The event is being designed with the theme "Look How Far We've Come." TriPride organizers are keeping a similar format to last year's event. There will be a series of activities during Pride week, leading up to the parade and festival on Saturday, September 7. Live entertainment, vendors, exhibitors and food trucks will be present. The festival will take place in the heart of downtown Kingsport and will be free to the public.
The theme "Look How Far We've Come" was chosen to emphasize the progress of LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion in relation to where it was 50 years ago. It has been 50 years since the 1969 Stonewall Riots of New York City, considered by many to be the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
"The Stonewall Riots were a turning point in the gay rights movement. The community reached a breaking point over police harassment and brutality. So they fought back. But our positive experiences last year with local government and law enforcement just emphasizes one element of how far the LGBTQ+ community has come,” Kenn Lyon, TriPride president, said in a news release.
Another example of the progress of the LGBTQ+ community is evident in the outpouring of community support — both from individuals and local businesses — for the inaugural festival. The community came together to support TriPride’s mission, with several local businesses reporting it as one of their most profitable days in their history.
“The theme is also poignant in regard to our own organization," Lyon said. "We're just over a year old as an organization. It's incredible to think about what we've been able to achieve with community, business, and local government support in such a short period of time."
The organizers acknowledge there is still much work to be done to build community bridges and relationships, but also emphasize there is much to celebrate.