The Moab Pride Festival began last year in an effort to bring the local residents together to support other members of the community regardless of sexual orientation. The festival is also geared towards those seeking acceptance or just wishing to show support for their friends and loved ones.
Last year, the parade and festival attracted about 500 people from around the state. This year, the coordinators are hoping to see up to twice as many people participate in the various events.
“The festival last year was a big marking point of ‘I do feel accepted in this community, not based on sexuality or gender, but because I have the space to be who I want to be here,’” said Visibility March coordinator Jenna Oestreich. “It’s an opportunity to show off this great town we have that’s full of love, acceptance, and compassion for people to be able to…come out to just being themselves, however way that is.”
This year, the event is preceded by “Gay Adventure Week,” a fundraiser for the festival. Gay Adventure Week begins Sunday, Sept. 23.
“There are local guiding groups who have offered to run trips. You can sign up for various things like mountain biking, river rafting, four wheeling, hot air balloon rides—any kind of Moab adventure,” Oestrich said.
Participants can purchase week-long packages in varying levels of difficulty or pick activities by the day. Various tour groups from around town are involved. All proceeds beyond the cost benefit Moab Pride.
“Having the Moab Pride Festival be the culmination of a weeklong of festivities that bring people here can meet that goal of wanting a year-round presence,” Oestreich said.
Gay Adventure Week kicks off the second annual Moab Pride festival, beginning the evening of Friday, Sept. 28 with an “orange” party at Frankie D’s.
“Traditionally, Prides have a white party,” said coordinator Amy Stocks. “We decided to take a different spin on it. Being from this area, anything that you wear that’s white turns out orange.”
This party serves to welcome guests from around the country and to introduce them to the area and the community.
The visibility march will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday at Swanny City Park. The route will loop through town.
“The visibility march, because it’s in town, is something that I’m excited about. I’m excited about capitalizing on last year’s event and having organizations and local businesses marching,” said Oestreich. “It just offers an opportunity for the community to see who’s involved and for visitors to see that we have a sweet town here.”
The march will end at Swanny Park, where the festival will begin at noon. There will be performances by Nicole Torres from California, Justin Utley from New York, and a few local performers. Zach Wahls, author of “My Two Moms,” a memoir about being brought up by gay parents, will be speaking at the event. The festival also has a kids’ area run by a few local non-profits, including the Youth Garden Project, the Multicultural Center, Club Red, and Outward Bound.
“This year, our theme is ‘Let Love Flow,’ and that’s the goal: to create acceptance and to continue this celebration of diversity within the community,” Stock said.
The after party will be at Woody’s Tavern that evening, featuring last year’s DJ, Jen Woolfe.
“Last year was our first year, so we were kind of getting our feet wet. This year we’re going to create some sustainability and have a year-round presence, so that we would be able to host other events around the year,” Stock said. “Our goal is to have that resource here for younger kids and even adults who feel more isolated, or even for people who identify as heterosexual who just want information.”