5 20 HC Pride Organizers

Harbor Country Pride Co-Founders and Presidents Travis Worden and Abby Voss.

The first Harbor Country Pride celebration is coming to Southwest Michigan June 1-6.

Co-Founders and Presidents Abby Voss & Travis Worden felt it was high time to bring pride festivities to the area while highlighting small businesses during a week-long series of festivities. Everything from art installations to rainbow restaurant features to musical/theatrical performances will commence throughout the Harbor Country to bring a wave of inclusivity and festivity to the community.

“We wanted to continue the work previous generations have paved before us as well as spread the efforts of our neighboring communities. They have inspired us to strive to create an inclusive & expressive celebration of queerness within Harbor Country,” said Worden.

“Our community is so rich in creativity and self-expression,” said Voss. “We knew our version of ‘Pride’ had to be more than just a parade. It could be nothing less and a whole week of love, acceptance and unity through food, frolic and artistic creation. We are beyond excited to see how everyone has gotten involved in support and how the organization will grow in years to come.”

The week kicks off Tuesday, June 1, with an outdoor Movie Night in Dewey Cannon Park in Three Oaks featuring 2014 film “Pride” as well as a short doc, “What Pride Means to Me” featuring interviews with local members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. The following night, Wednesday, will feature a night of music on the back lawn of Lakeside Inn with food provided by Silly Sausage and live performances by The Silhouette Plane Project & Lady Stardust.

On Thursday, June 3, the fun will move outside for a day of appreciating the natural beauty of Harbor Country. Guided Chikaming Open Lands hiking trails and a guided kayak tour with rentals from Red Arrow Ride, led by Esther Ikoro from the podcast “See You Outside.” That night, folks are encouraged to head out on the town for “Leather Night” at The False Front in New Buffalo. It will be a night of leather, charitable giving and cocktails. Leather or pleather required for entry. “Rainbow Flag” Cocktails for a Cause with portions of the proceeds going to YEPP, Youth Empowerment Performance Project. Reservations required.

Friday, June 4, will be a mix of art and food starting with the “Art Walk,” where local galleries throughout Harbor Country open their doors to the public to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ painters, sculptors, digital & multi-media visual artists, to showcase their talents, including a live interactive mural painting by Ayla Batton in downtown Sawyer. Throughout the week, area restaurants will participate in “Restaurant Round-Up,” and feature cocktail and food specials to promote Harbor Country Pride. Portions of the proceeds will go to local/regional charities.

Efforts move inward over the weekend with “Self-Care Saturday,” featuring specials and classes by local spas, gyms and yoga studios for a day of pampering and wellness. Saturday night, June 5, will kick it up a notch at “Club Rainbow” at 19 North at Froehlich’s in Three Oaks with dancing, drag performances outside with cocktails and light fare.

The capstone of the week is Sunday, June 6, focusing on supporting small business & family. “Shop Local Sunday” is a tour of local antique, vintage, gift and clothing shops who will be donating portions of their sales to local/regional queer charities alongside the “Michiana Pride Market,” a small pop-up of local vendors at 4060 Cherokee Drive, Michiana/NewBuffalo (also taking place from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday), including paintings, cut paper media, illustrations, books and plants, jewelry, stationery/paper goods, homemade candles/soaps. In downtown New Buffalo, families are encouraged to attend “Chalk The Block” outside New Buffalo Township Library for an afternoon of creative expression through art.

Find out more about Harbor Country Pride events at harborcountrypride.com or email harborcountrypride@gmail.com.

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