Pride in the Park to celebrate local LGBTQ+ community on Saturday | News, Sports, Jobs

Pride in the Park to celebrate local LGBTQ+ community on Saturday | News, Sports, Jobs

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC — Poster for the Marshalltown LGBTQ+-organized “Pride in the Park” event to be held Saturday at West End Park in Marshalltown.

The first Marshalltown Pride in the Park event, to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at West End Park, will feature yoga, live entertainment, children’s activities and a vendor market.

Organized by Marshalltown LGBTQ+, founded by Taylor Bear, the event aims to be a welcoming and inclusive venue.

He said the group was founded in 2022 as a private online platform where people can come together and socialise.

“There was a huge demand for events and ways for us to come together in the community,” he said. “Last year, we had a great response with our happy hour at Fiddle & Whistle and then we did a couple of drag shows that were very well-received and a lot of fun.”

Many clubs and events were subsequently organized and there were calls for a pride event to be held in the town.

“I work with some great people in the community and I was asked to talk to Geoff Hubbard at Marshalltown Parks and Recreation and I sat down with Jeff and said, ‘Hey, do you think this is something we could bring to our community on a small scale, just to see how it goes?’ And he was very guiding, he gave me all the information he had.”

West End Park has been approved for the area. Hubbard said Parks and Rec is excited to have any of its parks used for any kind of special event.

“We hope people come out on Saturday and enjoy the vendors and entertainment,” he said.

Bear added that he wants people to choose businesses in the 13th Street District and enjoy everything Marshalltown has to offer.

The group held a smaller drag show at Riverview Park last year.

“We had to sell tickets and it was limited capacity, it was a little more special,” he added. “This event is free to attend and feels more inviting. Some pride parades that put on these flashy and flawless pride shows charge a fee to attend, but for us, I knew it would be through donations.”

The morning begins with Yoga in the Park led by Heidi Draisey of Spirited Yoga & Wellness. Sign up at 8:15 for an 8:30 start.

“Yoga in the Park is already in that area in the morning,” Bear said.

Ecstatic Dance will begin immediately following the yoga and will be led by Tamra Rae of Light Steps, and the event will begin at 9:30 AM.

Enjoy entertainment on the main stage from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., a vendor market open until 6 p.m., and a kids’ section from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Approximately 22 vendors and artisans will be there selling their wares, and social/political organizations, including the Iowa LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, will be there. The kids’ section will feature a bouncy house, face painting, and a sensory area.

PRIDEMANIA W/RuggedPro will take place at noon, followed by Remix Dance Academy at 1:00 PM, musician Paige Clouse at 2:00 PM, and a fashion show at 4:00 PM. Drag shows will be held throughout the day, hosted by Hollywood Hope and Xander Lyon Frost, featuring performances by Xander Lyon Frost, Hollywood Hope, Andromeda Renee Valentino, Isabella Kills Michaels, Matte Black, Lonika LaReese Knight, Dickey Wrecked Lyon, Werm, Infinity Dragon, Terra Byte Lyon, Giovanni Strong Michaels, Rory Phoenix Monroe, and Amanita Girl.

“We really encouraged everything to be family friendly,” Bear said. “There will be a fashion show. Anyone can sign up for that. I’ll put it on the Facebook page so everyone can see more details of the little things that happen throughout the day.”

The Pride After Party, which will be held at Dave & Sally’s + The Cellar Door, will start at 8:00 PM and close at 11:00 PM.

“This will be more of a 21+ crowd. It will be in the same space where we have our weekly Happy Hour at The Cellar Door,” Bear said. “We’ll be doing an Open Stage Drag Show throughout the day with a lot of the same artists from the main stage. The music will probably be a little less family friendly and things like that, but it’s a way to really round out the night. Marshalltown doesn’t have a queer bar like some of our bigger cities in Iowa… there’s such a community built in these areas and it’s nice to see those intergenerational friendships, there’s family friendships, there’s so much community and diversity and I think that’s the beauty of life, so I’m really excited to be able to bring something like this to Marshalltown.”

People are invited to gather for breakfast at Doo Dah’s on Sunday from 8:00 am to 11:00 am.

For more information about the event, to volunteer or sponsor, message Marshalltown Lgbtq+ on Facebook or text Bear at 641-840-2423.

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