Moab Pride Festival expected to draw more than 600 participants
by Charli Engelhorn
contributing writer
Sep 27, 2012 | 3578 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than 350 people march down Center Street in Moab during the first Moab Pride Festival in 2011. This year’s event will take place Sept. 29 at Old City Park. The Visibility March will begin Saturday morning at Swanny City Park. Times-Independent file photo
More than 350 people march down Center Street in Moab during the first Moab Pride Festival in 2011. This year’s event will take place Sept. 29 at Old City Park. The Visibility March will begin Saturday morning at Swanny City Park. Times-Independent file photo
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More than 600 people are expected in Moab this weekend for the second annual Moab Pride Festival, according to festival organizers Amy Stocks and Helene Rohr. Organizers say they expect almost double the number of participants this year, compared to the 350 people who marched in the 2011 Visibility March and approximately 450 who attended that day-long event at Old City Park.

“The intention for the march is the same this year. It’s about being visible and showing pride in the community and in ourselves,” Stocks said.

Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison issued a proclamation this week supporting the festival’s message and declaring Sept. 28-29 Moab Pride Festival Day.

The proclamation touts the festival as “an opportunity for all of our citizens to celebrate and recognize the diversity of our community and to promote and advocate the message of tolerance, civility, equality, dignity and respect for all citizens.”

“Whereas, our community strives for inclusiveness and acceptance of all citizens, and... we embrace and celebrate our individual identities and our commonalities, I would encourage the Moab community to unite in solidarity and common purpose to celebrate the diversity, shared humanity and civil rights of all people,” Sakrison wrote in the Sept. 25 proclamation.

This year’s festival theme, “Let Love Flow,” promises to bring the same sort of message of love and acceptance for all people in the Moab community and around the world, Rohr said. Stocks said those attending the 2012 festival will also see some changes.

“We have some different entertainment guests we are bringing in, which I think will bring more people to town,” said Stocks. “I think this year will also carry more of a political tone, too.”

The political tone is not something the organizers intentionally added to the event, but with the state and national elections only a few weeks away and Senator Scott Howell, a democratic candidate from Utah, choosing to have a booth at the festival, political discussions are certain to arise, according to the organizers.

“Gay marriage is a big topic in the races this year, and people are in the mood to express their views right now,” Rohr said. “And just having Zach here will add to those feelings.”

Zach Wahls, the author of “My Two Moms,” a book about his life growing up in the Midwest in a two-woman household, will be the special guest speaker for this event. Wahls gained popularity last year when a speech he delivered to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee to oppose a resolution redefining marriage as between a man and a woman went viral on social networking channels.

The festivities begin Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Frankie D’s with the Orange Party. The theme will be Moulin Rouge-inspired, and DJ Nagol will perform.

Pride Saturday begins with the Visibility March at 10 a.m. at the south corner of Swanny City Park at 100 West and Park Road. This year, local resident Jenn Oestreich volunteered to organize the march.

“Having Jenn come on allowed her to give more attention to the march, and I think more people are able to really showcase their talents,” Stocks said. “There will be more bells and whistles this year.”

Oestreich said she hopes the local community will come out and support the march. She has been coordinating with organizers from the Women’s Congress for Future Generations, held on the same weekend in Moab, so that event’s participants have the ability to join the march prior to the Women’s Congress meetings on Saturday.

“The march is a direct action that can show others, in particular the youth, in the community at large that they are accepted and loved and supported,” Oestreich said. “There is a sense of ‘being seen’ for your authentic self with all the vulnerability that comes with that. To walk in solidarity with your fellow brothers, sisters, allies, and supporters gives me courage to continue the pursuit of being who [we] are.”

This year’s march will have some musical surprises, and the music continues at Old City Park beginning at noon. Many of last year’s performers from last year will return, including Talia Keys, Bronwen Beecher, and local resident Lacy Cox. Justin Utley from Salt Lake City, Nicole Torres from San Francisco, and Renee Plant from Salt Lake City will also take the stage.

Local resident Barbara Galler will again deliver a reading during the festival, and Keys, the front-woman for popular Salt Lake City band Marinade, will be auctioning off a drum head she painted in honor of the pride festival last year, according to organizers.

The after-party at World Famous Woody’s Tavern will begin at 9 p.m. and features local DJ duo the Boom Boom Room, and San Francisco DJ Jen Woolfe, who headlined the after-party in 2011.

“I think we’ve prepared everything well that people will have a fun and meaningful time. People had a great time last year, and it was an amazing welcoming to the community and to Moab Pride, and those people took that message home with them,” Rohr said. “I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces and the friends we made last year.”

The festival has received support and sponsorship from groups such as Equality Utah, Decked Out Industries, Planned Parenthood, EklectiCafé, and Bill Burke Jeep Training and others. They also received grants from WabiSabi and the LGBT Endowment Fund operated by the Community Foundation of Utah.

“We are trying to bring in the community and other non-profits as much as we can. The children’s area this year at the park will be run by different local non-profits to showcase what they can offer to the community,” Stocks said. “Hopefully, the fear of people participating in an event like this is gone and they will feel good and safe about being part of it.”

For more information about the Moab Pride Festival, visit moabpride.org.

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