Moab Pride will be in full-swing this weekend with parties, parades and festivals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept 27, 28 and 29.
In its third year, Moab Pride organizers expect about 1500 people to attend this year’s celebration of diversity.
Gay Adventure Week started early, beginning on Monday, Sept. 23. Moab Pride distinguishes itself from other festivals by being the first locale in the country to connect outdoor recreation with a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender Queer (GLBTQ) Pride Festival.
Outdoor adventure opportunities included canyoneering, hiking, jeep tours, whitewater rafting and stand up paddleboarding.
The kick-off is a meet and greet at the Orange Party held Friday night at Frankie D’s.
“You have heard of the traditional ‘White Party’, well now it’s time to get your orange on,” said Moab Pride organizer Amy Stocks.
A “white party” is the name of a number of circuit parties held annually, catering to the LGBTQ communities. Its name comes from the requirement that party-goers dress in all or almost all white.
“Traditionally the ‘white party’ is associated with men. When we created the Orange Party, we wanted it to be gender neutral, to encompasses both men and women,” said Sallie Hodges, one of the original organizers of Moab Pride.
There has a Orange Party each year during Moab Pride.
Saturday morning is the Visibility March at Swanny City Park.
“March on bikes, skates, skateboards, unicycles or just your own two legs,” said Moab Pride organizer Jenn Oestreich. “March in costume or your favorite attire!”
Mayor Dave Sakrison will begin the festivities by reading a proclamation supporting Moab Pride’s message of celebrating diversity and inclusion.
The Chundra, designed by Artist Mac Maker, leads the parade to the beat of the Fiery Furnace Marching Band. The former UPS truck has been visiting pride festivals around the Intermountain West and was in both the Utah Pride parade and the Denver Pridefest, both held in June.
“The Chundra is an engaging, lighthearted, playful vehicle for change amidst the political climate surrounding the GLBTQ equality struggle that began 44 years ago,” Stocks said.
The Moab Pride Festival is held at Old City Park in Spanish Valley from 11 a.m. to dusk on Saturday.
Local vendors such as Moonflower Market and Quesadilla Mobilla will be serving up a great assortment of local dishes. Games of badminton and volleyball will be available. There will also be a Kid Activities Camp for those with children.
The festival stage at Old City Park on Saturday afternoon is featuring The Lovebirds, a folk/pop duo featuring award-winning San Diego songwriters Lindsay White and Veronica Maya.
“The Lovebirds create a flurry of sights and sounds, incorporating a variety of instruments and costumes during their performance,” Oestreich said.
Singer/songwriter Nicole Torres will return to Moab for her third year as Nico Tower and the Radioactive Folk Orchestra.
“This special brand of radioactive folk music enchants with powerful vocals and soul-stirring harmonics,” Stocks said.
The Vision is returning to Moab for their second year.
“They have an eclectic mix of music that leaves no options for the listeners but to dance along and feel the love,” Stocks said.
Birdie and the Black Sheep, also from Salt Lake City, are an all-female band, with a blues and rock sound.
“They promise to throw guitar picks into the Dirty Birdie section if you promise to throw bras,” Oestreich said.
Saturday night’s After Party at Woody’s Tavern will feature Mistress of Ceremonies Indie Skies presenting Moab Pride’s drag queens. Then a night of dancing with Los Angeles-based DJ diva Danielle is planned.
Sunday provides a recovery from a week, or weekend, of play with a special brunch at Eddie McStiff’s from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The revenue generated from Moab Gay Adventure Week and Moab Pride Festival events will be put toward creating a permanent drop-in center and office space in town to facilitate offering a larger scope of services to the local GLBTQ youth, allies and visitors.
“It makes me proud, as a gay man from Moab, to see my hometown having such an inspiring event,” said Benton Johnson. “When I was growing up there, I had no gay friends I could talk to. In fact, I was the only out kid in high school. I really feel like this festival is a fantastic opportunity for gay youth in Moab who might be questioning or scared. It makes me happy to think that today’s youth won’t have to go through some of what I did.”