The sixth annual Grays Harbor Pride festival will brighten up the Shoppes at Riverside on Saturday with family-friendly games and entertainment.
The festivities will begin at 11 a.m. and continue into the evening. A record 43 vendors will be there this year, ranging from children’s games to food to informational booths.
A live band will perform during the afternoon, and DJ Valcano will play dance music from 4 to 7 p.m.
The main event will be Ceasar Hart’s drag show, starting at 7 p.m. A long list of professional drag queens and kings will perform.
“Ceasar’s been hosting the drag show all six years,” said event organizer Jen Gillies, president of Out & Proud Grays Harbor Coalition. “I’ve performed in most of them, but this year I said no, there’s just too much going on.”
The first four festivals were held at the end of Eighth Street in Hoquiam, next to the river. But that spot can be extremely windy, and the tents got blown around a lot. So last year, it was moved to Olympic Stadium, which provided a wind break and plenty more space.
But staging the drag show in the stadium’s stands was awkward, Gillies said, because it was difficult for the performers to interact with the audience without fear of injury. In addition, the cost was steep and it was way more space than they really needed.
Hart suggested the mall, and Gillies had a connection with the management, so that became this year’s venue.
“We’ve had some people that have been a little irked about the fact it’s not in Hoquiam this year, but I keep reminding them it’s Grays Harbor Pride,” she said. “We need to unite the Harbor.”
Activities will include rock painting, plinko, basketball throwing, drag storytimes and much more.
Out & Proud will sell custom T-shirts during the event, with visitors getting to choose the color, size and permanent decal to be printed on each one.
The Imperial Sovereign Court of Tacoma will operate a booth and hold performances during the day. Members also will host the Junior Pride competition Saturday afternoon — “basically showing the kids who want to participate what all it takes to be a part of the court that has been around since the beginning of our existence,” said Hart.
Sofia Da Silva will host a booth offering education for and about LGBT+ youth — part of her platform as Miss Pacific Coast’s Outstanding Teen.
Also providing information will be Out of the Darkness, Timberland Regional Libraries, Revival of Grays Harbor and many other organizations.
The primary goal of the festival, besides having fun, is to demonstrate community support for local LGBT+ youth.
“It is stressful to put together, because it’s usually a bare-bones crew,” said Gillies. “But if one kid all of a sudden feels safe on the Harbor, it’s worth it.”
Hart echoes that sentiment.
“The best thing ever is to hear from parents that they haven’t seen their kid smile like they did the day they brought them to a show, or to Pride,” he said. “If we can save or change one life by doing this, then it’s worth it.”