Dan Stiles, executive director of Buckhannon Pride.

‘Everybody’s welcome’: Local LGBTQ group invites community to 2019 Pridefest

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon Pride will round up Pride Month – June – with the 2019 Buckhannon Pridefest.

Buckhannon Pridefest will happen Saturday, June 29, at Jawbone Park, from noon to 4 p.m.

Executive director of Buckhannon Pride, Dan Stiles, said the date of the event is significant to the community.

“We picked the 29th because it’s near the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969,” Stiles said. “It’s a meaningful weekend for the community as well, and it’s actually WorldPride weekend in New York City.”

The Stonewall uprising at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City occurred on June 29, 1969, and is a touchstone moment in the fight for equal riots for LGBTQ individuals when police raids on the inn spurred gay people to protest.

Stiles said the Buckhannon event will feature entertainment and education.

“We’ll have education for sure, on different matters, including sexual health, which is a big thing,” Stiles said. “We do have a contact from the Central Outreach Center in Washington, Pa. that provides HIV and sexual health counseling for this area as well, as well as just kind of general information about how Pride events started and where they began.”

The event will feature vendors and several entertainers including Matasha Weaver, Miss Rainbow Pride of WV Femme, musical guest Walter DeBarr and the Whiskey Shakes.

“It’s also a great chance to meet some of your local candidates that we have coming out to speak. We do have representative Danielle Walker from the House coming in,” Stiles said. “She’s going to be our main speaker for the day, and it’s just kind of a way to educate the community.”

After Pridefest, there will be another event called Drag for a Better Opportunity from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 47 Cleveland Ave, the Opportunity House’s Recovery Center. Stiles suggested arriving early to guarantee food won’t run out.

“We’re sponsoring a fundraiser for Opportunity House, which is dinner and a drag show, $10 a ticket for that and your ticket does not guarantee food. Matt will be selling that, so you want to get there earlier because I’m sure whatever he makes will be great,” Stiles said. “It’s just a way to bring communities together to make it better for us all. But all in all, it’s a family friendly event during the day.”

He said hopes the event will raise awareness – and emphasized it’s not just for people in the LGBT community.

“It’s a way to say we might not be New York City, we might not be a huge thing, but we do have a pretty sizable LGBT community in the region,” Stiles said. “It’s a way to highlight every aspect of us, from the artists, to performers to those who just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the day, but it’s not just LGBT-exclusive, it’s allies, it’s everybody – everybody’s welcome to come out.”

He said he hopes people come out to the event and anyone interested in attending can find updates on Facebook.

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