“This unique event is the second largest small-town Pride Festival in the United States,” festival officials said in a news release.
Since 2011, when Moab Pride was launched by Amy Stocks, Ali Lingle and a handful of other local residents, the festival has drawn steady support from many local businesses and community members, and organizers have estimated that more than 700 people attended the 2012 festival.
From the beginning, organizers have envisioned the event as inclusive for the entire community.
“It’s about being visible and showing pride in the community and in ourselves,” Stocks said last year.
This year’s festival kicks off at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27 with the Orange Party at Frankie D’s Bar and Grill, 44 West 200 North. The meet-and-greet event will feature music by Salt Lake City DJs Stackhouse and Sistamatic and will include an appearance by Indi Skies. Those who attend are encouraged to dress in orange attire.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, the festival’s “visibility march” will get underway at 8:45 a.m. Participants in the march will meet at the southeast corner of Swanny City Park on 100 West at 9 a.m. Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison will address the crowd and read a proclamation before the march through town gets under way.
At 11 a.m., the festival will begin at Old City Park, located on Murphy Lane southeast of Moab. This year, author and activist Wayne Besen will be a featured speaker at the festival.
The author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth,” Besen currently serves as the executive director of Truth Wins Out, an organization founded to combat the ‘ex-gay’ myth and right wing propaganda. Besen is a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian advocacy group.
The day-long festival will also include performances by a variety of musicians including Birdie and the Black Sheep, an all-female band, with a blues and rock sound, Nico Tower, alternative rock band The Vision, and The Lovebirds, a folk/pop duo.
A festival after-party will be held at World Famous Woody’s Tavern, 221 S. Main St., featuring music by local DJs The Droogs and guest DJ La DivaDanielle. A drag performance by Indi Skies and friends is also scheduled.
“It makes me proud, as a gay man from Moab, to see my hometown having such an inspiring event. When I was growing up there, I had no gay friends I could talk to. In fact, I was the only out kid in high school,” said Benton Johnson. “I really feel like this festival is a fantastic opportunity for gay youth in Moab who might be questioning or scared. It makes me happy to think that today’s youth won’t have to go through some of what I did.”
The theme for this year’s festival is “Naturally Engayged,” and organizers said they see the event as “a gift to everyone and a chance to bring people together to enjoy the beauty and big heart of Moab.”
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.moabpride.org.