HUNTINGTON — Three years ago Huntington Pride was a potluck picnic at the Ritter Park picnic shelter hosted by the city, and before that, LGBTQ Huntingtonians had to commute elsewhere to find a community celebration for Pride Month.
The inaugural Huntington Pride celebration, which will include the city's very first Huntington Pride Festival, will descend upon the Jewel City throughout the last weeks of June, with 10 events, which began Thursday, June 20, and is lasting until June 30.
The 2019 Miss Huntington Pride candidates and judges participated in a meet and greet Thursday evening at Evolve during the "Fashion Lovers Social," hosted in cooperation with VC Boutique. Attendees could also participate in a makeup workshop with Miss Gay Icon and Miss Huntington Pride. Proceeds from the event went to Huntington Pride.
On Saturday, June 22, the mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Committee will host the third annual Huntington Pride Picnic from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 22, at the new picnic shelter at Ritter Park.
The picnic, which is free to attend, will feature family-friendly entertainment and a cookout-style buffet lasting until the food runs out. The event is co-sponsored by the President's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Marshall University and Cabell Huntington Hospital.
Also on Saturday at First Congregational UCC, located at 701 5th Ave. in Huntington, is hosting two nights of films. At 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22, there will be a screening of a film "Southern Baptist Sissies," a film of the theatrical experience of writer/director Del Shores' GLAAD Award-winning play about four gay boys growing up in the Southern Baptist church. The film stars Willam Belli from "RuPaul's Drag Race," Leslie Jordan from "Will & Grace" and others.
At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 23, First Congregational will screen the 2010 documentary "Stonewall Uprising," about the events surrounding the Stonewall riots that began during the early hours of June 28, 1969.The film was produced and directed by the documentary makers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, and is based on the book by the historian David Carter, "Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution."
Tuesday, June 25, Alias 14 W, the new community gallery and music venue at 720 14th Street West is hosting an exhibit "The Discourse of Different," Huntington Pride Art Night. There is an opening reception from 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 that is free and open to the public. "The Discourse of 'Different'" will include performances from local artists and a discussion on our community and the feelings of being "different" in the narrative of our society.
Local drag queens Jade C. LaFontayne and Giselle Dior will read books and do activities with children during Drag Queen Story Time at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at The Inner Geek. The queens will read from the children's books "George" by Alex Gino and "Sewing the Rainbow" by Gayle E. Pitman. Admission is free and there will be snacks.
Later that evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at Heritage Station, Coming Out Monologues will feature a panel of six individuals from diverse backgrounds will tell their coming out stories, moderated by Huntington Pride organizer Jacqui Lewis.
Jade C. LaFontayne will pass her crown to the next Miss Huntington Pride at the Miss Huntington Pride pageant, which begins at 8 p.m. Friday, June 28 at CoWorks, 1000 5th Ave. Presale tickets are available on the event's Facebook page for $10, or will be available for $15 at the door.
Also at 8 p.m. on Friday is another community movie night at First Congregational UCC. "Wild Nights with Emily," a biopic about writer Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon) directed by Madeleine Olnek, will have its exclusive premiere to celebrate Huntington Pride.
The main shindig will rage on from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 29 in the 900 block of 4th Avenue in front of the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center. Live music and drag performances will take place on a stage beneath the Keith Albee marquee, and there will be vendors and other activities on the street.
It all ends on Sunday with a hash run beginning at the Peddler at 1 p.m., an activity for "drinkers with a running problem," as the Facebook event page states. The activity is a drinking game, a scavenger hunt and a run, in that order of importance. Warning: you will get drunk. This is a 21-and-up event and has adult themes and language. Rainbow costumes and flair are encouraged. There is a $5 entry fee for members of the Mountain Mama Hash House Harriers, and for first-timers there isn't an entry fee. Participants must carry their identification throughout the entirety of the run.
The hash run will end at 4 p.m. at Black Sheep Burrito for a late-day Drag Me to Brunch to tie up the entirety of Pride Month. You do not have to participate in the hash run to come to Drag Me to Brunch.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD. Reporter Dave Lavender contributed to this report.