MID-SHORE — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, of Mid-Shore Maryland is hosting the first ever LGBTQ pride celebration on the Eastern Shore from May 2 to May 5.

Mid-Shore Pride Maryland was organized over the summer of 2018, but the PFLAG chapter has wanted to hold a pride celebration since 2016 when Drag Queen Marti Gould Cummings first approached former PFLAG President Linda Dutton about working on this event with him, PFLAG President Claire Hansen said.

“I am excited about the visibility the event will bring to the LGBTQ community,” Hansen said. “I have discovered, even through the process of working to help organize this event, the amount of intolerance and misinformation there is in this area about the LGBTQ+ information.”

“We did not have the number of people, the energy or the connections to put on something of this nature at the time, but since expanding our meetings to Easton and Chestertown, we have found energy in a group of people who have not had access to the kinds of resources that a PFLAG chapter provides,” Hansen said.

Events will include Paint with Pride at Kiln Born Creations in Easton at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2. Tickets are $45 and local artist Chrissy Montague will teach participants how to create a masterpiece.

On Friday, May 3, there is a free event called Pride Festival at Fountain Park in Chestertown at 5 p.m. with music. Many Downtown Chestertown Association businesses will be showing their support for Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. Marti Gould Cummings will emcee the event. Later that day, a comedy show called “Calls from the Gays” will be held at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and the show will offer standup comedy and live audience interactive prank calls by the Graveyard Goonz.

On Saturday, May 4, join PFLAG in Idlewild Park with the 20th Annual Multicultural Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Watch a performance from talented local youth, learn more about PFLAG Mid-Shore and purchase a shirt to commemorate this historic event.

There will be also be a Pride in the Park event at Fountain Park in Chestertown from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 4.

Then at 9 p.m., there will be a Pride Festival Drag Show hosted by Marti Gould Cummings at Washington College in Decker Theater, Gibson Center of the Arts. Tickets are $25 for adults; $15 for students (with student ID) and free for Washington College students. Broadway performers will include Kristina Nicole Miller, Michelle Dowdy, Mason Alexander and drag artists Jaclyn Hyde, Didi Cumswell and Coco Taylor.

On Sunday, May 5, Victoria Bohmore, M’ara Diamond and Bev will host a Drag Brunch at The 447 in Cambridge at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission and there will be a cash bar and limited brunch menu.

In addition, PFLAG will be holding “Understanding LGBTQ+” from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Easton at 7401 Ocean Gateway. This is a free, informative session about LGBTQ+ with members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, PFLAG Mid-Shore, and Mid-Shore Pride leading the discussion. At this workshop, participants will discuss terminology, gender and sexuality as identities, LGBTQ+ rights and the tradition of pride gatherings. All interested in joining in open, respectful dialogue are welcome, according to Lynn Brennan with PFLAG.

This “First Annual Mid-Shore Pride” event is expected to attract individuals and families from across the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as Delaware, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Hansen said the proceeds will go towards Pride for next year.

“We are excited by the energy behind this event and we want to use it to make next year’s event bigger and better!” she said.

“I hope that this family friendly event will give people who are often closeted the opportunity to be themselves and for those who are looking to learn more about the community an opportunity to learn and grow.”

“I am extremely excited for Mid-Shore Pride Maryland’s events to take place to increase visibility to all,” Brennan said. “My hope is that Pride on the Eastern Shore will bring about awareness and education to those not part of the LGBTQ+ community as well as support and advocate for our LGBTQ+ people. We all deserve love and respect, we are all humans no matter how we identify or who we love.”

The organization is looking for business sponsorships to support the event at the following levels:

• Bronze-level donors: $250 — your business name and logo on printed materials

• Silver-level donors: $500 — the above, plus your business name and logo on official Pride T-shirts

• Gold-level donors: $1,000 — the above, plus your business highlighted on a hand-out map of the Mid-Shore region

• Purple-level donors: $5,000 — the above, plus your business highlighted as a purple-level donor during all Pride events and five free tickets to the Drag Show of your choice

“We hope that you’ll join us and be a founding sponsor of this exciting and historic celebration,” Hansen wrote.

More information can be found at http://pflagchester town.com/pride-planning/. All events can also be found at Midshore Pride Maryland’s Facebook page under events.

@Kayla_StarDem

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