OBX Pridefest Kicks Off This Week
Dame Edna at the 2011 OBX Pridefest. Photo courtesy OBX Pridefest.
The second annual OBX Pridefest will be held June 13-17, and after the deduction of OBX Pride’s total expenditure, all profits will be donated to a local, non-profit HIV-AIDS assistance organization- Brandon’s Beacon of Hope.
David Miller and his friend Cory in 2009 created a small business called TheGayOBX.com, where the organization provided summer gay nights for the Outer Banks community at Kelly’s Restaurant on the third Sunday of every month.
The shows served as a platform for top notch performers, such as Randy Roberts, who is originally from Virginia Beach, VA, but works in Provincetown, Mass.
While the shows were well-received by attendees, they were not profitable. “…We decided we needed to make the tourists aware and at the same time give something back to our community, so we and 5 other friends formed a nonprofit, OBX Pride, Inc,” said Miller, co-founder and treasurer of OBX Pridefest.
OBX Pride was formed in January 2011, and successfully produced the first gay pride festival in Northeastern North Carolina that same year. It was estimated that 1,500 individuals attended in June.
Last year’s Pridefest was sponsored by over forty businesses. This year, Miller and his team have faced challenges of building the same level of sponsorship, but is hopeful since the organization gained non-profit status in February, momentum will continue to build for larger corporate sponsors.
”We’ve gotten a lot more local help…but we need to sell-out of our nighttime events…” Miller said. “I’m pretty confident we’re going to make some money this year to give to the HIV organization.”
OBX Pride, Inc. is counting on the LGBT and gay-friendly community to support the festival and Brandon’s Beacon of Hope.
“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” said Miller.
The theme of OBX Pridefest this year is “Pride & Joy on the Beach.”
Like last year, OBX Pridefest attempts to attract not only LGBT tourists and locals, but encourages the involvement of all faces of the gay-friendly community.
There will be a “kids zone” for entertainment, including carnival dunking booths, arts and crafts and various games. The teenage population will have the opportunity to participate in Teen Karaoke Disco sponsored by Gay/Straight Alliance, where two surrounding churches, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Kitty Hawk and the All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores, will be providing chaperones to regulate the no drinking policy and pass out locally donated pizza. Gay/straight Alliance is a group that was formed at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, which consists of gay and bisexual teens, their straight friends and supporters at their high school.
“The support of the two churches has been tremendous. They have been at every planning meeting from the beginning and they have stepped up and taken responsibility for numerous committees and will sponsor and chaperone our teen event, The Gay/Straight Alliance Teen Karaoke Disco. The key to the success of this event will be the joining of local LGBT high school students with their straight friends and supporters. We are hoping this event will prevent a teen suicide or teen bullying…” said Miller.
There will be various nonprofit and local arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and entertainment including DJs, drag, impersonators, and other performers.
“[We are] keeping all activities of OBX Pridefest in a central location where folks can park their cars all weekend and not drink and drive,” Miller said.
For a full schedule of OBX Pridefest events, visit OBX, http://www.obxpridefest.com/.
Rachel Williams is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University with a calling to be a voice to the voiceless; and passion is to bring gender equality and ethnic justice to the forefront of RVA.
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