Friday, July 19, 2024

Sandpoint Pride offers voice, celebration of all

Staff Writer | July 10, 2024 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Community and a voice.

Everyone deserves to have both, Sandpoint Pride chair Andrea Marcoccio said of why the group picked "Queering Democracy" to emphasize the need for politics of respect and empathy.

An expanded list of events — from a community conversation on Friday to a family-friendly downtown bike ride Saturday to the main Sandpoint Pride event — offers something for everyone, Marcoccio said.

Since its 2021 start, the event attracts several thousand people each year to the various events, which aim to affirms the dignity and quality of all in the LGBTQI2S community.

"The innate qualities of Queer Spirit whether gay, lesbian, bi, trans, Two-Spirit, or gender nonconforming are courage, joyfulness, creativity, and resilience," Sandpoint Pride officials said on the group's website about the theme, "queering democracy for politics of respect and empathy."

Through events such as Sandpoint Pride, Marcoccio and group members said everyone benefits through the respectful dialogue, testimony and support — as well as the fun, music, and dance.

"Democracy is not just something that happens on Election Day," Sandpoint Pride officials said on the website. "It’s how we live in a pluralistic, multicultural society, powered by skills that we learn in order to facilitate communication, understanding, connection, and freedom."

By working together, and everyone — including the LGBTQI2S community — benefits, Sandpoint Pride officials said.

"Together, we can create a world absent of injustice where every person can live authentically, without apology or compromise," they said. "Let us rise up, show up, and make our voices count …  As Sandpoint Pride, we believe in the right for everyone, no matter their gender identity, sexuality, ability, race, or ethnicity to have their voices heard." 

Held between Matchwood brewing and Evans Brothers Coffee, the event plays host to a growing number of visitors and  vendors, businesses and organizations. Major sponsors this year include Emily French, Ting, Matchwood Brewing, Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, Applegate Healthcare, Bluebird Bakery, and Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington & Northern Idaho. 

Now in its fourth year, Marcoccio said the event affirms the equality and dignity of the LGBTQI2S community and gives all in the community a place where their voice can be heard without judgment or anger. Sandpoint Pride also aims to inspire engagement with and support for the ongoing movement to secure the rights, freedom, and safety of queer and trans individuals, she said.

Events kick off with the Sandpoint Alliance for Equality community conversation from 3 to 6:15 p.m. at the Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St. There, local and regional advocacy organizations, members of the LGBTQI2S community and allies will share stories and information and engage in a "positive and productive conversation where queer voices are uplifted and heard," Pride officials said on the group's website.

Several breakout sessions will be held as well as a chance for participants to share ideas and resources available both in the community and the region.

Following with be an open mic happy hour and a Pride open mic night, both of which also be held at the Heartwood Center with support from Matchwood Brewing and Beet Basil. 

At the open mic, participants will affirm the queer community through spoken word, poetry, music, stories and more, Marcoccio said.

Events on Saturday kick off with a presentation by the ACLU of Idaho and Legal Voce on the legal landscape for LGBTQI2S individuals. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. at Matchwood Brewing, 513 Oak St.

Following will be a pre-party for Ride with Price at 10:45 p.m., with the family friendly bicycle ride beginning at 11:15 a.m. The ride begins at the Granary District and will end at the Sandpoint Farmers Market.

Gates will open at 3 p.m. for Sandpoint Pride 2024, being held at the Granary District parking lot between Matchwood Brewing and Evans Brothers Coffee. The event, which is on private property, will feature several dozen or more advocacy vendors from throughout the region, family friendly activities such as tie-dye, face-painting, a bounce house, T-shirt making and community art projects. In addition, a food court, beverage garden and water stations will also be on hand.

Among groups scheduled to play during the event are Sandpoint's favorite funk band, Nights of Neon for a two-hour set with the band set to take the stage at 3:55 p.m. The Best of Sandpoint Pride competition will follow the set with participants showcasing everything from funky and amazing attire to create stage names — and plenty of fun. Audience applause will determine the winner of the two categories, one for those 18 and under and the other for those 19 and above.

The Queen B Collective Drag Show will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the show taking outdoors at Matchwood Brewing. Queens taking part were raised in the community and in the region, Pride officials said.

Following will be the second of the two concerts, with music by Thrown Out Bones set to start at 8 p.m. The San Francisco-based trio featuring a multi-genre sound that slides from jazz to funk to rock. Rounding out the night will be a late night dance party for the 21-and-older crowd and a silent disco, also for those 21 and older.

"There really is something for everyone," Marcoccio said.

On Sunday, Pride officials are holding Operation Rainbow with LGBTQI2S members and supporters displaying an inclusive Pride flag at their homes and businesses. Free flags can be picked up at Sandpoint Pride while supplies last.

"We believe there is power, safety and impact in collective action," Sandpoint Pride officials said on the group's website. "By displaying Pride flags all over our community, we are creating a more visible and inclusive Sandpoint, reflecting the support that exists and inspiring a future where everyone — regardless of race, gender, identity or orientation — is welcome and loved in our town."


    A participant takes part in Sandpoint Pride 2022.