Pride festival returns to Aberdeen for 3rd year

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 5:10 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Pride is returning to Aberdeen, but with more sponsors and some event changes.

Aberdeen Area Pride organizers say the amount of sponsors of Aberdeen Pride, which takes place June 2-4, has more than doubled.

”Our sponsor list grew from three sponsors last year to like eight or nine this year. So, we have seen a significant increase of support, not just from individual people, but also from local businesses and local organizations,” said John Schwab, Aberdeen Area Pride Director.

Schwab says the organization itself has grown more as well, especially in awareness in the community.

This year, events like the solidarity walk will return, but with a new theme.

”We’re going to be doing another solidarity walk, but this time, our theme is going to be talking about the history of LGBTQ individuals, and what their legacy was to the world we live in today,” said Schwab.

Three drag performances will also be the center of entertainment. On Saturday, an all-ages drag story time will be held at the Red Rooster Coffee House, and a 21+ drag show will take place at City Lights for the first time that night.

”They will, ultimately, be getting the same idea of what a drag performance is and how that contributes to our culture. Obviously, the one that is 21 and up will be geared more toward adults, and the all ages one will be more geared toward age-appropriate audiences,” said Schwab.

The Red Rooster will also be hosting a drag brunch Sunday morning. Dixy Divine will be the emcee of all three events for the third year.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, who performs as Dixy Divine, is from a small town in Nebraska, but said Aberdeen’s Pride reminds them of home. Despite any criticism surrounding drag performers, Fitzgibbon said drag brings out the best in the LGBTQ+ community, and is an example of representation and inclusivity.

”Our agenda is to have a good time. That’s the only agenda we have, but it’s a way for me to be able to go into a community and let them know that there are people there for them. That’s a big part of why I go and do what I do,” said Fitzgibbon.

Schwab agreed.

“In this day and age, we see increasing support of people being able to express their true, authentic selves. That’s what I want to promote at Aberdeen Area Pride, that anyone can be who they are. Drag is just one aspect of what that might look like for someone,” said Schwab.

Schwab said any negativity they see toward Aberdeen Area Pride is drowned out by support.

”We have faced some backlash through some of the events that we have, but through that, we have seen so many more people outweigh the negativity and just pour out their support to us,” said Schwab.

Schwab said they would like to see that support during the festivities this weekend.

“All of our events are open to the whole public, including people who don’t identify in the LGBTQ community. We think it’s really important for people who don’t identify in that community, but are still supportive of us, to show up to these events because it’s really important for our community to see that support,” said Schwab.

A full list of events during the Aberdeen Area Pride festival and tickets can be found here.