NWA Pride: You’re welcome here

Trixie Mattel of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Photo provided.

by Sara Ritsch
Staff Writer

Northwest Arkansas celebrates Pride in a big way this year, from June 16 to June 19 in both Bentonville and Fayetteville. They will have a happy hour, pub crawl, parade, festival and more; plus, queens from all across the region.

The highlight of the celebration will be special guest (and big star) Trixie Mattel of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, who will make her appearance on Friday, June 17, for the Queens of Dickson Show at George’s Majestic Lounge – but that is not to discount the 7th Annual White Party, which will also be held at George’s.

“It’s interesting because this year both the drag show and the White Party will be at George’s, which was one of the first bars to accept LGBT customers. It was really part of where the community first gathered, where the movement began,” says John Forrest Ales, Board Member for Communications for NWA Center for Equality. “We’re taking it back to our roots for our special events. So it means a lot to the community, and it has history for us.”

The Pride Parade and Festival will both be held on Saturday, June 18. June 19 has the Interfaith Fellowship Gathering at Spirit of Peace for some wholesome family fun. It will feature a potluck, so bring a dish to share!

While the NWA Pride parade and festival are free, the profits from the other events will all go back to Pride and the NWA Center for Equality.

“Something new this year is we are letting people buy a Pride flag for their business or home in Fayetteville or Bentonville,” Ales says. “Folks want to give a warm welcome. So these are for expression, symbolism, marking the celebration in a special way.”

Each sale benefits the NWA Center for Equality, giving directly back to the Northwest Arkansas community. The Center is the site of HIV testing, peer groups, advocacy work and much more; and all proceeds from Pride “keep the doors open,” says Ales.

“Everything is for the community. When people can’t find resources elsewhere, they depend on the center.”

Pride is a way to see your community come together as one, and in Northwest Arkansas, they love to see people drive in from surrounding states to celebrate.

“My favorite is really seeing folks stand together – it’s so special during this time to be reminded of the support in the community of both LGBT people and our allies. Together, we see the progress we’ve made, and we remember the journey.”

NWA Pride events:

June 16, 5:30 p.m. – Happy Hour at Tavola Trattoria, Bentonville

June 17, 6 p.m. – Pub Crawl at Dickson Street, Fayetteville

June 17, 9:30 p.m. – Queens of Dickson Show Starring Trixie Mattel at George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville

Jun 18, 11 a.m. – 10th Annual Pride Parade at Dickson Street, Fayetteville

June 18, 12 p.m. – 10th Annual Festival & Rally on the Old Main Lawn, Fayetteville

June 18, 8 p.m. – 7th Annual White Party at George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville

June 19, 12:30 p.m. – Interfaith Fellowship Gathering at Spirit of Peace, Fayetteville

The Gayly - 6/11/2016 @ 4:29 p.m. CDT