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Citi sponsors upcoming LGBTQ pride parade and festival

Brandon Paykamian • Jun 6, 2018 at 9:06 AM

TriPrideTN officially announced Monday that Citi Retail Services of Gray will be the main parade sponsor of the TriPride Parade and Festival — the first LGBTQ pride event of its kind in the region.

On Friday, Citi officials presented a $6,000 sponsorship donation check to TriPrideTN during Citi’s Pride Month celebration at its Gray location.

“TriPride is finding a growing commitment in the business community of the Tri-Cities that wants to build a more inclusive community — which is good for people and good for business,” TriPrideTN board member Chris Dagenhart said in a press release.

“We are fortunate to have a prominent employer such as Citi sponsoring this event,” Dagenhart added.

Since last year, TriPrideTN has been working to garner business support for the upcoming festival, but landing a sponsorship of this magnitude was a big accomplishment for the group that formed in October.

On Sunday, the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus raised over $1,500 at Kingsport’s Renaissance Theatre to support the group’s efforts.

“They came all the way here in a bus to do a fundraiser for us, which was really touching,” TriPrideTN founder George Chamoun said. “It was a full house. It was incredible.”

The parade will begin Sept. 15 at noon at the intersection of North Roan and Commerce streets in downtown Johnson City and will end at Founders Park, where the festival featuring live music, art and various food and beer vendors will be held.

As of last week, organizers said the organization has raised about $33,000 of the $35,000 goal for the events.

“The fundraising progress has been phenomenal. It’s quickly becoming more about building a network and less about raising dollars for our account,” Dagenhart said. “We’ve pretty much met our goal (for this year).”

More sponsors will likely be announced soon, according to Chamoun, who said more donations and sponsorships will be able to go toward the event’s second year in 2019.

“If we raise more than that (initial goal), the remaining funds will be used for year two,” Chamoun said.

Upcoming fundraiser events for TriPrideTN will be held at Kingsport’s Sleepy Owl Brewery on June 22 from 5-9 p.m.; Bristol Station Brews on Aug. 12, from 5-9 p.m.; and Kingsport’s Rush Street Neighborhood Grill bourbon tasting event scheduled for later in 2018.

For more information on the upcoming events, fundraisers, how to make a donation or to become a sponsor, visit www.TriPrideTN.org or the organization’s Facebook page.

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