Gisella Contreras, Miss Trans Oregon 2016 and a Hood River graduate, will be the festival's guest of honor. (submitted photo)
As of Wednesday, June 13, 2018
The Columbia Gorge Pride Alliance (CGPA), in partnership with Wildflower Kitchen & Events, will be holding its first bi-annual festival called the Pride & Prosper Festival on June 30.
The CGPA, headed by White Salmon City Councilor Amy Martin Whitman, made a splash last year holding the first ever Columbia Gorge LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, and Queer) Pride parade in Hood River.
This year the group, “aims to bring the Columbia Gorge resources, family-friendly entertainment, and education for all things surrounding LGBTQ prosperity and wellness.”
The Pride & Prosper Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 30 at the Waterfront Park in Hood River. The day will begin with a 5k fun run/walk called the “Rainbow Run,” at 10:15 a.m. followed by some cool down yoga and a speech from the festival’s guest of honor Gisella Contreras, Miss Trans Oregon 2016 and a Hood River Valley High School graduate from the class of 2001.
Following the speech, there will be group Zumba class and a fun all-ages competition called Silent Disco. In between all the events, there will be games and activities for kids, local vendors supplying healthy foods and tables with information and resources for and about the LGBTQ community.
“We are trying to offer a diversity in activity which is a large part of the CGPA mission,” said Ethan Masters, founder of Wildflower Kitchen & Events and a former CGPA board member.
The CGPA chose to do this style of an event this year over the traditional pride parades that happen all through the months of May and June celebrating LGBTQ pride. It was primarily to showcase a new variety of pride-related activities beyond the norm, but also to show LGBTQ families and allied families living in and traveling through the Columbia Gorge.
The event also brings in community resources, health information and community awareness to a centralized location for a day of inclusive celebrations.
“The idea is that one year we will do a parade and one year we will do this festival style with the hope that someday we can do both,” said Masters.
As always there is some concern about people who would intentionally disrupt the festival due to their own beliefs regarding the LGBTQ community. The Enterprise asked Masters how those situations would be handled should they arrive.
“Try to start a dialogue, ask why they have a problem with the event or the community. That’s one of the reasons we chose this style of event is to educate,” said Masters.
The events during the day are geared towards being family friendly, however, there will be a 21+ afterparty at Whiskey Tango, from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The party will feature regional DJs and some of the Drag Queens from Justin Buckles Productions.
Proceeds from both the Pride & Prosper Festival and the afterparty will be going to the CGPA for bigger and better events in the years to come.