Pride Month has arrived. Celebrated by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more (LGBTQIA+) community, along with allies, the annual celebration takes place throughout the month of June.
Nationally, LGBTQIA+ Pride Month celebrations tend to include parties, pride parades, picnics, workshops, and concerts that attract millions of participants across the globe. Locally, event planners are striving to add more LGBTQIA+ events on the Peninsula. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies can look forward to the 7th Annual Pride Party on the Peninsula: Phabulous Phoebus Street Festival in Hampton and two new Pride events that will take place in Newport News.
IAWIA Pride Festival
Tradition Brewing Company is holding its first LGBTQIA+ Pride Month celebration from noon to 7pm on Sunday, June 4, at its brewery located at 700 Thimble Shoals in Newport News.
“For the past 26 years, Hampton Roads Pride has held their annual summertime festivals in Norfolk and huge celebrations in Virginia Beach, though, for the past few years, the City of Hampton started leading a Pride on the Peninsula Phoebus,” said Cory Moreno, event liaison with Tradition Brewing Company. “We wanted to extend the reach more and bring an LGBTQ celebration to our own backyard and not have to travel.”
Moreno said Tradition Brewing Company reached out to Hampton Roads Pride to inquire about bringing an LGBTQIA+ Pride Month celebration to its brewery.
“Pride on the Peninsula is a new initiative that’s really evolving with events being held on this side of the water,” said Moreno. “Tradition Brewing Company’s I Am What I Am Pride Festival will kick off on June 4, and, later this month, Hilton Village will be holding a pride event, and so is Phoebus.”
The IAWIA family-friendly and pet-friendly celebration will feature more than 40 craft vendors, food trucks, a drag show, live musical performances, a bubble dance party, and resource and educational materials presented by organizations such as Diverse Hampton Roads, LGBT Life Center, Free Mom Hugs, ODU Women & Gener Equity Center, The Village Midwife, and Hampton Roads Pride.
Rachel & the Jelly cats will take the stage from noon to 1pm. The Dancing Divas Drag Show featuring Fushia DeVille, Baby Angel, Sage Angel, Amethyst Stone Douglas, and Skarlett D. Letter will follow from 2pm to 4pm. Vivian Deveraux Valentine, art commissioner for the City of Newport News, will perform from 4pm to 5pm followed by B.J. Griffin, a singer and songwriter from Virginia Beach who will be featured on the upcoming season of America’s Got Talent.
“We’re also releasing the I Am What I Am beer, which is being brewed in collaboration with ten breweries across Hampton Roads,” said Moreno. Tradition Brewing Company, Maker’s Craft Brewery, Billsburg Brewery, Thin Brew Line Brewing Company, Post Secondary Brewing, Gloucester Brewing Company, Capstan Bar Brewing Company, Studly Brewing Company, MoMac Brewing Company, and Nansemond Brewing Station will be serving the lemon drop Kolsch beer on draft in addition to selling four-packs throughout the month of June.
Moreno, who was recently asked to serve on the board of Hampton Roads Pride because of his outreach work in the community, said he reached out to Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones a few months ago and submitted a proclamation request for the City of Newport News to formally proclaim June as Pride Month for the city. “I’m excited to say that I just received an official email from city hall acknowledging that Mayor Jones approved of the proclamation,” Moreno shared.
Hilton Village Main Street will host Historic Hilton Village’s first Pride event from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, June 10. Guests will have the opportunity to meet with LGBTQ+ inclusive churches and support groups on site, shop for handmade arts and crafts, enjoy food and music in the beer garden, and contribute to a community art project.
The Hilton PRIDE event will take place along the 10200 and 10300 blocks of Warwick Boulevard between Main and Post streets. While still in the planning phase, Meagan Adams, marketing and events manager with Hilton Village Main Street, said there are 60 vendors currently signed up to be in attendance.
“Some of the vendors who will be in attendance include a stained-art artist; Ginger Voodoo, who specializes in body care products; Festival Hair Boutique, who specializes in hair glitter strands; and Sister Canvas Goods, who sells upcycled vintage; Debeau Designs, who sells paintings; and Waisted Beads, who sells bracelets and waist beads for people who have a waist and want to show it off,” said Adams.
Adams said the move to hold a Pride event in Historic Hilton Village was prompted by a desire to be all-inclusive.
