Allegan, Speak Up to host second annual Pride event, expand festivities.
Taking place August 4 and 5 in downtown Allegan is the second annual Allegan Out Loud event, a vibrant celebration of the LBGTQIA+ community. After the success of its first one-day, Pride-themed event in 2022, organizers from Allegan, Speak Up decided to expand the festivities for 2023.
Like last year, Saturday's family-friendly, admission-free events will take place on the Allegan Riverfront from 1 to 10 p.m. and will include music, vendors, community outreach booths, dancing, food trucks and a drag show. Drag Queen Story Time for children and adults alike will also be offered once again. Due to the popularity of last year's story time, the event will take place on the Allegan Riverfront Stage from 2 to 3 p.m. Organizers expect a large turnout and suggest arriving early.
At 6 p.m., the riverfront stage will feature Drag on the River!, an all-ages, family-friendly drag show. Entertainers provided by Beauty Beyond Drag Productions will perform stunts and jaw-dropping moves to dance-worthy, upbeat music. The public drag show will be hosted by DeeDee Chaunte and Cherry Poppins and feature performances by Daya Molayne-Chaunte, La Reine Divine, BittaSweet, and B.R.I.T.
Immediately following the show, attendees are invited to join a dance party led by the performers. Newly added in 2023 is Friday night's "So You Think You Can Drag" production at the Griswold Auditorium at 401 Hubbard Street. Presented by the Allegan Community Players in partnership with Allegan, Speak Up, the show will feature entertainment from Beauty Beyond Drag Productions. Host Cherry Poppins and co-host La Reine Divine will kick off the show at 9:30 p.m. In addition to performances by B.R.I.T., Daya Molayne-Chaunte, The Petty Divine, and Lavender Hazze, local talent will also take the stage.
"This one-of-a-kind show is also a competition," said Eddie Quinones-Walker, one of the co-founders of Allegan, Speak Up. "In addition to several professional drag performers showcasing their talents, six local contestants of all skill levels will compete to be crowned Mx. Allegan Pride 2023 in lip sync battles, a talent show, and full production numbers.
"This show will be unlike any other that our community has ever seen!" Quinones-Walker added. "Attendees will be treated to spectacular stunts, dancing, tons of laughter and great music. We anticipate that this will be the first in a series of shows throughout the years."
Tickets are required for entry and attendees must be 18 years of age or older. General admission tickets can be purchased for $10 each online here.
A cash bar featuring beer and wine will be available, and tips for performers are appreciated, as well. Last year's Allegan Out Loud event drew 1,500 attendees, a number organizers expect to grow to at least 3,000 for this year's event as downtown Allegan's streetscape project continues.
"In today's social and political climate, it is increasingly crucial for our community to celebrate love, diversity and acceptance," Quinones-Walker said. "We are grateful to everyone that is coming together to make this event possible and look forward to a weekend full of colors, community and inclusion."
Event sponsors include Timber Cannabis Co, Allegan County Democrats, Allegan County Community Foundation, Tantrick Brewing, Arbor Circle, The Sassy Olive, and Broken Arrow Recycling. For best access to the event, organizers suggest parking at the Allegan County Courthouse lot, behind the Regent Theatre, or city lots along Water Street and walking down the paved walkway between Hubbard Street and the riverfront stage area. Primary event organizer Allegan, Speak Up is a grassroots group of Allegan residents formed in 2019 with the goal of countering inequalities and creating a more informed and inclusive community.
For more information about Allegan Out Loud, So You Think You Can Drag, or Allegan, Speak Up, click here.
Courtesy of West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of Allegan, Speak Up and Allegan Out Loud.