What was to be just another Grand Rapids Pride
celebration took a somber turn this year as local officials, event organizers and attendees are having to process the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Forty-nine members of the LGBT community and their friends were massacred at the Orlando Pulse nightclub during the early hours of June 12 as people mainly of color were gathered to dance at a special Latino music night.
Nothing could be more chilling than to witness such a bloody event during a month set aside to commemorate the advances of LGBT rights in the U.S. and around the world. But this is a group in society who will not back down, as we witnessed at the impromptu outpouring of community support for our area’s LGBT during a candlelit vigil for the victims of this attack outside of the Apartment Lounge.
Here is a list of the organizations in our community that are hosting events this weekend in honor of Grand Rapids Pride.
As You Are
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Thursday, June 16th
Arbor Circle's "As You Are" Event with Author Ryan Berg speaking on his book "No House to Call My Home.” This event’s lecture and reading will focus on the ways that society can advocate for safe spaces for our LGBTQ youth. Admission includes access to a cash bar at the GRAM.
2nd Annual White Party
Rumors Night Club
Friday, June 17, 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
The return of the 2nd Annual White Party where party revelers will celebrate wearing their best whites. Dress to impress and remember that white pants are ok now that it is after Memorial Day.
$10 for 21+ or $20 those 18 -20. Tickets sold at the door.
Ah Nab Awen Park
Saturday, June 18, 11:30 a.m.
With a nod to Hands Across America, this new tradition is one that popped up after Pride organizers canned the fledgling parade. This hand-in-hand event was very popular last year as participants walked together in solidarity from the riverbank park to the festival location at Calder Plaza. This free event is hosted by Mr. Friendly — a stigma-free HIV awareness group from Kalamazoo and founded by Calvin College graduate David Watt.
Grand Rapids Pride Festival / Street Fair
Ottawa Avenue between Lyon and Michigan
Saturday, June 18, Noon - midnight
This is the annual pride festival with a new twist. This year the festival is expanding to spill out into the street, where vendors serving the LGBT community will line the street in this festive social setting. The cost is $5 if you wish to attend the street fair only.
For those who pay the $20 admission fee, they will be granted access to the first annual Grand Rapids Pride Concert on The Calder music extravaganza.
Artists performing this year include Alex Newell (formerly of “Glee”), breakout and out musician Steve Grand, and special headliner Deborah Cox — who is heading on tour this fall in the lead role made popular by Whitney Houston in the staged musical version of “The Bodyguard.” This special day of music will conclude with DJs spinning until midnight so that you can dance the night away under that giant red sculpture we all adore here in GR.
If you want to celebrate in comfort and style, then pony up to get your Steelcase VIP ticket
Family Day Block Party
The Apartment Lounge, 33 Sheldon Ave NE
Sunday, June 19th, 2 - 8 p.m.
The Apartment Lounge's Bob Johnson and staff are hosting a free Family Day Block Party with family-friendly activities for children, which are sponsored by the Grand Rapids Children's Museum, from 2 to 5 p.m. Grand Rapids Pride sponsor Herman Miller will also be present providing additional fun activities for the family.