Upper Peninsula Pride

Participants of Pridefest march as part of the Walk of Awareness. (Photo courtesy of Marissa Jayne Wolfe)

By Neal Simons

LGBTQA advocacy group U.P. Rainbow Pride (UPRP) will hold its fourth annual Pridefest at Tourist Park in the City of Marquette on Saturday, September 16. This year’s Pridefest will include children’s games and activities, Pride merchandise, LGBTQ resources, drag shows, and various performers.

“It’s evolved where it’s gotten bigger. Our entertainment is expanding to where we have more performers for the people who come,” said UPRP board member Lee Maki. “We’re also expanding our youth activities. It just keeps evolving into a bigger festival every year.”

The first Pridefest began in Marquette in 2014, a year after UPRP first formed. Initially gathering at Presque Isle on a monthly basis, UPRP was inspired to form their own Pridefest after many of the original board members witnessed such an event taking place in Chicago.

“We met at a Perkins one day to discuss forming a board and putting on our own Pridefest,” Maki said. “We wanted to make a safe environment, where people could feel comfortable just being themselves as well as not feel threatened by anybody and just celebrate our LGBTQA community.”

The group was astounded by the thousands of people who attended their first Pridefest, as they were uncertain at the time as to what kind of crowd it would draw.

“We didn’t know what we were doing at first…

To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.

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