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Skagit Drag leads with the power of love

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Gina Touche — Photo by Cameron Martinez
Gina Touche — Photo by Cameron Martinez

Colorful, Halloween-themed lights enveloped the crowd of nearly 500 as they cheered for the cast of the Skagit Drag Show on October 21, which sold out the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Mount Vernon.

Performers came from all around the state, including Gina Touché, Nemesis, Alexus Montoya, Bow, Crystal Jewyl Box, Indie Scent, James Bondage, Mx, Starla D'Ville, and Kaylin Bosley.

Crystal Jewyl Box — Photo by Cameron Martinez  

"Skagit Drag is a place where people can come and let go of all the seriousness and relax into the love that they've been working so hard to build," said the show's creator and executive producer, Christopher Sadler, better known as Gina Touché.

Alexus Montoya — Photo by Cameron Martinez  

Despite the rural location, the production has stayed consistently popular since its creation, which, about 12 years ago, started when a college club tried to branch out into the field of drag. Sadler said the first show was so well attended that the fire marshal had to put a stop to allowing more people inside.

Bow and Indie Scent — Photo by Cameron Martinez  

"You find a lot of people who are growing up in these smaller towns, who see [what's happening in cities] but don't have access to it on a regular basis," Sadler said. "They want to find something in the towns that they live in, that they can connect to and feel a part of without having to really travel outside of the place that they call home."

Kaylin Bosley and James Bondage — Photo by Cameron Martinez  

Not only do audience members love the shows, but performers do as well. Although the cast consisted of seven performers, Sadler said the October edition received 25 applications.

Skagit Drag has turned into a quarterly happening, with an emphasis on showing love and supporting the local community. Several organizations throughout Skagit County partnered and provided prizes, ranging from $160 to $450 in value.

Mx — Photo by Cameron Martinez  

"Fortunately, we're at a place now where we've been supported by the community [such that] we can ... support local businesses that have supported us over time by purchasing things," Sadler said. "And through that, we get donations, which now we match... A lot of local businesses over the years have just been really open to ... building community through love and entertainment, as we do."

Skagit Drag also uses its influence to promote local organizations that are helping the Queer community. For example, Skagit PFLAG tabled right outside the auditorium.

All in all, Sadler's desire for a loving drag show, by his own definition, has been met with Skagit Drag.

"Fortunately, we're in a society that seems to be veering in the direction of love, but there's always that wall that we're facing," Sadler said. "And every time that we seem to have a success, you know, there's even a bigger wall that seems to build itself up in front of us, ... so we just want to be a place for [being yourself]."

Skagit Drag's next edition is an all-singing show scheduled for January at the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon. For more information on upcoming events, join the Skagit Drag Show group on Facebook or check out https://lincolntheatre.org