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Sandpoint will get a larger Pride Festival

Staff Writer | July 7, 2022 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT – While it will be a larger event this year, Sandpoint Pride Festival will still feature some familiar faces and exciting changes. The event is set to be held Saturday, July 16, and will return to the same location of the Granary District.

Held between Matchwood brewing and Evans Brothers Coffee, last year's event was the first in Sandpoint history. It played host to over 1,000 visitors and 15 booths, featuring various businesses and organizations. All of which is why last year’s event was a complete success, PFLAG president Jeff Bohnof said. He hopes for the same this year.

“It definitely exceeded my expectations,” Bohnof said.

Although last year was a success, Bohnof said it came with its challenges — primarily finding sponsors and getting the community involved. However, due to some of those challenges, Bohnof said planning the event for this year has been much easier. One of those lessons saw the planning committee split off into three separate committees to handle food, vendors, and activities.

The event will be larger and features more vendors. It also is welcoming sponsors. Bohnof said many, if not all, of the vendors that attended last year, are returning, including the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, which had an advocacy booth at the inaugural event.

This year, BCHRTF is expanding its involvement in the event in honor of its 30th anniversary, which is one of the many new additions to this year's festival. The anniversary celebration will be a “sister event” to Pride, said Brenda Hammond, BCHRTF co-president, and will be held the night before in the same location between Matchwood brewing and Evans Brothers Coffee, in the city’s Granary District.

“We decided to have our event right next door to the Pride event to show support. Last year, we had an advocacy booth there, so it just made sense to partner with them,” Hammond said.

In an effort to get local youth involved, Bohnof said another new addition will see three students from Sandpoint High School getting involved by volunteering to assist with emcee duties and sound.

“Hopefully, we get, you know, more of those kids involved,” Bohnof said.

The festival will also host returning drag performers from Queen B drag show and DJ Coral who will DJ the entire Pride event on Saturday and the dance party that evening.

With the growth of the event, Bohnof said he hopes to see Pride become its own non-profit that will not only host the “crown jewel” event but other events throughout the year. Bohnof said he is confident this could happen within three to five years and the event has someone marked to lead it. The ultimate goal Bohnof said would be to work with PFLAG to provide support to the LGBTQIA+ community of Sandpoint.

Both the Pride event and the BCHRTF 30th will be held in the Granary District of Sandpoint between Matchwood Brewing and Evans Brothers Coffee, both of whom are again sponsoring the event. The 30th-anniversary celebration will take place Friday, July 15, from 4-9 p.m. The official Sandpoint Pride Festival will be held Saturday, July 16, 2-10 p.m.


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