Snohomish to hold first Pride Fest

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Photo courtesy of Historic Downtown Snohomish
Photo courtesy of Historic Downtown Snohomish

Snohomish will hold its first Pride festivities on June 3. The downtown happening will include a parade, kids' fair, wine walk, Queer cabaret, circus performance, rainbow party, and karaoke event.

"I think the biggest thing I'm excited about is the parade on First Street," said Soren Stone, a board member of the Historic Downtown Snohomish Association who oversees the overall planning and safety measures. "First Street is right where everybody comes in and joins the shops and restaurants and things like that.

Image courtesy of Snohomish Pride  

"It's kind of a big deal, because we had Proud Boys come to our town with their assault rifles and all of that during the Black Lives Matter protests. So it feels sort of like a big deal to be walking right down First Street where that happened just two years ago, and to be loud and proud, representing LGBTQ folks in our community."

Stone emphasized that despite the negative media about the Queer community lately, he has, for the most part, only heard positivity surrounding the festivities.

"We have 27 sponsors, including many local businesses that are thrilled to support inclusivity in our town," he said. "In addition, both the city and the police department have been nothing but supportive in ensuring this event is as safe and smooth as possible.

"On both social media and at the farmers market, where we've had a booth, we've had countless people tell us how grateful are that this event is happening. Parents of Queer and Trans kids tell us how this will positively impact their kids, and older community members have expressed how personally meaningful this is to them, because they never thought they'd see the day that they could openly celebrate in their town. Our LGBTQIA+ and allied community members, kids, and parents are thrilled this ...is happening, and we hope that message is clear."

While most people in Snohomish are excited, there are still a few who are less than thrilled that Pride has made its way to the city, mainly because of the false narrative that the Queer community is trying to convert youth and show blatant nudity.

"Nudity is illegal in our town," Stone said in rebuttal. "We don't have any special permission for naked people to be present, so it's a family-friendly event. We have the Girl Scouts showing up, we have tons of youth groups and churches — I think there's something like five churches that will be marching in the parade. We also have eight security officers and four police officers that will be present on the parade route... in addition to a ton of volunteers, to make sure that everybody's doing the correct thing. So I'm not concerned about anything that would be not child friendly."

The Historic Downtown Snohomish Association also has plans in place in case of a protest or a threat to safety.

"Freedom of speech is protected," Stone said. "But we are very clear on what is legal and what is not. For example, we have the right of way to the parade route. So no protesters or anyone like that can step into the [street]. That would actually be illegal, and they would be arrested. So, we are very clear on that. Also, if there's any, any blocking of the sidewalks or anything like that, that would also be unsafe. We want to have volunteers, security officers, and police officers on the lookout for things like that that would be unsafe."

A full list of the Snohomish Pride events can be found at https://www.historicdowntownsnohomish.org/snohomishpride/. The Historic Downtown Snohomish Association is still looking for people to play music. Anyone interested in volunteering to do so can either email snohomishprideparademanager@gmail.com or text 425-610-6269; applications are also at https://www.historicdowntownsnohomish.org