The most conservative city in the United States is going to have its first LGBTQ celebration this fall. The Provo Pride Festival is set to make history this fall as the first official Pride Festival in Utah County. Currently, the only LGBTQ celebrations in the state are in Salt Lake City and Moab, known as the “Utah Pride Festival.” Organizers of Provo Pride feel Provo is ready for its own festival.
Adaryn Riverston, one of the event’s organizers, is optimistic about the upcoming festival.
“We do realize this is Provo and it is conservative, but with 550,000 in our metro area, we have the demand,” says Riverston. “When Salt Lake City started Utah Pride back in the late 80s, it began as a barbecue in the park with drag queens playing football. Now, years later, it’s one of Utah’s largest independent celebrations. We feel Provo’s celebration could be just as successful.”
The Provo Pride group is already registered as a nonprofit organization and has begun promotion for the event. They’ve also been working with the LGBTQ community in Salt Lake City, who have also been very supportive.
The festival in Provo, however, won’t start out with the numbers the Salt Lake City festival currently has. While there are no plans for a parade this year (due to the late start in promoting the organization), there are still plans for a festival at a public park in Provo that will include booths, entertainment and music. A parade is on the to-do list for next year.
But how will a gay festival be received by the Provo community? Provo’s population has a high percentage of members of the LDS faith. The LDS church teaches that same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but yielding to it is.
“We are anticipating some backlash. But in the end we feel the positive message outweighs the negative. This is good for Provo and all of Utah County. With the population expanding, larger gay friendly businesses moving in, it’s the right time for Provo to move ahead with this event.”
Details of the event, as far as location and date, will be coming soon.
What do you think of the upcoming Provo Pride Festival? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Update: It has been confirmed that the festival will take place on September 21st at Memorial Park on 800 E Center Street in Provo. From 10am-8pm. The festival is free and open to the public. There will be an after party at The Madison night club in Downtown Provo.
Photo Courtesy of the Provo Pride Festival