Photo from last year’s pride event in Idaho Falls | EastIdahoNews.com file photo
IDAHO FALLS – Idaho Falls Pride, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring hope and belonging in the LGBTQ community, is hosting its ninth annual pride event this month.
It will take place over two days and include virtual and in-person activities. The first event is happening on Facebook and Youtube Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m. and will be presented by Reading Time with the Queens.
“It’s a family-friendly kids event with some drag kings and queens as well as community members reading storybooks. They have sing-alongs and music and the whole program is translated with ASL, so it’s accessible for those who are hearing impaired,” Idaho Falls Pride Development Director Kelly McCary tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They walk through a craft together so you can do it along with them.”
Craft kits for the event will be given away next to the Idaho Falls Farmers Market on June 5 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Idaho Falls Pride will also be hosting a game with the Idaho Falls Chukars, Saturday, June 19 beginning at 7:15 p.m. Tickets will be given away in conjunction with the craft kits.
The group will be working with the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket for a food drive during the game. All those who bring canned goods that night will receive a voucher for a hot dog and drink.
“We do have a pride pre-game event at Mackenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub on Thursday, June 17 from 4 to 9 p.m. We’ll have vouchers to give out for that and if people attend and eat dinner, 20% of the proceeds will be donated to Idaho Falls Pride,” says McCary.
This is the organization’s first pride event since 2019. Last year’s parade and festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
McCary says there was still a lot of uncertainty about COVID restrictions when they first started planning for this year’s event last fall.
“We didn’t know when everyone was going to have access to vaccines, so it was hard for us to guarantee safety at an event like a parade. We decided to go a nontraditional route this year with a hybrid (virtual and in-person event),” she says. “The Chukars game seemed like a good venue to do that. It’s the first pride night the Chukars have done, so we’re happy to be partnering with them on that.”
People at last year’s pride parade and festival in Idaho Falls. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo
Idaho Falls Pride was formed in 2012 by a group of LGBTQ allies who saw a need for greater inclusivity and a sense of community for people in this category. Though there was some initial pushback, McCary says the response over the years has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Most people like to see diversity and inclusivity in their hometown and overall, we really do see support mostly in Idaho Falls,” says McCary.
The group has evolved into a formal nonprofit over the years that hosts multiple fundraisers every year. Today, most of its board members are members of the LGBTQ community.
McCary isn’t sure how many LGBTQ people there are in Idaho Falls or eastern Idaho but says it’s a safe bet that it’s more than people think and that’s why having events like this is important.
“A lot of folks aren’t quite as flamboyant about their identities in certain locations throughout the U.S., so it’s probably more than people realize,” she says.
Similar events are also held in Pocatello and Rexburg every year.
More than 2,000 people attended the Idaho Falls event in 2019 and McCary is hoping for a good turnout this year.
“We’re really looking forward to having a family-friendly, inclusive event with our community. We’re looking forward to putting on some more events in the future that can have much more tangible, in-person activities with everyone being safe and healthy,” McCary says.
Reading Time with the Queens can be accessed on the Idaho Falls Pride Facebook page. Visit the website for more information.
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