Inaugural Macomb County Pride Festival opens this weekend in downtown Mt. Clemens

When we first announced the inaugural Macomb County Pride festival this past July, details were scarce. It’s not easy planning a brand new festival — let alone over the past year-and-half.

As Macomb County Pride founding president Phil Gilchrist said at the time, “After COVID-19 changed our plans to launch this new event in 2020, we are especially looking forward to celebrating Pride with our community in October.”

Well, wait no more. The first-ever Macomb County Pride festival is scheduled for this weekend, taking place Friday, Oct. 15, through Sunday, Oct. 17, in downtown Mt. Clemens.

On Friday, Oct. 15, a Pride Pub Crawl invites the public to join the party at participating downtown bars and restaurants, a list that includes Little Lorraine’s, Gumbo’s, Abbibo, Orleans, Cellar 104, O’Halloran’s, Bath City Bistro, Your Mother’s, Madison’s Pub, and Three Blind Mice. The Pride Pub Crawl, free and open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. and goes until closing time.

On Saturday, Oct. 16, a family-friendly street festival will shut down city streets from noon until 6:30 p.m. Vendors will line the streets of Macomb Place, Walnut, and Pine, including artists, makers, bakers, and more. Mt. Clemens Public Library is sponsoring a Drag Queen Storytime event. Also planned is a children’s activities area, Spirit of Pride History Walk, DJs and dance floors, and more.

A who’s who of local officials will celebrate the day at the Main Stage on Saturday, including appearances from Mt. Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Congressman Andy Levin, and Macomb County Pride Board Member and founder of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rachel Crandall-Crocker.

Saturday’s performances on the main stage include sets from Michelle Elizabeth Brown, Sing Out Detroit, Mae James, Alise King, Kelly Zullo, James Taylor, Jr., and Nikki Holland and the Dirty Elizabeths, as well as drag performances hosted by Crystal Harding.

The weekend-long festival wraps up on Sunday, Oct. 17, with a Drag Brunch at Gumbo’s. Tickets for the event, which is recommended for adults and goes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., cost $38 and are available online.

Visit Macomb County Pride online for a full run-down of events.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.