The Utah Pride Festival is one of our favorite events of the season! With entertainment, a festival, and epic parade, Utah Pride is the best of the best in pride celebrations. Read GayTravel.com's exclusive interview with Megan Ribson of Utah Pride!
SN: What sets Utah Pride apart from other events of its type?
MR: The Utah Pride Festival is one of the largest outdoor Pride Festivals in the Intermountain West and the second largest outdoor Festival in Utah. Over 25,000 people attend the annual Festival from all over Utah and surrounding states. The Utah Pride Parade is the longest parade in Utah with over 120 entries and an estimated 35,000 attendees.
SN: How has Utah changed over the years in terms of gay friendliness?
MR: Utah has been at the forefront of the LGBTQ movement during the last few years due to the Prop 8 case in California and the headquarters of the LDS Church here. As our 2012 Grand Marshal, Dustin Lance Black, stated, “Lately, as goes Utah, so goes the nation.” While we still have quite a way to go, we have made huge strides within the broader community here in Utah. The Utah Pride Festival serves a dual role within the LGBTQ community of Utah. First, all of the proceeds raised at the Festival go back into the LGBTQ community, specifically to the programs and services at Utah Pride, the LGBTQ community center. Second, the Festival serves as the largest LGBTQ outreach event in Utah, promoting and highlighting the groups, businesses and organizations that make up our diverse community.
SN: How has the gay community at Utah pride impacted the local and broader LGBT community?
MR: The Utah Pride Festival is a program of Utah Pride, the LGBTQ community center of Utah, which is a catalyst for building and celebrating the strength, equality, dignity and self-determination of the LGBTQ Community throughout Utah. Even with the conservative nature of the politics and citizens of Utah, the LGBTQ community has not only sustained over the years, it has thrived! Every day we are seeing more and more progress within the community who are supportive of the LGBTQ community from Mormons Building Bridges to open and affirming Boy Scout Troops.
SN: What should guests expect from the time they spend at Utah Pride?
MR: To all who attend the 2013 Utah Pride Festival, one can expect 4 days of activities for any and all interests. The Festival begins on Thursday, May 30th with our Interfaith Service. For 12 years, the Pride Interfaith Coalition has come together to recognize the diverse cultures and backgrounds to praise the spiritual divineness within us and other members in the community. On Friday, May 31st we have our Grand Marshal reception where we will honor our Grand Marshals, Major League Soccer star David Testo and Joe.My.God blogger, Joe Jervis as well as our Festival awardees.
Beginning Saturday, June 1st, patrons can attend one of our marches/rallies before the Festival officially opens at 3pm. Family hours for the Festival are from 3 – 6 PM on Saturday and will include family-friendly entertainment as well as special activities for families and children in our Kids Zone. Utah Pride Festival Saturday headliners include Alex Newell who plays Wade ‘Unique’ Adams on the television show Glee and from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ivy Winters and Pandora Boxx. Saturday night ends with the hottest dance party in town with DJ Jen Woolfe spinning from 9 – 11 PM on the Main Stage.
Sunday, June 2nd marks the biggest day of the Utah Pride Festival with the Utah Pride Parade beginning at 10 AM. Businesses, organizations and social groups make up the largest, most colorful parade in Utah. At 11 AM, the Festival opens for a day of entertainment and festivities with over 150 vendors, 15 food vendors, a karaoke and bingo/games stage, entertainment on three stages (Dance, West and Main) with Pop/Disco/Motown/R&B and Grammy Award winning music legend Thelma Houston closing the Festival Sunday evening.
SN: What is the short history of Utah Pride?
MR: The origins of the Utah Pride Festival date back to 1974, when 200 people gathered in Memory Grove for a picnic. In 1983, a committee formed and obtained its first city permit to hold the event. Since that first official event, an estimated 500,000 people have celebrated their pride at the Festival, from the rainbow flag flying over City Hall to watching local and national celebrities riding in the Utah Pride Parade.