Flagstaff or Bust

By Laura Latzko, June 2018 Web Exclusive.

For years, Flagstaff Pride’s motto has been, Have your family join our family at 7,000 feet.”  This idea continues to guide the Northern Arizona Pride Association (NAPA) as they prepare for the 22nd annual Pride in the Pines celebration, June 23 at Thorpe Park Complex.

Each June, LGBTQ people and allies travel from across the state to Flagstaff for a the full-day pride festival as well as weekend of festivities around town.

The festival itself, which started as a picnic at the local fairgrounds, and has continued to grow.p throughout the years. Event organizers expected more than 6,000 people from across Arizona, as well as surrounding states, to attend last year’s celebration. And after the final headcount, they discovered that attendance had increased by 25 percent.

Flagstaff resident for 20 years and NAPA director Kathryn Jim attributes this to town's reputation as LGBTQ-friendly city. In 2013, the city passed a nondiscrimination ordinance, and two plaintiffs from Flagstaff were part of a lawsuit that made marriage legal in Arizona.

“I can’t think of anywhere I’d want to be in June [than here], celebrating our diversity, celebrating our authentic selves, celebrating those who have paved the way,” Jim said.

According to Jim, the festival is highly anticipated by locals.

“It’s nice to hear ... that they’re all ready for Pride," Jim said. "It’s something to think about and something to celebrate.”

The Pride weekend festivities will formally kick off Thursday with the ceremonial raising of the rainbow flag at 6 p.m. the city hall lawn.

Photo courtesy of Flagstaff Pride/Northern Arizona Pride Association.

Arizona's Coolest Stage

This year's headliner, Grammy Award-winning singer Mýa, is best known for such hits as ,"Lady Marmalade," "Take Me There," "Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are),"My Love Is Like…Wo" and "Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do)."

The festival entertainment line up will also include reggae tunes from Keith Okie and Rebel Soul from Cottonwood, indie rock from Sunset Voodoo out of Tempe, choral music from the Reveille Men’s Chorus from Tucson and acoustic music from Flagstaff’s own Jacqie Forman.

Attendees can also see a tribute to Selena from Taryn Scali and a performance by Cher impersonator Candi Stratton.

Miss Phoenix Pride 2018 Mya McKenzie and Flagstaff Auctioneer and Business Owner Russell Mann will share hosting duties.

“So many people in Flagstaff know me personally. I think they’ll get a kick out of it," Mann said. "I’m a smart ass, a wise guy. I’m going to make it fun. I know how to get the crowd going,”

As a Flagstaff Pride volunteer since 2016, Mann said volunteering has helped him to feel more connected to and passionate about the Pride celebration.

“My thing is, instead of just going to an event, I believe in volunteering at it, and you really get a lot more out of it,” Mann added.

From set up to tear down, between 125 and 130 volunteers will this year's Flagstaff Pride possible.


Photo by Bill Gemmill.

A Walk in the Park

Each year, the Flagstaff Pride festival includes many of the vendors and sponsors. This year, festival organizers estimate the number of vendors has increased to more than 90, an increase of nearly two dozen over last year.

Attendees can expect to find everything from festival fare and fierce Pride apparel to local businesses and organizations that server the entire state.

In recent years, Jim said, an increasing number of queer and non-binary youth have taken part in the celebration and more parents have been including their children in the festivities.

To supports NAPA's invitation to families, a children’s area, run by the Living Christ Lutheran Church, will offer activities for children and parents, including balloon sculptures, face painting, arts and crafts.

Photo by Bill Gemmill.

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