Pridefest2017

Neil+Flavin

Neil Flavin

Jamie Glenn

LGBTQ+ and allies celebrate one another and the community they share.

From live music, entertainment and free admission to an array of food and gift vendors to peruse, the Upper Peninsula Rainbow Pride held its fourth annual U.P. Pride Fest from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Marquette Tourist Park Campground.

“I think it’s really important that we all come together as one,” said Samantha Hubberd, a member of the U.P. Rainbow Pride Board of Directors for over three years and one of the event’s lead organizers.

Neil Flavin

“There should be no hate. Whether it’s age, sex, religion, we should all love each other. Some of the things that have been going on have really been disappointing people who aren’t happy, so we’re hoping to change a lot of those things for the better.”

The fun kicked off at the Marquette Commons as students and community members gathered for a 30-minute solidarity rally. City Commissioner Sara Cambensy spoke to kick off the day’s events, then the momentum continued as the group walked to Tourist Park together.

Pride Fest is a chance for students and community members to come together and celebrate one another. In the spirit of this, attendees of the festival this year enjoyed live music and games until the Drag Show at 8 p.m.

“This festival I think is important for all people of all genders to be able to come out and have a celebration to feel comfortable,” Hubbard explained. “People can come to this event and show their pride and feel comfortable, and it’s a great time.”


Kat Torreano

It was a goal for the seven board members to make Pride Fest a larger event to add to the celebration. By doing so, they were able to offer a larger number of shopping and vending outlets that offered a variety of clothing items to festival-goers. Likewise, folks enjoyed food trucks from around the area selling their appetizing eats.


“This year I feel like we worked harder and have a lot more vendors. We’ve had a lot of publicity with the newscast and the newspaper. We have some awesome entertainment,” Hubbard said.

Various events have been held throughout the calendar year in an effort to raise money for Pride Fest. Events have included drag bingo, a pride dance and a potluck.

“The last one was a pride dance out at the ski hill, which was pretty fun. We’re getting a lot of businesses that are very friendly and very open and welcome to donating stuff. We get lots of awesome donations from businesses; we use that to raffle off, and all the money goes for the Pride Fest here,” Hubbard said.


Some people, like freshman nursing major Cassie Anderson, attended the festival for the first time and was impressed.

“I love it honestly. This is my first pride ever, I really wanted to go to one. I’m really glad that I could do it with friends from school,” Anderson exclaimed. “I’m a really big LGBTQ+ activist. I’m really passionate about [LGBTQ+] rights.”

Anderson helped run the tent for Queers and Allies, one of the LGBTQ+ support clubs on campus.


For junior English graduate bound major Aubrey Owens, returning to the festival for a second time, she noticed how it has expanded and evolved in recent years.

“I’ve gone for a few years. I didn’t go last year but I went the year before,” Owens said. “There’s a lot more vendors, a lot more people. It’s definitely grown up a lot. To be honest, I’m kind of interested in what the gay games are, it sounds fun, I’m curious and kind of excited.”

Local community member Janeen Rastall has been a regular Pride Fest attendee, every year.


“I think they’re fun every year, every year is unique and different. And this year we’ve got beautiful weather. I like all the different booths and seeing all of the different groups that are here. I like seeing the community together. And also, the entertainment in the evening is just a lot of fun,” Rastall said.

The drag show at the end of the night is an event that many attendees looked forward to. As the day progressed, visitors waited with anticipation. The drag show was held under the large tented area at the park, complete with music and dance coming from local queens and kings from around the area.

“The drag show, which is wonderful, the other thing we also enjoy are the food trucks, we love the taco truck—I don’t have to cook,” Rastall said with a laugh. “It’s a good location and a fun day to come out and just enjoy.”