After a three-year hiatus, organizers have set the 4th Annual Bainbridge Pride Festival for July 17 at Waterfront Park in Winslow to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, its allies, achievements, equality and acceptance.
Festival coordinator Derek Villanueva said Bainbridge Pride is rising from the ashes like a Phoenix, adding this year’s event was “a spur of the moment,” and that’s why they chose the “I’m coming out” theme to transform Waterfront Park into a vibrant, safe space, where different groups (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and Allies) can all be equally appreciated and respected.
The organization shut down in 2020. “We’ve been in hibernation,” Villanueva said, adding that with extra time on his hands he bought a shop in Winslow to keep busy and during that time people kept asking him if the Pride Festival was going to return.
“I got tired of saying, no. Now, with every event coming back, we decided to do a coming out. Like Diana Ross, ‘I’m coming out,’” Villanueva said. “We’re finally doing something because I felt guilty. I had kids coming in saying, ‘We really were looking forward to this one day where we could be ourselves and celebrate our community and be out in the park.’ And that just melted my heart.”
In less than three months, organizers have scheduled the eight-hour event with back-to-back main stage entertainment featuring drag queens, Cassidy King and Seattle performer Bosco, who appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14. Bands scheduled to perform include Seaside Tryst and Joey Walbaum & Co.
Villaneuva is looking forward to bringing together the island’s LGBTQ community and focusing on empowering, fostering inclusion, establishing a healthy sense of self, promoting diversity and creating stronger community bonds.
More than 2,500 people attended the last festival in 2019, and organizers are looking for festival managers, vendors, volunteers and artisans. LGBTQ+ youth groups are invited to set up a booth for free to encourage early leadership roles in the community.
“I think we can do it. We’re all kind of nervous,” he said. “Do we know how to do it again? It’s been three years. Of course, we do. It’s not really about perfection. It’s really about getting out there, getting back on the horse and putting out a festival for the community because it’s not really for us anymore. It’s for people who need it.”
The festival is from noon to 8 p.m. and will feature food trucks, a vendor village, a 21-and-over beer garden, entertainment and artisan activities. For details go to www.bainbridgepride.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.