Celebrating Inclusivity in West Michigan – GR Pride Festival

Rainbow triangles make up the Grand Rapids skyline while text reads, "Grand Rapids Pride Festival, June 17, 2017."

About the organization – Grand Rapids Pride Center:

The 29th annual Grand Rapids Pride Festival hosted by the Grand Rapids Pride Center (GRPC) is taking place this week and #Team834 is ecstatic to assist in the execution of this year’s festivities! In case you live under a rock and don’t know about the Grand Rapids Pride Center, they’re a pretty big deal.
In summary, GRPC was sanctioned in 1988 as The Lesbian Gay Community Network. Today, GRPC strives to empower West Michigan’s LGBTQ community through supportive services and awareness. The organization aims to be the center of a vibrant and inclusive community that supports all LGBTQ individuals. They host several support groups, community education and sensitivity trainings, and leadership and volunteer opportunities throughout the year as well.

About the event – Grand Rapids Pride Festival:

The Grand Rapids Pride Festival spans an entire week, and concludes with the Festival’s all-day concert on Saturday. Billy Gilman, star of The Voice, will be headlining the concert, which takes place from noon to midnight at Calder Plaza on Saturday, June 17.  Opening acts include Bonnie McKee, DJ Citizen Jane, Liptick Jodi, DJ Keller Shaw, Dymond Denae Rumors House Divas, and more. Admission to the event is $8. Event proceeds will go towards Grand Rapids Pride Center efforts to empower West Michigan’s LGBTQ community through supportive services and awareness.

“Pride Festival is our organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. The proceeds from the Festival allow our organization to offer year round support to the West Michigan community. Additionally, the purpose of Festival is to unite the West Michigan community, and provide awareness of our LGBTQ community through educational and inclusive events throughout the week’s festivities.”
-Mike Hemmingsen, Grand Rapids Pride Center Board President

The GRPC encourages the community to use promote the Grand Rapids Pride Festival by using the hashtag “#OneGR” on social media. Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available.

Let’s break it down:

Pulse Nightclub Candlelight Vigil
Monday, June 12 from 9 to 9:30 p.m. at The Apartment Lounge located at 33 Sheldon Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49503
The local LGBTQ community held a candlelight vigil to remember the 49 individuals killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The shooting took place at Pulse, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The vigil included remarks about standing together, checking in with each other, and supporting one another. It also included the reading of names for the 49 victims, and a moment of silence. $1,000 was raised for the Orlando community.
Family and Children Story Time
Tuesday, June 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Books & Mortar Bookstore located at 955 Cherry St., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49506.
Local bookstore, Books & Mortar, will host a family story time at their Eastown location. Bring your children to this event for an educational experience centered around inclusivity and acceptance within the West Michigan community.
Celebrating Pride Month with Speak EZ & Circle Theatre
Tuesday, June 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Speak EZ Lounge located at 600 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49503.
SpeakEZ Lounge, the Grand Rapids Pride Center, and Grand Rapids Circle Theatre are partnering for a special event! There will be a hat passed for donations (proceeds to be split between Circle Theatre and Pride Center) and everyone making a donation will be entered into a free drawing for SpeakEZ gift cards, Circle Theatre tickets and Pride Festival events! The evening will include a feature performance by cast members of the Circle Theatre Summer Concert Series, “Ladies Night: Legendary Divas.” Guests can also enjoy one of three unique SpeakEZ Pride Cocktails that are offered throughout the month of June, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Pride Center.
Pride Fundraiser at Garage Bar
Wednesday, June 14 from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Garage Bar & Grill located at 819 Ottawa Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49503.
Enjoy drinks, food, and entertainment by live, local musicians. Beginning at 5 p.m., 15% of all food proceeds will go to the Pride Center!
3rd Annual White Party
Friday, June 16 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Rumors Night Club located at 69 Division Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49503.
Kick off the weekend with a night of fun, music, and dancing at Rumors Night Club! People ages +18 are encouraged to dress in your favorite white attire. All tickets will be sold at door. Entry-fee for 18-20 years is $20 and +21 years is $10.
3rd Annual Pre-Pride Rally: Hand-in-Hand
Hosted by David Watt on Saturday, June 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Ah-Nah-Awen Park located at 220 Front Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49504.
Families are encouraged to attend the Pride Festival “pre-party,” hosted by David Watt of Mr Friendly and special guests. The event will conclude with a symbolic march.
29th Annual Grand Rapids Pride Festival
Saturday, June 17 from noon to midnight at Calder Plaza located at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, Mich., 49503.
Details listed above.

“We are thankful for the support we’ve received from the West Michigan community, and are excited for this year’s jam-packed lineup of events. We encourage people of all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientation to join us at this year’s Festival.”
Mike Hemmingsen

For more information on the 29th annual Grand Rapids Pride Festival, or to purchase event tickets, visit: grpride.org/fest. For more information on the Grand Rapids Pride Center, visit: grpride.org.

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