MICHIGAN CITY — While organizing the inaugural Michigan City Pride Fest last year, planning committee members were hoping for a turnout of about 400 people.
Instead, they got more than 2,000 – on one of the hottest days of the year.
“It showed us how supportive the community is and how much people cared,” said planning committee chair Daisy Lee. “It showed people were very excited that Michigan City, Indiana – of all places – was having a pride event.”
So when they began planning this year’s event, they decided to do something bigger and better. On Saturday, the Michigan City Pride Fest returns – with more vendors, more entertainment and more space – at the Guy Foreman Amphitheater in Washington Park, 115 Lake Shore Drive.
From 1-9 p.m. Pride Fest will include a full line up of entertainment, with multiple musical performers hitting the stage throughout the day. There will also be food and drinks provided by Smokey G’s BBQ, Wana Pizza, Blue Chip, Burn’Em Brewing, Lulu’s Licks and Kona Ice; as well as kids’ activities, a live Zumba class and a drag show to close out the festivities.
The event is family friendly and admission is free.
Lee said PFLAG Michigan City, the organizers of last year’s event, have teamed up with the Northwest Indiana Gay Straight Coalition this time to offer even more.
“It’s been a great partnership,” she said. “They (Gay Straight Coalition) bring a lot of planning expertise to the committee and they have an extensive network for getting the word out and fundraising, which has been very helpful.”
According to a PFLAG statement, many non-profit vendors will be involved this year – offering insight and educational materials on topics such as health screenings, mental health awareness, and suicide prevention.
Last year’s Pride Fest took place around the You Are Beautiful sign near City Hall. While the location offered ample space, it didn’t provide the amenities of the amphitheater.
“So lots of upgrades (this year),” Lee said. “There’s shade – that’s a big one in case it’s very hot again. We have a larger space for performers. We have plenty of seating, plenty of room for our vendors. Last year there were 19 community booths and this year we have 35. We also have a larger kids area.”
Lee, a teacher at Krueger Middle School, will be bringing the school’s Diversity Club, along with the Michigan City High School LGBTQ Club, to operate the kid zone. It will feature a 20-by-20-foot Twister game, cotton candy machine, and other games and prizes for kids and families.
There will also be a 6-foot-tall T-Rex squirting water out of his nostrils and a unicorn squirting water out of his horn to help keep attendees cool.
The committee’s mission is to celebrate diversity in Michigan City, to foster fellowship, and to “unite the community to continue toward equality through support, education and advocacy.” Lee said.
“A lot of the people in the area said they never thought Michigan City would be a place to host something like that,” she said. “It really shows the love and acceptance and support Michigan City and the surrounding community has for the LGBTQ communities.”
MC PRIDE FEST STAGE LINEUP:
1 p.m. - Dennis Brittain
1:30 p.m. - Blastcap
2 p.m. - Married Life Maggie & Brian Gowan
2:30 p.m. - Dream Eels
3:20 p.m. - Jes Kramer
4:10 p.m. - Zha Zha
4:45 p.m. - Sick Day
5:30 p.m. - Zumba
6:10 p.m. - Mother Nature
6:50 p.m. - Real Dom
7 p.m. - Welcome To The Other Side