It began as a lark.
Five years ago, Amy Stocks watched a video from the satiric news organization “The Onion,” about a small town that held a gay festival for its one gay resident. Stocks posted the video on her Facebook page with a note asking when her hometown of Moab was going to throw a festival for her.
And from there it snowballed, Stocks, 38, said, with people identifying as LGBTQ, or allies of diversity, coming together to plan Moab’s own pride festival. The event invites “people to come together regardless of age, gender, religious or political affiliation,” and to celebrate diversity and the idea that one day all people will be treated as equal.
The annual Moab Pride Festival draws attendees from around the country, beginning with a “meet and greet” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Atomic Lounge, 1393 N. U.S. Highway 191. There will be a silent auction fundraiser and DJ Logan will be spinning tunes.
Before the festival itself gets under way, the fun begins with Moab Gay Adventure Week. This year’s adventure week takes place from Sunday, Sept. 20 through Friday, Sept. 25, and is an official fundraiser for Pride Fest. Co-organizer Helene Rohr has partnered with various Moab outfitters such as Magpie Cycling, Poison Spider Bikes, Moab Cliffs and Canyons, Sherri Griffith River Expeditions and Moab Tour Company. Canyon Voyages and Canyonlands Ballooning are Moab Pride sponsors.
Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to take part in a number of outdoor activities throughout the week, including hiking, mountain biking, canyoneering, off-road Jeep riding and river rafting. To see a schedule of events, visit www.gayadventureweek.com.
Rohr said she came up with the idea three years ago after volunteering for a Gay Ski Week in Aspen, Colorado, which raised money for the Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Foundation.
“People came from all over the world,” Rohr said. “I thought it would be nice to do something similar here. We don’t have a lot of snow, but we have everything else.”
After the Moab Pride Festival’s Thursday meet and greet, people are encouraged to wear their “best orange” to the Orange Party on Friday, Sept. 25, at Club Rio, 2 S. 100 West. The festival fundraiser will begin at 8 p.m., featuring fire performances, drag queen artist Indi Skies and music programmed by DJ Dan and Diva Danielle.
The visibility march takes place on Saturday, Sept. 26, leaving Swanny City Park at 400 North and 100 West, at 11 a.m. for a short march through town. Marchers are encouraged to bring their bikes, skates, skateboards, unicycles or simply their own two feet. Last year’s march was led by Grand County newlyweds, including the first same-sex couple to receive their wedding license in the county after waiting for more than 35 years.
Prior to the march, a Moab city official will proclaim “Moab Pride Festival Days.” The march ends back at the park, where festivities run from noon to 6 p.m. Live music performances by The Lovebirds, Talia Keys and Friends, and the Painbirds will take place throughout the day.
Afterward, there will be another party at Club Rio with more drag queen performances by Indi Skies, and music by DJ Morea and Mike Balance. At the same time, Talia Keys and her band will perform at Woody’s World Famous Tavern, 221 S. Main St.
Moab Pride Fest, Gay Adventure Week celebrate diversity; events begin this weekend
“People came from all over the world (to Gay Ski Week in Aspen) … I thought it would be nice to do something similar here. We don’t have a lot of snow, but we have everything else.”
When: Moab Gay Adventure Week runs from Sunday, Sept. 20, through Friday, Sept. 25; Moab Pride Festival runs from Thursday, Sept. 24, through Saturday, Sept. 26.
Where: Various locations;
For more information, go to www.moabpride.org or www.gayadventureweek.com