The Pride Festival, taking place on Saturday, could be Durango’s biggest yet – The Durango Herald

Hundreds come to embrace their inner selves and celebrate the community

The Durango Pride Parade moved from Fifth Street to Buckley Park on Saturday. The Durango Pride Parade and Festival is an opportunity for members of the LGBT-plus community to go out and meet while expressing themselves in a safe and welcoming environment, said Brian Joy, event organizer and Chair of the Four Corners Alliance for diversity (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Saturday was all about embracing personal truth and community with a family-friendly Pride celebration at Buckley Park featuring artists, drag performers and comedians who drew hundreds to the scene.

The event was supposed to start at 3:00 p.m. after a Pride parade on Main Avenue, but before the clock struck 3 a.m., Buckley Park was already filled with citizens and visitors.

Brian Joy, organizer and chair of the Four Corners Alliance for Diversity, said this could be the city’s largest Pride event to date. He said Saturday’s Pride parade was also the first to feature floats. He said that’s thanks in large part to Fort Lewis College and local schools, whose students were excited to design floats for the parade.

“It became a much bigger community event because we were able to include all of these kids,” he said.

Although the month of June is officially designated Pride Month, a celebratory time for the LGBT+ community, the Alliance for Diversity decided September worked better because college and high school students were back in town after summer break.

“Judging by the crowd, I think it made sense. I don’t know if we’ve ever had that many people before,” he said.

The Durango Pride Parade and Festival is an opportunity for members of the LGBT-plus community to go out and meet while expressing themselves in a safe and welcoming environment, said Brian Joy, event organizer and Chair of the Four Corners Alliance for diversity (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Although the month of June is officially designated as Pride Month, a celebratory time for the LGBT-plus community, the Four Corners Alliance for Diversity decided September is a better month for students who may be out of town during the summer. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

JoAnn Smotherson, board member of the Four Corners Alliance for Diversity, said Pride events are especially important for young people because they provide a sense of community.

“It’s a place where young people can walk around and see and feel like they’re part of a larger community, and if they have gender or sexual nonconformity, that’s fine,” she said.

She said Pride has evolved over the years. It started with a statement from the LGBT+ community: “We are here, we are proud and we are staying. And make room for us.”

It turns out that people heard the news and made room.

“You opened up and said you’re absolutely right, there’s room in this world for you,” she said. “It’s quickly becoming a place for everyone to celebrate that this world is made up of so many colors. Diversity is everything and there is room for us and for you.”

Joy said that celebrating Pride allows people to show their true spirits in a safe place with people who trust and relate to them.

“We don’t always see that,” he said. “So I think it’s really important that we have these events.

He said that in small towns like Durango, it can be difficult for members of the LGBT+ community to find each other or even recognize that a community exists. Pride events are held to mitigate this problem.

The Durango Pride Parade moved from Fifth Street to Buckley Park on Main Avenue on Saturday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango Pride Parade began at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. It started on Fifth Street and made its way down Main Avenue to the annual Pride Festival in Buckley Park. The festival was supposed to start at 3:00 p.m., but before that the park was already filling up with visitors. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“We don’t have any gay bars here. If we were in Denver, it’s just, oh, we’ll just go to the gay bar,” Joy said. “We do not have that. These events are all the more important for us. And it’s a chance for everyone to celebrate who they are and be free and be themselves.”

Aluna Delrey from Farmington, made up and in an extravagant outfit, was scheduled to perform a drag show on the main stage at Buckley Park. They said they prefer the pronouns “he, she, or she” and were drawn to drag because of the transformation that art enables.

“The mysterious thing about it,” they said. “Sometimes you can transform your face into something completely different with a little bit of makeup. I become beautiful and at the same time I can express my art.”

Delrey said they attended their first Pride event in Durango and it’s been a while since they’ve performed in town, so they were looking forward to the afternoon.

“I’ve always loved the art of drag and performing,” they said. “I started about five years ago. It found me I’m really happy with what I do and it’s something I grew up doing.”

Delrey said they were part of a drag group in Farmington. The group performs to promote community there and wants to do more shows in Durango.

Karen Pontius, who campaigned for the Democratic Party at a booth in Buckley Park, said the Pride event created a “wonderful gathering”.

“When you come out and do a festival, it’s wonderful to see the community support. That’s why I’m here,” she said.

She said after the US Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade pulled the bottom out to protect abortion rights, other rights are now at risk: the right to marry who you love and the right to contraception, most notably the right to contraception.

“This is big business for everyone, not just the gay community,” she said.

Katie Stewart, a member of the Durango School District 9-R school board, also campaigned for Democratic incumbents and candidates on Saturday.

“Had you asked us 10 years ago if we thought the Supreme Court would support Roe v. Wade, we would say no that it was codified, that it was settled. Apparently it wasn’t,” she said. “So am I concerned about the rights of others and myself? Absolutely.”

[email protected]

The Durango Pride Parade began at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. It started on Fifth Street and made its way down Main Avenue to the annual Pride Festival in Buckley Park. The festival was supposed to start at 3:00 p.m., but before that the park was already filling up with visitors. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango Pride Parade and Festival is an opportunity for members of the LGBT-plus community to go out and meet while expressing themselves in a safe and welcoming environment, said Brian Joy, event organizer and Chair of the Four Corners Alliance for diversity (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

About Gloria Skelton

Check Also

Senior Expo offers information, fun

TEXARKANA, Texas–Hundreds of seniors gathered Friday morning to explore all that Townsquare Media’s 23rd annual …