June is recognized as Pride Month, a time when people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and racial identities have a safe place to celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride. Watershed Voice has compiled a list of resources for local, summer Pride events for Southwest Michigan.
Kalamazoo Pride (June 2 and June 3)
According to the event website, Kalamazoo Pride brings together an estimated 8,000 people of all ages each year. The two-day festival at Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place will feature drag performances, music, exhibitors, food, dancing, and more. Tickets at the door are $8 per day, $15 for a two-day pass, and 12 and under are free. The Mx / Miss / Mr Kalamazoo Pride Pageant event will begin at 8 p.m. on June 2. On June 3 Health and Community Services will be offering MPOX and COVID Vaccines at Kalamazoo Pride from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“Pride Month” at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School with Preston Mitchum (June 5, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.)
The event’s website states, “Keynote speaker Preston Mitchum is a Black queer attorney, advocate, activist. He is the founder & principal of PDM Consulting, a multi-purpose consulting firm focused on the power of black people, LGBTQ+ people, and young people. Mitchum has been featured in Washington Post, BET, MTV, The Root, The Grio, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The Guardian, and others. He has earned many accolades including being named Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Inaugural 40 Under 40, a Rockwood Fellow for Leaders in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, and was voted DC LGBTQ’s ‘Most Committed Activist’ by the Washington Blade in 2021.”
Middleville Pride (June 10)
The first annual Middleville Pride Festival will take place on June 10 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. According to the event website, “We’re starting small and hoping y’all absolutely blow our expectations out of the water. We’ll have some artsy activities for the whole family, some entertainment, some informational booths, and maybe even some free swag, as well as a donation station for the Trevor Project.”
Grand Rapids Pride (June 17)
Grand Rapids will hold its 35th annual Pride celebration, themed “Unapologetically Me.” The festival, one of the largest one-day events held in Grand Rapids each year, will offer over 100 vendors, a beer garden, entertainment on multiple stages, family and children’s activities, food trucks, local artists, a sensory space and teen/youth activities. The event will run from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Calder Plaza (320 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids). Entertainment lineup and festival schedule are to be determined. More information can be found on the event webpage.
Three Rivers Pride (June 24)
The very first annual Three Rivers Pride Festival in downtown Three Rivers will take place June 24 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will feature live music, DJs, food, vendors, games, and more. The Kittens will take the stage at the Riviera Theatre and Bar from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and, according to the event website, are renowned for their dynamic performances that blend comedy, live singing, celebrity impersonations, and most of all, heart. Tickets are on sale now for $15 and are available on the Three Rivers Pride website.
Benton Harbor PrideFest (June 24 and June 29)
Last year Benton Harbor welcomed over 700 people to the downtown area to celebrate Pride. This year’s PrideFest will run from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 24 — twice as long as last year’s event. OutCenter, a funded partner of United Way of Southwest Michigan, will celebrate Pride month with a performance by Kimberly Summer along with a cast of Chicago-based Drag Queens. The show will be held at The Livery (190 5th St.) at 7 p.m. and seating is first come, first serve. More information can be found on the event’s website.
Battle Creek Pride (July 20)
Battle Creek Pride’s four-day event features an LGBT Q&A on July 20 (6:30 p.m. at Miller Stone Building), a Pride parade on July 21 (7 p.m), a festival on July 22 from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Leila Arboretum, and a candlelight vigil on July 23. More information is available on the event’s website.
Allegan Out Loud (August 4)
Allegan’s second annual Pride festival, Allegan Out Loud, will feature an adults-only drag show on August 4 at Griswold Auditorium (401 Hubbard St.) and a festival on August 5 offering food, vendors, music, a drag queen story time, and an all-ages drag show at Riverfront Plaza in Downtown Allegan.
Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.