Organizers Get Ready for Ferndale Pride June 14-17
Events will include Light the Night Against Hate on June 15, the Southeast Michigan Dyke March on June 16, and the Rainbow Run followed by a seven-hour festival June 17.
Plans are under way for the second annual Ferndale Pride weekend coming up June 14-17, and organizers say the event is expected to draw at least 5,000 people to the city for a variety of gay pride activities including marches, rallies and a street festival.
Ferndale Pride started last year after Motor City Pride, the state's largest gay pride festival, relocated to Detroit's Hart Plaza after holding the festival in Ferndale for 10 years, said Craig Covey, director of Ferndale Pride.
Covey and a group of volunteers were disappointed to see the festival leave but quickly started working to fill the void. The event has about 40 volunteers organizing the festival.
"Last year, everyone was very pleased," said Covey, an Oakland County Commissioner and former Ferndale mayor. "The city was very pleased and happy with what we were able to pull together."
Major events this year include Light the Night Against Hate on June 15, the Southeast Michigan Dyke March on June 16, and the Rainbow Run on June 17.
The Rainbow Run will be followed by seven-hour festival starting at noon June 17 that will include 60 different organizations and vendors, a stage with hours of live entertainment, a kids corner and more.
"This is going to probably be about five times bigger than what we did last year," Covey said.
Continuing the event in Ferndale is meaningful for the city and its residents, Covey said.
"Ferndale owes a huge amount of its success in its resurgence over the past 20 years to the gay community and it's a way to give back," he said. "It's also a recognition that Ferndale has a national reputation of standing up for diversity. We made the decision long ago to embrace diversity and it has helped us create a very successful and popular city."
Ferndale Pride is also a celebration for the gay community in the area.
"It's important for our own gay community that we be recognized and included in a celebration. I always look at gay pride celebrations as comparable to the Irish celebrating St. Patrick's Day or Americans celebrating the Fourth of July ... It's our time, it's our community's time to celebrate itself and get together and have fun."
The weekend of events is put on with the help of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, the Chamber of Commerce, Affirmations and a host of other organizations. "It's truly a collaboration," Covey said.
For more information, visit www.ferndalepride.com.