Pride Month is almost here. Get ready for events in Tri-Cities, including Pride festival

A brand new board of directors of the Tri-Cities Pride non-profit is preparing for their first Pride Month together, full of events for the local LGBTQIA+ community. The annual Pride festival will be held at Peanuts Park on June 2.

Here’s what you need to know about Pride Month in Tri-Cities this year.

Pre-Pride events in Tri-Cities

There are two events before the Pride festival, one that fundraises for the non-profit and one that raises money for the local PFLAG chapter and awareness for LGBTQIA+ bullying, suicide and self-harm prevention.

Out and About’s annual Red Dress Party will raise money for Tri-Cities Pride on May 11. There is a $15 cover charge, general admission only, and a silent auction at the “Red Mask Carnivale” themed event. You can reserve tables ahead of time by messaging Out and About on Facebook.

PFLAG’s annual Walk and Roll 3K will be held at Chiawana Park on May 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants can walk, skate, bike or roll along the Columbia River in order to raise awareness for the health and safety of LGBTQIA+ youth. There will also be a resource fair, food trucks and yard games provided by Tri-City Area Gaming.

Registration is $25 in advance or $30 the day of the 3K. Registration guarantees a food and drink ticket, and the first 200 registrants will get a commemorative item. Kids younger than six can attend for free. All proceeds go toward PFLAG Benton Franklin.

Tri-Cities Pride festival

The Pride festival on June 2 will include live performances from local drag queens and musicians, nearly 50 vendors and multiple food options. You’ll even find pet adoption stations. It’s sponsored by the Inatai Foundation, Kadlec and Coordinated Care.

The festival is family-friendly, with something for all age ranges. Performances will also be family-friendly. A kid zone with inflatable activities will be available for youth attendees.

In previous years, the festival has garnered over 3,000 attendees. Since they have a new board of directors, Tri-Cities Pride is expecting a smaller operation this year, with attendance closer to 500 to 1,000 people.

The streets surrounding Peanuts Park won’t be closed off, but there will be a stage and plenty of room for attendees.

“Our communities are facing hate and violence in our schools, businesses, and streets,” states the Tri-Cities Pride website. “There is no clearer message than standing together and celebrating to say there is no room for hate here!”

The Tri-Cities Pride festival for 2023 is sponsored by the Inatai Foundation, Kadlec and Coordinated Care.
The Tri-Cities Pride festival for 2023 is sponsored by the Inatai Foundation, Kadlec and Coordinated Care.

There will also be a kickoff event at Moonshot Brewing the day before. Details for that event will be announced soon. After the kickoff event, there will be Pride Karaoke at The Emerald of Siam, which will be open to all ages until 11 p.m. These events will help fund next year’s Pride events.

President of the Board A’isha Martin told the Herald that there will be additional events throughout the month to celebrate Pride. You can follow the Tri-Cities Pride Facebook page to see updates as they’re announced.

Needing Pride in Tri-Cities

Coming from San Diego, Martin wants to bring some of the energy she saw in California to Tri-Cities. After moving here about six years ago, she noticed how difficult it was to find other members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Over time, she realized there is a large presence in Tri-Cities, it just takes a while to find everyone.

“It’s actually pretty big,” Martin said in an interview, referencing the LGBTQIA+ community here. “As I keep getting more and more involved, I’ve realized how big, and how many of us are here. And a lot of people don’t even know.”

To Martin, Pride Month is about fighting for the equality and the love of the LGBTQIA+ community. Providing a festival for the community to be together, proudly, is a necessary part of that.

She’s president of a board of six, who all recognize the necessity of Pride events in Tri-Cities. They’ve put months in to create the festival and other events, while keeping the non-profit running following the transition to a new executive board.