With limits on social gatherings, the Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival is now being celebrated at home

Organizers estimate that last year’s Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival and after-party drew more than 500 people to Downtown Saginaw, the event giving members of the region’s LGBTQ+ community the chance to both advocate for and celebrate being themselves.

Given the social distancing efforts put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, this year’s Pride Festival is set to look a little bit different.

Perceptions, the group that organizes the Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival, has instead launched Celebrating Pride at Home. The festival celebrates Pride Month in Bay, Midland, Isabella, and Saginaw counties.

Rather than gathering the community in one place for a festival and party, this year’s Pride Festival will be celebrated all month long and throughout the neighborhoods.

"We need to honor and celebrate Pride Month and what it stands for. With everything going on with COVID and the flooding and racial inequities, it reminds us that the whole reason we celebrate Pride Month is that it commemorates the Stonewall Riots. This year is the 51st anniversary," says Scott Ellis, executive director for Perceptions.

"Pride Month is still happening. We felt it our duty to offer something in lieu of the traditional gatherings."

A yard sign campaign will offer free yard signs promoting Celebrating Pride at Home. Scheduled pick-up locations will soon be announced in Bay City, Midland, Mount Pleasant, and Saginaw.

In partnership with Hidden Harvest and St. John’s Episcopal Church of Midland, Great Lakes Bay Pride will be holding a food collection drive on June 20. Free yard signs will also be available for pick-up then.

An indoor and outdoor decorating contest will be held, encouraging participants to decorate their homes with Pride themes. A random drawing will be held and the winner will receive a Celebrating Pride at Home gift bag.

Additional activities may yet still be announced.

"We can still show pride at home and in our neighborhoods," Ellis says.

"We want to demonstrate that the Great Lakes Bay region is welcoming and inclusive of everyone that lives here and everyone that is thinking about moving here."

For up-to-date information on Celebrating Pride at Home and its associated events, visit Great Lakes Bay Pride online.

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