Metro Weekly

MoCo Pride Party gives suburban residents their own Pride festival on June 29

Event, headlined by Miss Peppermint of "RuPaul's Drag Race" fame, serves as fundraiser for the MoCo Pride Center

Miss Peppermint – Photo: Instagram.

On Saturday, June 29, the MoCo Pride Center, Montgomery County’s LGBTQ resource and community center, is hosting its inaugural “MoCo Pride Party,” giving residents of suburban D.C. their own chance to celebrate without having to travel to the District, Annapolis, or other cities with their own Pride festivities.

The festival, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m., features live performances from DJ Confetti The First, BOOMscat, Malijra Belly Dance, Pretty Boi Drag, Santa Librada, Shaunda Leer, and headliner and drag superstar Miss Peppermint, best known for her stint on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The MoCo Pride Party will also feature outdoor games, food and drink vendors, and booths and tables staffed by volunteers and representatives of local LGBTQ organizations. The festival is made possible due to contributions from its producers: PAD Awesome Entertainment, Cee Smith Media Group, 3 Pillars Conferences & Events, and One Source Event Group.

General admission to the party costs $15 per person, with tickets available via eventbrite.com. Those wishing for a Party Drink Pass in addition to their admission ticket will be asked to pay $45 per person, with VIP tickets, which include a meet-and-greet session with Miss Peppermint, going for $70 per person. Sliding-scale tickets are available for those in tight financial straits.

All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the MoCo Pride Center.

“The 2019 MoCo Pride Party is going to be a fantastic celebration to close out Pride Month,” Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass (At-Large), who has been promoting LGBTQ-themed events in the county throughout the month of June, said in a statement. “This will be an opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and recognize the beautifully diverse community we call home.”

Organizers say the festival aims to provide a safe space for all people in Montgomery County and its surrounding environs, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, religion, socioeconomic status or disability. There will be ASL interpreters available for the hard-of-hearing and deaf communities, a wheelchair-accessible area near the main stage, and the event is Metro accessible for people who do not have reliable transportation.

“Montgomery County always prides itself in how diverse and accepting the community is, but those notions are not always appropriately translated into thoughtful actions and representation in the queer and queer minority communities within Montgomery County,” Phillip Alexander Downie, the president of PAD Awesome Entertainment and the Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the MoCo Pride Center, said in a statement.

“Representation is so important, especially when you don’t have a familial or community support system,” he said. “Subsequently, futures don’t seem as bright, and every day can be a literal battle for one’s life.

“As a black queer male from a conservative Christian household with a Jamaican immigrant father and nuclear family, I know what an amazing support system feels like. … I was fortunate enough to not have an absolutely terrible coming out experience, where my life or wellbeing was in danger. But there are so many black queer people, especially black trans women, whose lives are literally in danger, because of ignorance, hatred, and, in some cases, an unfathomable religious intolerance. So this Pride is for all of my beautiful family who does not get to see enough of themselves in the mainstream media, their work, community, or everyday life.”

The MoCo Pride Party is on Saturday, June 29, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at Rockville Town Square, 30 Maryland Ave., Rockville, Md. Venue is Metro accessible via the Red Line Metro. For tickets and more information, visit www.eventbrite.com.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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