Blue Ridge Pride Center Announces Cancellation of Blue Ridge Pride Festival and Related Fall Events
Blue Ridge Pride’s all volunteer board and leadership team have voted unanimously to cancel all previously planned summer and fall events. This includes the June Pride Party, the Blue Ridge Pride Festival, the Welcoming WNC Procession, the MX Pride Pageant, the LGBTQ Story Slam, and the Movies & Mixer Series.
We are heart-broken. But community safety is our number one priority. To keep the festival safe, we would have to make it so small that it wouldn’t make sense for community partners and vendors. We are also concerned about the ability of a 100% volunteer-driven organization to ensure a safe event under the current circumstances. We simply won’t risk the community’s health.
Near-Term Priority: Community Support
At the moment, Blue Ridge Pride has shifted its focus to supporting groups whose programs address urgent needs in the community. These include emergency response funds run by Tranzmission, Campaign for Southern Equality, and Youth OUTRight. They also include programs run by Western NC AIDS Project, WNC Community Health Services, and Loving Food Resources. We have diverted our own available funds and have run challenge grants through our Blue Ridge Pride Community Partner Fund.
We encourage anyone who wants to support these and other WNC LGBTQ organizations to donate to the Community Partner Fund. 100% of donations go to groups serving the WNC LGBTQ community.” We also encourage people to volunteer for Manna Foodbank.
Efforts Underway to Identify Alternative Event Formats.
In the meantime, we are pursuing a two-pronged strategy for bringing community-building events back to the LGBTQ and allied communities in Western North Carolina. We are exploring alternative, small-scale events with local vendors, partners and festival organizations. We are still exploring potential uses of Pack Square Park in September, such as an outdoor movie-in-the-park or a small-scale rally.
We are also using this opportunity to explore the potential of virtual events and spaces. We recently participated in LEAF Global’s first virtual festival (V-LEAF). We are in discussions with pride organizations across the Carolinas.
We wish everyone in the community a safe and speedy recovery. Please take care of yourself, your loved ones, and others in need. Anyone with questions, ideas, or suggestions should contact Tina White ([email protected]) or Butch Thompson ([email protected]).