Pride Month kicks off in Eagle County with celebration of LGBTQ rights, community
Growth of ‘Pride’ in Eagle County leads to ‘bigger and better’ celebration of LGBTQ community and allyship this June
Each year, cities, towns and communities across the United States celebrate Pride Month in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This uprising was the start of a movement of queer liberation that continues to impact many lives to this day.
In 2020, Eagle County made history of its own when Britny Rose organized the first LGBTQ Pride event. The grassroots event quickly gathered support from the community and grew in its second year as a Pride in the Park celebration at Nottingham Lake.
Now, two years later, the county has its first LGBTQ support and advocacy nonprofit, Mountain Pride, that is going and “bigger and better” for Pride Month, according to the organization’s executive director Madison Partridge.
“We’ve just worked to amplify every year and this year we’ve definitely done that,” Partridge said. “We know how important this month is to our history, to who our community is, and why we’re here and what we hope to accomplish.”
While the inception of Pride Month traces back to 1969, it continues each year as the LGBTQ community and its allies “keep working to better our community, build better support and move forward,” Partridge said.
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“We’re seeing that right now with over 300 bills trying to be passed across the United States that are anti-LGBTQ and there’s ones that have been passed,” she said, adding that Pride month is about “recognizing where we came from and recognizing that there still is work to be done.”
In Eagle County, lots of work has been done to grow LGBTQ advocacy, and Mountain Pride has seen growth of allyship, both from individuals and from local businesses and organizations.
“It’s such a beautiful thing; we’re seeing such a strong ripple effect of that visibility, representation and community,” Partridge said. “Community is where we’re from and how we started; Britny was just a transwoman who wanted to connect with more members of the queer community, myself and the original Pride in the Park planning community just wanted to see representation, make friends and build our community because we’re here.”
And as Pride Month kicks off this year, Mountain Pride reached out to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners to see if they would be interested in officially proclaiming the month of June as Pride in the county.
“They were super supportive from the get-go and we just got confirmation that this is something they feel so strongly about,” Partridge said.
The commissioners will officially sign a proclamation at the board’s Tuesday, June 7 meeting. The proclamation holds that “Eagle County is committed to supporting visibility, dignity and equity for LGBTQ+ people in our diverse community.”
Commissioner Matt Scherr said that this proclamation is an expression of the community as well as the values that the commissioners uphold as local representatives.
“I think that’s what we’re doing in this proclamation, just to show that, generally speaking as a community, we want to be one of compassion and inclusion,” he said. “It really is specifically about inclusivity and making sure that everybody feels welcome and included and cared for.”
This message, Scherr said, aligns with the county’s mission “to make a better Eagle County for all.”
“That emphasis is really just about inclusion. And specifically where there are populations like LGBTQ+ who have had particular struggles with exclusion, and this is an opportunity for us to give that message of inclusion to those groups that have struggled,” he said.
This proclamation, Partridge said, is a demonstration that the LGBTQ community is “seen here in the community and validated for our experiences and who we are.”
As Pride goes bigger and better this year, this growth is seen not only in the schedule of events as well as in the number of sponsors and activities at Pride in the Park, but with the addition of multiple events from local businesses and organizations.
This includes fundraising events for Mountain Pride such as a Pride Mixer cocktail class at Hovey & Harrison on Wednesday, June 9; a drink special at the Grant Hyatt; a giveaway from Avanti Tattoo and more.
“Our allies are showing up outside of Pride and Pride Week,” Partridge said. “We’re seeing our local community stand up and take ownership of visibility and allyship.”
With this growth of allyship and partnership, Mountain Pride is adding a wide range of “Pride Week” events leading up to Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 18. This includes a Monday evening hike and ice cream social, drag queen storytime at The Bookworm, its annual Big Gay Give Back Day, a coffee and game night at Color Coffee in Eagle and a Friday night Pre-Party at Two Arrows. Plus, it’s wrapping up the week with a Drag Brunch at Vintage Vail on Sunday.
And as for Pride in the Park itself, “it’s a jam-packed schedule of events,” Partridge said.
Not only did the organization have over 40 vendors sign up to have booths at the event, but it will have food trucks, speakers, yoga, activities for kids like face painting and a rock climbing wall, a silent disco, two drag performances and much more.
“We have so many things that it’s not just for the queer community, it’s for families, it’s for allies, it’s for adults,” Partridge said. “ We want to encourage our community that Pride and Pride month is not just for the LGBTQ+ community, it’s for everyone. It’s an opportunity for our allies to show up, and show up strong and to learn and be ingrained in our community.”
To learn more about Mountain Pride and Pride Month as well as its year-round opportunities for education, community building and support, visit MountainPride.org.
Monday, June 13: Pride Soul Dirt Hike and Ice Cream, starting at 6 p.m. in Edwards
Tuesday, June 14: Drag Queen Storytime with The Bookworm, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk amphitheater in Edwards
Wednesday, June 15: Big Gay Give Back Day, starting at 3 p.m. at the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue in McCoy
Thursday, June 16: Coffee & Game Night, starting at 6 p.m. at Color Coffee in Eagle
Friday, June 17: The Official Pride Pre-Party, starting at 9 p.m. at Two Arrows Coffee & Bar in Vail
Sunday, June 19: Drag Brunch, starting at 9:15 a.m. at Vintage Vail in Vail
PRIDE IN THE PARK
When: Saturday, June 18 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Harry A. Nottingham Park in Avon
12 p.m.: Yoga in the Park1 p.m.: Pride Kick Off2 p.m.: Drag Show Teas-her3 p.m.: Pawshion show4 p.m.: Out and Proud Drag Show5 p.m.: Pride Parade6 p.m.: DJ and dance party