Arts & Entertainment Community

Sunshine and good times expected for first Pride in the Park

Posted on June 20th, 2023 By:

The first Pride festival in recent memory in Gig Harbor came together quickly. 

Jennifer Day, chair of the Pride in the Park event, and others organized the event in just a couple months after realizing the area hasn’t traditionally done much to celebrate Pride Month.  

“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” Day said. 

Pride in the Park

Pride in the Park is from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Skansie Brothers Park in Gig Harbor. The family-friendly event will include food and vendors, music, advocacy booths and more. 

It’s the centerpiece of a stepped-up local Pride celebration. Earlier on Saturday, a cross-Narrows parade is planned. Bridging the Narrows starts at 8:30 a.m. Participants will meet at the Narrows Bridge trailhead to walk across the bridge and back. 

Pride celebrations haven’t always been prominent in Gig Harbor. Last year, the City Council officially recognized June as Pride Month and two council members handed out Pride flags in Skansie Park on a Friday afternoon. About 15 people participated in the fledgling Bridging the Narrows march.

The spirit of Pride

Madeline Hunter, who is helping organize the celebration, told the City Council on June 12 that Pride in the Park will be “a celebration of the beautifully diverse tapestry of humanity. It is a celebration of individuality and self-expression.”

The celebration launches in the midst of a year in which LGBTQ people have felt an increase in hostility from some politicians and social-media influencers. State legislatures across the country considered at least 417 laws targeting LGBTQ rights in 2023, according to the ACLU.

“That is definitely a driving force at this point,” in creating Pride in the Park, Day said. “Definitely, making sure that we accept and diversify Gig Harbor. I’ve had a lot of people say they’re excited about this.” 

Positivity and fun

Above all, organizers want the day to be fun. It won’t hurt that the weather forecast is for “perfect:” Mostly sunny with highs in the mid-70s. 

Day emphasized that the celebration will be for everyone, contrary to some rumors she’s heard. 

“We are really trying to build a positive day,” she said. “We’re not going to do inappropriate costumes or signage. We’re trying to keep it really positive and family-friendly” 

Hunter’s French Toast Theater will present a Kids Corner, with a bubble party, puppet show, games and crafts. Ethereal Arts NW’s acrobatics crew will perform. There will even be a Free Mom Hugs group. 

Music from live bands and DJs will fill the air. Drag performers will belt out Disney tunes, including “Let it Go” from “Frozen.” Food trucks will be on hand to provide hot dogs, coffee, snacks and more. 

“It’s just going to be a really hopeful, sunshine-y day,” Day said.