By Laura Latzko, June 19, 2014.
Pride in the Pines gets a new venue for the 18th annual festival in Flagstaff.The festival will be on June 28 and 29 at Thorpe Park.
Kat Jim, president of the Northern Arizona Pride Association, said rising expenses caused the move after the festival had been held for a number of years at Wheeler Park in downtown Flagstaff.
"We wanted to be in a place that is more convenient and further away from residences and downtown," Jim said. "This will be the first time you can sit and watch the festival and see the peaks."
Jim said the festival doesn't have yearly themes but has always been centered around the idea of "Have your family join our family at 7,000 feet."
The festival started in 1996 with a picnic at the Fort Tuthill County Fairgrounds. Jim said this year she expects the festival to attract more than 4,500 attendees, more than any other year.
But the event almost didn't happen after major financial issues last year when low attendance for the music festival on the second day of Pride contributed to a budget deficit.
Jim said by holding fundraisers and getting new community sponsors, including Monsoons Downtown and Collins Irish Pub and Grill, the organization was able to pay off debts.
Jim said there was talk of not having Flagstaff Pride this year.
"That's when I looked at [the board] and said, ‘I'll be damned if this festival doesn't happen.' I was so determined," she said. "Knowing this festival had to happen, I went on a Pride campaign."
Jim said that her resolve to make sure Flagstaff Pride happened this year was strengthened by a rally against SB 1062 in Flagstaff.
A number sponsors are straight allies, and around 40 percent of festival attendees are supporters, Jim said.
"Pride would not happen without a community that supports an organization that supports diversity and stands for equality," Jim said.
New sponsor Jacquie Kellogg, a real estate broker who has a number of LGBT friends and a gay son, said she didn't see supporting Flagstaff Pride as any different from sponsoring the American Cancer Society or the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.
"A lot of people ask me why I'm involved with Flagstaff Pride. I say, ‘Why not,'" Kellogg said. "I don't think you have to be gay to support it."
Ron Getto of Starlite Lanes said sponsoring Flagstaff Pride has allowed him to be a part of an event outside of the bowling alley and provide support to the LGBT community.
Dev, a rapper and singer, and Shangela, from "RuPaul's Drag Race," will headline the first day of the festival, and Berlin will perform on the second day. Dev is known for the songs "Bass Down Low" and "Booty Bounce." Shangela appeared on second and third seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Flagstaff Pride will offer entertainment from local and national drag performers, musicians and bands, including:
Folk singer-songwriter Chris Pureka from Portland, Ore.
Flagstaff blues singer Sir Harrison Begay.
Up-and-coming pop singer Charmaine.
Drag queens from Northern Arizona University's LGBT organization PRISM.
The Pübes, a Phoenix queercore comedy band.
Sister Lip, a blues/jazz band from the East Valley.
Afeelya Bunz, also known as Rich Zavala, returns to host the festival for the fifth year. He will share hosting duties with Micheal Weakley, formerly deputy director for one•n•ten. Zavala, the 2008 Miss Phoenix Gay Pride, said he looks forward to Flagstaff Pride because it offers an intimate environment. He said it's like a reunion with friends and family.
This year, pridegoers can purchase VIP tickets, which provide access to a VIP lounge area with a bar, main stage viewing area and private restrooms. VIP ticketholders also receive complementary beverages.
Pride in the Pines
191 N. Thorpe Road, Flagstaff
Tickets: $10 pre-sale, $15 at the gate; VIP weekend pass, $55 pre-sale,
$65 at the gate.