The rescheduled traditional Pride Parade and Rainbow Festival are slated for Oct. 17. Last year, the parade and festival doubled in participation and hosted around 30,000 people. While COVID-19 forced the vibrant June event online this year, that does not mean the festivities will be on hold. Spokane’s Virtual Pride event will now span an entire week.
OutSpokane has hosted the local Pride Parade since 1992. The organization is working to provide a space for the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves online in lieu of the colorful party that hits the streets of Spokane each year.
Steven Herevia, vice president of OutSpokane, says Spokane Virtual Pride will be centered around three main themes: to celebrate, exhibit and participate. The main goal is creating an online experience for people to celebrate their pride and identity in a fun and safe space.
“We’ve been able to expand our reach a little further, which is kind of awesome,” Herevia says.
Accessible through OutSpokane’s Facebook, Twitch and YouTube accounts, the online events will run June 8-13, starting at 7 pm and running through 8:30 pm most nights.
Monday, June 8, will feature Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, reading the proclamation of Pride Month. Other officials like Sen. Patty Murray and the Washington State LGBTQ+ Commission will also appear to help start the week off.
“We want to recognize any LGBTQ+ grads one of the nights,” Herevia says, and “give people the chance to say thank you to frontline workers.”
Wednesday, June 10, will feature an “Interfaith Pride Service,” while Thursday, June 11, will have a fundraiser for LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations, hosted by the Inland Northwest Business Alliance, with links to more than 40 vendors’ websites to encourage people to make purchases, sign up, volunteer, and get involved with these organizations, according to Herevia.
Friday night, June 12, will solely focus on art. Herevia says there will be three featured artists to showcase their works in an online format, some of which will be portrayed through interviews to get the audience as involved as possible. And Saturday is a time to truly party and celebrate.
“We want to give our community the opportunity to express their pride and share it with everybody,” says Herevia. There will be online videos from local bands like Super Sparkle, as well as national artists, like Gattison. OutSpokane is also teaming up with national campaigns like “Drag Out the Vote” to encourage members of the community to get out and vote.
The 2020 Spokane Virtual Pride event will not be short of its bright, celebratory nature. OutSpokane is hoping to make it feel as in-person as possible. As Herevia says, “We all could use a word of encouragement right now.”
This virtual event is aiming to do just that.