Yampa Valley Pride Festival looks forward to its biggest event yet

The community braved the rain to celebrate LGBTQ Pride in downtown Steamboat Springs on June 26, 2021. The organizers of the third Yampa Valley Pride Festival are expecting another strong showing at this year's event, which has been well supported by local organizations and sponsors.
Bryce Martin/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

With 27 tables featuring different vendors and organizations, drag performers, music and a dunk tank, this year’s Yampa Valley Pride Festival is shaping up to be the biggest showing in the event’s three-year history.

“This year in particular it has just kind of taken off,” said Chelsie Holmes, chair and founder of Yampa Valley Pride. “Last year was easily three times as big as the first year, and I don’t even know what to expect on Saturday to be totally honest with you. The number of businesses and organization that want to get involved, want to plan their own events and support us is kind of overwhelming to be honest.”

Holmes said a small group of people started the Yampa Valley Pride Festival three years ago, and she was a part of that group. This year’s festival is slated to take place from noon-3 p.m. Saturday on the Routt County Courthouse lawn at 928 Lincoln Ave.

The festival will be followed by afterparties — one for youth age 13-17 that includes music, snacks and a photo booth from 4-7 p.m., and an adult version for those age 21 and up from 8-11 p.m. that will include a disc jockey, drag performances, go-go dancers and a photo booth.

Holmes said both parties will be at the Depot Arts Center at 1001 13th St., and she encourages anyone wanting to attend to buy tickets early because both events will sell out.

Pride Month, a celebration of self-affirmation, love, diversity, dignity, equality, acceptance and increased visibility for the LGBTQ community, takes place across the world with celebrations and commemorations to recognize all who identify as LGBTQ and their allies.

Leadership Steamboat is planning a number of local events for Pride Month including a community dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7 at the Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave., and an event where people can print their own official Yampa Valley Pride T-shirt at Ohana from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 8. There will also be a movie night featuring “Strange World” at the base of Steamboat Resort on Friday, June 9. Social hour will begin at 6:30 p.m. before the movie.

From 8-9:30 a.m. on June 12 at the STAND meeting, Holmes will speak about LGBTQ discrimination and the importance of pride, and the parents and guardians of gender-diverse youth will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on June 15 for Tea Talk. Both events will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Dusky Grouse Coffee will also host Queer Coffee Hour starting at noon on June 25 with members of the LGBTQ community and allies.

Then from noon-4 p.m. on July 1, the Snowbowl will host “Pride All Year Long” featuring drag trivia, ecstatic dance and bowling. Proceeds will go to Yampa Valley Pride and the Health Partnership Serving Northwest Colorado.

Other non-Yampa Valley Pride events will include a free pride night at Steamboat Climbing Collective from 5-8 p.m. on June 16, Craig Pride at Breeze Park in Craig from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 17 and a Craig Pride Party starting at 6:30 p.m. on June 21.

Also in June, select purchases at Paws n Claws and select classes at Out There Yoga will benefit Yampa Valley Pride. Yampa Valley Pride is also planning to make an appearance at the Denver Pride Parade, which starts at 9:30 a.m. June 25 at Cheesman Park and goes to the Civic Center.

Holmes said Steamboat’s Pride Festival has been more than a year in the making, and she is thrilled to see so many other organizations willing to step up and host events that support the effort.

Proceeds from the Leadership Steamboat events, and the money raised at the dunk tank, will go to support a new LGBTQ resource center. The center will have three areas of focus including creating a safe space for LGBTQ people, fostering health, equity for LGBTQ people in this community and making sure health care services are accessible to this community, while also providing education that will help the community understand LGBTQ people, how to be welcoming and to be great allies.

“I think maybe at the beginning people were hesitant because they weren’t sure how being outwardly pro-LGBTQ would impact their business,” Holmes said. “But I think it’s shown that it’s good for business, and more people are wanting to get involved and are sponsoring our events and support us.”

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