for free here: https://bit.ly/3sze2wL Rainbow Tea Party June 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at e Inclusive Impact Church located at 2007 Ramsey Street. Join the fun as they celebrate in Unity the True Pride in the Colors of the rainbow! Enjoy food, entertainment, prizes and more. RSVP at 910-736-9080. Pride Night with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers June 21, the game starts at 7:05 p.m. at Segra Stadium. Support Fayetteville PRIDE and join us for the first pride night at Segra Stadium! e first 750 fans through the gates will receive a purple pride T-shirt. Visit www.milb.com/fayetteville to purchase tickets. EVENT PrideFest returns to Festival Park June 25 by ALYSON HANSEN June is LGBTQ* Pride month, and this year, Pride- Fest returns to Fayetteville's Festival Park on June 25. e all day event will feature music, vendors and a drag show along with other entertainment. ere will also be a kids' area with activities such as face paint- ing and balloon animals. Fayetteville PRIDE, a local LGBTQ* non profit organization, is hosting the event. Katrinna Marsden, the president of Fayetteville PRIDE, is looking forward to the return of the event. With the COVID-19 pandemic, PrideFest 2020 was canceled, and 2021's events were more scattered and smaller in nature in an effort to be safe while celebrating. is year, however, Marsden expects a full crowd at Festival Park. "Our first PrideFest in 2018 was at Lafayette Park, and 1500 people showed up. We knew we were outsized from that park from the first year," she said. "In 2019, we had the festival in Festival Park, and had 5,000 people in attendance. e event is the largest fundraiser on Fayetteville PRIDE's calendar. e organization holds monthly support meetings for the community, has created a Youth Empowerment Group, and works with local charities. e vendor fees and sponsorships from PrideFest help fund the organization's goals throughout the year. "We aren't just a festival, we are an organization that is year round and our mission is about embrac- ing diversity and about being a support network," Marsden said. Marsden said the festival has hit their capacity for vendors, and that people have come forward to volunteer for the event in numbers they weren't expecting. "We were worried we wouldn't have enough vol- unteers, but we have had over a hundred, and people have come up to ask day-of if they could volunteer. We've just had an outpouring of support for (the fes- tival), and it makes it really worth it," Marsden said. PrideFest celebrates LGTBQ* acceptance, and Marsden said that can be a huge thing for an LG- BTQ* person who may feel alone. She expressed most LGBTQ* people wonder how they will fit into "normal." By having Pride events, meeting others in the LGBTQ* community, these people discover there is a whole community with similar experiences. "It makes you feel like you have a place in the world. We still regularly get people who come up to us as at events, who have found out about us and ex- press to us that they have felt alone. (It's important) just knowing there are other people out there who support you," Marsden said. Marsden said it takes hours and hours to prepare for PrideFest, and sometimes it can seem over- whelming. But for Marsden and her fellow board members, the outpouring of support from the com- munity makes the long days worth it. "Every year we get to hear stories what it means to people, and I think that is the thing that makes it all worth it to us," she said. "I can distinctly remember the very first PrideFest in 2018, standing there with the other board members crying because so many people were there and they kept telling us how much it meant." Marsden also expressed excitement to see parents supporting their LGBTQ* children at PrideFest. "I did not come out for a long time. I didn't figure it out for along time. But looking back, I can see it in kindergarten and first grade, sixth grade. I can see all these things, I don't know why I couldn't figure it out," she said. "And then when you see 12 and 13 year olds at these festivals standing with their par- ents, wearing rainbow gear, it's really exciting." PrideFest will be held June 25 at Festival Park between noon and 6 p.m. e stage will host alter- nating musical and drag acts, with some Fayetteville favorites making appearances. For more informa- tion, or to volunteer or donate, visit www.fayettevil- lepride.org/. Volunteers can register at https://forms.gle/SxA- ki7yahwUKbtHq9 . Volunteers can donate as little as two hours of time, and sign up as an individual, as a family or with a friend. e Fayetteville PrideFest will be held June 25 at Festival Park. (Photos by Reminiscent Photos LLC, courtesy of Fayetteville Pride) ALYSON HANSEN, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. (910) 484-6200

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