“It’s been long overdue,” said Adams. “While there have been some Newport News churches who’ve held Pride events in the past, we wanted to hold something a little more public. There are a lot of people in our community who own businesses or live in the area who haven’t been as celebrated as they should be. We wanted to convey that everyone is accepted and valued in our community.”
D.J. Baez will be spinning tunes, and Coastal Fermentory will be serving alcoholic beverages in a temporary beer garden. “Many food vendors will be on site, including Indulge Bakery and Bistro, Nosh, and Abocargo, to name a few,” said Adams.
Adams said there will be face-painting opportunities and art projects to keep children entertained at the family-friendly event in addition to other activities.
“Flourish CNU will be there to coordinate an art project,” said Adams. “We have a giant wire heart that people will add ribbons to after writing what it means to feel included on their ribbons. The ribbons come in all colors of the rainbow, so by the end of the event, the colorful heart will display everybody’s thoughts on inclusion.”
Five churches will be in attendance, including Hilton Presbyterian Church, who will kick off the event with a drum circle and prayer.
For more information about Hilton PRIDE, visit Hilton Village Main Street’s Facebook page.
7th Annual Pride Party on the Peninsula: Phabulous Phoebus Street Festival
Hosted by the City of Hampton in collaboration with Hampton Roads Pride; Phoebus Partnership; Hampton Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau; and M. Price Distribution Co., the 7th Annual Pride Party on the Peninsula: Phabulous Phoebus Street Festival will be held from 1pm to 7pm on Saturday, June 17 in Phoebus.
The festival will be held on Mellen Street between Mallory and South Curry streets.
“This will be our second go around on Mellen Street,” said Gabe Diaz, executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion with the City of Hampton and LGBTQ liaison to the city manager’s office. “We started off holding the event in downtown Hampton at Carousel Park, but we outgrew that space.”
Diaz describes the event as a full day of engagement and live entertainment.
“We have lots of entertainment booked, many food trucks will be there in addition to vendors, crafts, resources, and a huge beer garden featuring a variety of local breweries,” said Diaz. “This will be a day to remember.”
This year’s pride party will feature curated entertainment provided by M.C. K’Bana Blaq and headlining performer Jayye Michael.
“Our hosting M.C., K’Bana Blaq, will also be performing in his drag persona, Vivian Deveraux Valentine,” Diaz said. Some of the other supporting artists booked for the event include Felicia Hoyos, a solo acoustic singer/songwriter, and Myra Smith the Phoenix, a singer/songwriter and band leader.
“We’ll also be acknowledging the inter-communities that Pride serves and encompasses by highlighting Juneteenth,” said Diaz. “Marie St.Clair of Fragments of Freedom will be presenting a Juneteenth presentation, so we’re very excited about that.”
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck will also be in attendance to officially proclaim the month of June as being formally recognized as Pride Month by the City of Hampton. Diaz said the event is likely to attract more than 2,000 people during the duration of the festival.
“We’re looking to create a safe and inviting atmosphere for families while providing entertainment and educational attractions that highlight the diversity within the City of Hampton through the LGBTQ+ Pride festival,” said Diaz. “All are welcome. We pride ourselves, no pun intended, in having diverse representation. I think when you have a city municipality that is leading the efforts, or has come alongside those who are leading the efforts, it really showcases the inclusivity efforts here from city hall to the furthest corners of our community.”
Diaz mentioned that while some cities across the country experience a noticeable divide between law enforcement and the LGBTQIA+ community, the City of Hampton isn’t one of them.
“We’ve taken a very proactive approach with the Hampton Police Department and have a very close partnership with them,” said Diaz. “There’s an LGBTQ+ liaison within the police department designated to address inclusivity needs and representatives from the Hampton Police Department will be on site with a resource table passing out swag just like everyone else.”
Though the festival concludes promptly at 7pm, the fun will continue at an official afterparty hosted by Sly Clyde Ciderworks, which is conveniently located at 207 E. Mellen St. in Phoebus.
“Our goal is to provide an exciting event where everyone feels welcome, supported, and included regardless of beliefs, personal preferences, and orientation,” said Diaz.
For more information about the 7th Annual Pride Party on the Peninsula: Phabulous Phoebus Street Festival, visit Phoebus Partnership’s website and the City of Hampton’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Facebook page.