Stevens Point's LGBTQ pride festival returns with two days of events, greater variety

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Drag show artist Melee performs during the Stevens Point Pride Festival on  June 12, 2021, at Pfiffner Park in Stevens Point.
Drag show artist Melee performs during the Stevens Point Pride Festival on June 12, 2021, at Pfiffner Park in Stevens Point.

Editor's note: Due to forecasted rain and possible thunderstorms, the organizers of the Stevens Point Pride Festival have moved Saturday's event to the Holiday Inn and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave.

STEVENS POINT – As many as 3,000 people celebrated part of LGBTQ Pride Month in Stevens Point last year — and organizers think they could exceed that attendance this year.

Point Pride will return June 10-11, expanding to include a pub crawl on Friday in downtown Stevens Point before the Saturday festival at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., said Ryan Goszkowicz, event director for Point Pride.

"We're trying to expand the number of days of events every year," Goszkowicz said.

Point Pride will go into the festival with almost $14,000 to spend on the event, doubling what organizers had available last year, he said. The extra money means they'll have more giveaways and more variety in entertainment – such as a bounce house for children.

Last year helped cement the festival in people's minds because Pride events in Madison and Milwaukee were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Goszkowicz said. Brenna Davis joined Point Pride this year as volunteer coordinator after seeing the turnout last year.

"Typically in the past, if I had wanted to go to a Pride festival I needed to go out of town," Davis, 31, said.

The goal this year was to add more options in entertainment to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Much of the event last year ended up being drag centric, Goszkowicz said. Pride is rooted in sexuality so it becomes a balancing act of how to make the event family-friendly while also staying true to Pride's roots as a display and celebration of sexual liberation, he said.

As the June 11 festival progresses, events will go from family-friendly to more adult-centric, such as performances from two LGBTQ comedians.

"We’re trying to find the balance. A large part of the queer community are adults," he said. "It’s hard to say 'come and be yourself' but then say 'keep it family-friendly.'"

Here are the June 10 Pub Crawl details

Taking advantage of the city's open alcohol carrying ordinance, Point Pride has partnered with nine downtown bars to organize a pub crawl. Each bar will feature a specialty menu item or discount as part of the crawl. The crawl was born out of the afterparty last year where crowds attending the festival flooded the downtown bars, Goszkowicz said.

Event organizers will give out a punch card where people need to visit each participating business. Completing the crawl will enter people into a drawing for a prize valued at $300 at the June 11 festival.

Entry into the pub crawl costs $5 with the purchase of a Point Pride cup.

When: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 10

Where: Downtown Stevens Point, start at the public square.

Participating bars include:

  • Sunset Point Winery

  • Graffiti's Sports Pub

  • Icon

  • Sugar Bar

  • Brickhause Tavern

  • Top Hat Bar

  • Buffy's Lampoon Tavern

  • Elbow Room

  • Guu's on Main

LAST YEAR: Return of in-person LGBTQ Pride events in Wisconsin gives something to look forward to after a turbulent year

RELATED: LGBTQ Pride festival returns to Stevens Point with big ambitions, new leadership and chance to celebrate in-person

Here's what's changed with the festival on June 11

Drag, giveaways, live music and comedy will be some of the main attractions of Point Pride 2022.

But, Goszkowicz said, this year will feature a child's area with face painting, crafts and a bounce house. An open mic area will allow people to share poetry, art, music or their own story.

"I just want to do my part in making a space for people that I didn’t have growing up," he said.

When: Noon to 9 p.m. June 11

Where: Holiday Inn and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point

Cost: Free

What's planned:

  • Noon - 1:30 p.m.: Community events, including Senior spotlight where LGBTQ participants will receive their own diplomas and gift baskets from Point Pride, and drag storytime where drag queens will read children's stories to interested families.

  • 1 p.m.:  "So You Think You Can Drag" first-time drag performer competition

  • 2:30 p.m.: Original performance by Authentic Theatre Ensemble

  • 3:30 p.m.: Wausau gay bar Club Oz drag queen performance

  • 5:30 p.m.: Southern Wisconsin punk band Falling Flat returns as the music headliner for the day. Falling Flat returns as the music headliner for the day. 

  • 7 p.m.: Performances by LGBTQ comedians Dina Nina and Lalita Dee.

  • 8 p.m.: "Bandshell Bombshells," drag show with prominent Midwest drag queens.

More information about the event can be found at Point Pride's website: stevenspointpride.com

Contact reporter Alan Hovorka at 715-345-2252 or ahovorka@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ajhovorka.

This article originally appeared on Stevens Point Journal: Stevens Point June LGBTQ pride festival returns for two days of events