HARRISONBURG — Virginia holds 19 Pride Festivals throughout the year to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities and the Shenandoah Valley is no exception — bringing the festivities to its own backyard.
To celebrate the community through diversity, the Shenandoah Valley Pride Alliance is hosting the fifth annual Shenandoah Valley Pride Festival on Saturday, turning Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg into an area filled with entertainment and family-fun activities.
The event will run from noon-6 p.m., and is sponsored by Wal-Mart, MillerCoors, Merck, The Home Depot, BB&T, Capital Ale House, Muddy Feet Graphics, D&L Trophy and Rhinestone Productions.
There will be more than 60 area vendors and local food trucks including Chubbee Monkee, Angelic’s Kitchen and Creative Concessions.
For Russell Love, who is with the Shenandoah Valley Pride Alliance, the festival is best described as a “collaborative gathering of the community.”
“[The festival] celebrates the community and the LGBTQ+ community,” Love said. “I am hoping those who come out get joy and an understanding of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole…there is no difference.”
Throughout the day there will be live music, appearances from local drag queens and guest speakers. As a special guest, this year’s headliner will be Jaidynn Diore Fierce, a contestant from the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In previous years, the festival was held in July, but to allow more participation from local schools, Love said the festival was moved to September where he expects close to 5,000 people will attend.
A new feature this year includes a beer garden adjacent to the stage and a VIP area directly in front of the stage. The entrance fee is $10 that includes one free beer ticket and a beer cup with the Shenandoah Valley Pride logo.
All proceeds from the beer garden will go toward “bigger and better entertainment.”
The event is rain-or-shine.