Great Lakes Bay Pride has been a fixture in the region for many years and the 2018 Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 30th
, with events at multiple locations across the region. We sat down with Scott Ellis, Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival Event Coordinator and Vice President of Perceptions a regional LGBTQ group to discuss what was in store for this year and his favorite part about hosting the event.
Q: This is the 8th anniversary of the festival, can you tell us a bit about how the event has evolved over the years?
A: It started in Saginaw in 2010 and the group that coordinated reaching out to Perceptions in 2015 for coordination help and reinvigorating the event. Perceptions then took over the event starting in 2016, simultaneously moving it to Bay City in 2016 to gain a bit broader regional visibility. This year, 2018 marks our third year hosting the main festival in Bay City.
Q: What kinds of events can we expect to see?
A: It’s a packed day of activities for everyone! The festival runs from noon to 4:00 in Wenonah Park in Downtown Bay City. The official happy hour for the 2018 Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival is at The Public House in Bay City from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Then at night, Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival is hosting an Afterparty Drag Show at the Red Room at The Dow Event Center in Downtown Saginaw. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. and the show starts at 9:00. Admission is open to anyone 18 years of age and up and there is only a $10 cover charge.
Q: What is your favorite part of the event/day?
A: One of my favorite parts of the event each year is seeing all of the people who come out and show their support. It is really a diverse group of people and the main event is very family-friendly! We get both volunteers and supporters from Bay City, Midland, Saginaw and beyond. It is a very friendly and accepting atmosphere and over the last two years that I’ve been involved and it is one of the things that I have enjoyed the most.
Q: Can you give us more information about the Ambassador program?
A: Yes, we have a great ambassador program and aim to have it advance our mission through a grassroots sharing of LGBTQ information and resources through our Ambassadors’ personal networks. Those who want to get involved can sign up and will get put on our email list. We encourage people to sign up and share at their leisure with anything that resignations with them. It is a really great way to be involved without having a huge time commitment.
Q: What are some new vendors/events/etc this year?
A: The event will have several retail and resource vendors to explore and several community organizations will be around for additional information. There will also be student artists work from several universities throughout the region invited to sell their artwork at the event including Delta, Northwood, CMU and SVSU.
Q: How many people are you expecting for this year's event?
A: Last year we had about 1,000 people and we are hoping to be over that mark this year!
Q: What are some other events that Great Lakes Bay Pride has throughout the year?
A: Perceptions as an organization is an advocacy, networking and support organization and we have several other events to get involved with. Notably we have a transgender support group meeting on a monthly schedule, the Great Lakes Bay Pride Awards that honor advocates, allies and businesses in the region for their LQBTQ involvement. We also host the Annual Holiday Gala in December each year, which we are finalizing details on as well as several other special events throughout the year.
Q: How else can people get involved with GLB Pride?
A: We have volunteer opportunities at the event for people looking to help out and also with Perceptions that people can sign up for more information on upcoming events and initiatives.
You can also connect with us on our website at www.greatlakesbaypride.org
or follow us on social media: