Second annual Yampa Valley Pride full of festivities
Yampa Valley Pride is back for its second annual celebration, and it’s bigger than ever. A lineup of events for and by the LGBTQ+ community will begin Friday, June 24, and conclude Sunday, June 26.
Founder and Chair of Yampa Valley Pride Chelsie Holmes emphasized that Pride will be an opportunity for LGBTQ+ people and allies to foster community, learn about the LGBTQ+ experience and issues while celebrating queer visibility.
She said the weekend will begin Friday with pride T-shirt printing at Ohana from 3-8 p.m. in conjunction with a pride passport crawl through downtown businesses.
“We have these pride passports, which you can pick up at all participating locations, and do a crawl downtown to support the businesses that support us,” Holmes explained.
Participants can pick up a passport at businesses including Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Moe’s Original BBQ, the Yoga Center of Steamboat, The Standard Gallery and more. Getting stamps on a passport from four or more participating locations will make someone eligible for a Yampa Valley Pride sticker.
The main Pride celebration will be on the Courthouse Lawn from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 25. The gathering will include 20-plus vendors set up on the lawn, an appearance from a drag queen, music, a photo booth and more.
“We’re expecting to be a little bit bigger than last year, a little bit more fun,” said Renzo Walton, secretary for Yampa Valley Pride. “We’re hoping the community is open to it and they enjoy it.”
What: Yampa Valley Pride
When: Events on Friday June 24 – Sunday June 26
More information: YampaValleyPride.org
Outdoor roller blading will also be a feature of Saturday’s celebration, with a rink on Sixth Street next to the county building. There will be skates to rent at the festival, and attendees will be able to skate for free from noon to 3 p.m., and can continue skating until 10 p.m. for a fee.
Saturday’s pride celebration will culminate in a 21-and-older afterparty from 7-10 p.m at The Standard Gallery. The event, entitled “Cowgirls, Cowgays and Cowtheys,” will be rocking a Western pride theme and feature a performance from drag queen Tiara Latrice, according to the Yampa Valley Pride Instagram.
Holmes said she had curated a western-themed playlist for the afterparty.
“The playlist for that, it’s really fun,” Holmes said. “I am excited for people to hear it because I’ve been listening to it a lot.”
On Sunday, there will be a queer coffee hour from noon to 1 p.m. at Dusky Grouse Coffee. There will additionally be a roundtable event from 5-7 p.m. at a private location.
“We’re doing a roundtable for LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ adults and parents of LGBTQ+ youth to sit down and talk to them about what the needs are in the community, what their experience has been like living here,” Holmes said.
Walton emphasized the importance of creating spaces where queer people can discuss the difficulties of being LGBTQ+ in Steamboat, and to generally foster community for queer folks.
“We want to understand what the needs are for queer people,” Walton said. “We always want to know what people think and if there is anything that we can do to make this a better place and more welcoming.”
There is also a survey people can fill out at Linktr.ee/YampaValleyPride for those who cannot attend the roundtable.
Holmes added that finding other queer people in a place like Steamboat while being fully out and accepted can at times be difficult.
“I think in the past, like LGBTQ+ people who’ve lived here tried to kind of blend in,” Holmes said. “But for me, the acceptance can only go so far if that’s your approach.”
Holmes explained that she hopes the pride celebration this year in addition to events that are held year-round can be “a central hub for people to meet each other.”
“For a lot of queer people, it’s essential to have community with other queer people,” she said.
“Visibility is one of our first thoughts about why we’re doing this,” Walton said. “We understand that being in rural Colorado, kind of isolated, can be a little bit difficult for people to feel welcome.”
Walton added that especially for queer youth, pride and discussion about LGBTQ+ issues is essential.
“We want them to feel safe and you know that this is a very good and unique community,” Walton said. “We want to create a space so people feel comfortable with who they are.”
To reach Katy Pickens, call 970-871-4208 or email her at kpickens@SteamboatPilot.com
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