Dozens march to celebrate Vail-area LGBTQ community |

Dozens march to celebrate Vail-area LGBTQ community

Pride in the Park on Saturday featured a parade around Nottingham Park in Avon. The event celebrated Pride Month in the Vail Valley.
Chris Dillmann |

AVON — About 70 people marched through Nottingham Park on Saturday as part of an LGBTQ event called Pride in the Park.

The event was organized by local resident Britny Rose, who is transgender and is hoping to inspire more events in the future.

A jubilant audience, many in attendance acknowledged there are not a lot of events for the LGBTQ community in Eagle County. The now defunct Vail Gay Ski Week of the early aughts failed to gain recognition among the great gay ski parties of the world, and since then, few events have been geared exclusively toward the gay or LGBTQ community.

After seeing the turnout on Saturday, Rose told the crowd she is full of ideas about things people can do for the local LGBTQ community in the future.

“Wouldn’t it be great next year to have a Friday night event, where 25 drag queens show up, and 1,000 people fill this park?” Rose asked the crowd. “And we have what’s called a drag-a-palooza type thing, and a massive kick-off party to a pride weekend, that tells Denver that we can do it better than they can.”

Rose also said she intends to start a local “Pride committee” of about 10 people, along with a nonprofit company, to work on LGBTQ event planning. The committee would be accompanied by a youth version of something similar.

“They’re going to come up with their own events they want to do, and the pride committee’s going to have their back, and the community is going to have their back,” Rose said.

Open mic opportunity

Rose is also a comedian who hopes to one day host a Netflix special from the Avon Performance Pavilion at Harry A. Nottingham Park.

On Saturday she shared some of her comedy, based on her experience as a crew member onboard the Disney Cruise Line. Rose now works for Vail Resorts and has lived in Eagle County for three years.

While working for Disney Cruise Line, “I was standing at the bathroom because that’s a job on a cruise ship, standing at the bathroom and monitoring and making sure no one goes in and hurts themselves,” Rose said. “Because apparently kids obviously hurt themselves in the bathroom, I didn’t know that was something kids do.”

The joke ends with the hilarious image of a bathroom covered in feces, and a 3-year-old boy receiving some words of wisdom from Rose.

Rose, who said she hadn’t held a microphone in nine months, thanked the crowd for the opportunity to work on some material.

‘Not a lot of celebrating’

Ben Wojczynski moved to Eagle County from Michigan about three years ago to work in the hotel industry. Saturday’s event was the first LGBTQ event he had ever attended.

“I came out five years ago, this is my first Pride, and it’s important to me to be able to come out in my community and celebrate who I am,” he said.

“There’s a lot of youth out there that need support and need encouragement to be themselves and embrace their true identity,” Wojcaynski said. “And this is an event that allows them to see from a distance that there’s a group of people who support you, and we should celebrate ourselves.”

Hunter Jones, a local hotel general manager who works with Wojcaynski, also attended.

Wojcaynski said he hopes to help Rose organize future events.

“We’re very well accepted and welcomed, but there’s not a lot of celebrating our identity,” Wojcaynski said.

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