Hardywood and Virginia Pride to host event this weekend honoring 1 year of Marriage Equality
It’s been just shy a year since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality across the country. And in that year a number of things have played out – bathroom bills, religious freedom legislation, the attack in Orlando and one of the most dramatic presidential primaries in US history.
But the folks at Virginia Pride are hoping to get back to the positive vibes from last June’s decision with a little help from one of RVA’s best known craft breweries.
In addition to the annual Pridefest event September 24th at Brown’s Island, Virginia Pride has banded together with Hardywood Craft Brewery to create Love on TAP: A Benefit for Virginia Pride. It happens this Sunday, 6/26 from 2-6PM, and aims to give the local LGBTQ community a chance to honor not only Stonewall in line with Pride Month nationally, but also the one year anniversary of marriage equality and continued support for those lost in the tragedy in Orlando last week.
It all started with a conversation at the local gay bar Barcode. Hardywood Marketing Manager Matt Shofner ran into VA Pride Board Member Maureen Scott about how the craft beer community could work with the LGBTQ group.
“It occurred to me June is Pride month nationally, and we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of marriage equality, so why don’t we look at that date as a chance to celebrate Pride at Hardywood,” Shofner said. Scott and Shofner continued the conversation and the event was born out of that meeting.
“We wanted to work more close with the local craft brewing community because its a tight knit group and we wanted to bring as many people into the fold of Pride as we can,” said James Millner, President of Virginia Pride. ”Working with a group like the craft beer community, that already works together and is supportive of each other, it made a lot of sense.”
And the craft beer community itself has some interesting parallels to the LGBTQ community. While separate businesses, there’s a mutually beneficial reason to work together – a rising tide lifts all ships as it were – so when and individual craft brewery scores a win, so do the rest.
“Everyone is unique and different but we all share a common ground. We want to be succesful, we want to be respectful, nurtured and encouraged,” said Millner, comparing the two entities. “The opportunity to bring people together and unite them in the things that they have a common interest in, whether its LGBTQ activism or beer – and beer is something that brings people together.”
And no matter your preferences or place on the spectrum, Millner is excited to work with Hardywood to promote the cause.
“People might come because they love beer and they might learn something about the LGBTQ community,” he said. “And that’s a win-win for everybody.”
The day’s events include a number of performances from LGBTQ-affiliated musicians including Shofner’s own project, Trunk Show Band (seen below), which has built a reputation for its ‘Cover to Cover’ series performing cover versions of entire albums.
Shofner said he and his band mates are breaking from their single album-trend to offer a “love-focused” mix tape for this performance with tracks from Fleetwood Mac to Simon and Garfunkel.
Other performances include Richmond’s own My Darling Fury and Toxic Moxie offering a diverse mix of sounds to compliment the diverse crowd.
“Hardywood has created a platform for every member of the Richmond community,” said Kerry Anderson, Hospitality Director for Hardywood. “It’s exciting to give a big day to the LGBT community here, but also showcase that community for people who are less familiar with it.”
Your chance to celebrate this momentous year happens this Sunday at Hardywood Craft Brewery Park, 2408 Ownby Ln, from 2 – 6 PM. Find out more details via Facebook here.
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