Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival Returns to Wenonah Park June 25

The annual LGBTQ+ event marks Pride Month and celebrates 20 years of advocacy in the region

Posted In: Culture, Community Profiles,   From Issue 931   By: Jason Dean

16th June, 2022     0

After two years of virtual events due to Covid restrictions, the Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival returns June 25 to Downtown Bay City with a full day of entertainment, advocacy, and fellowship.

This year marks Great Lakes Bay Pride’s 20th year of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. Previously known as Perceptions, the organization purposely kept a low profile during its first several years.

“We stayed behind the scenes, mainly for safety reasons,” explains Great Lakes Bay Pride Executive Director Scott Ellis. “Our organization really only went public around 2015.”

For the first few years, the festival was held at Ojibway Island in Saginaw. In 2016, the event moved to Bay City’s Veterans Memorial Park and the following year migrated to its current home at Wenonah Park.

During the lockdown, the virtual events were buoyed by the yard sign campaign, which gained popularity as a way to show support as part of “Celebrating Pride at Home.”

“When we started seeing the shutdowns happening [in the months leading up to June 2020], we did not cancel anything,” says Ellis. “We reimagined things and brought forth a plan to celebrate at home.”

In addition to Dow, which has been the festival’s presenting sponsor since 2017, Ellis said there are more than 20 sponsors for the event, as well as more than 50 vendors.

Entertainment for this year’s festival offers a diverse playlist that includes the Harmony Diversity Choir, Okay Hair Day, Salinger!, Kris Goodwin, Andrew Kitzman, Midland Center for the Arts production of RENT, Tana Michaels, and Teenage Musicals Inc. production of The Music Man.

Ellis is optimistic that attendance will top 2019, which marked the best turnout ever. “I’d love to see us exceed 2,500 people,” he says.

While Great Lakes Bay Pride advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, its predominant message is to champion diversity, inclusion, freedom, and equality for all.

The event is family-friendly, and there will be a Children’s Area under the Dow tent with STEM-based activities. Great Lakes Bay Health Centers will be offering free, on-site health screenings.

Ellis says volunteers are still needed for the festival as well as the After Party Drag Show, happening at 9:00 pm at the Red Room at Dow Event Center in Saginaw. Anyone interested in helping can get more information on the Great Lakes Bay Pride Facebook page.

This year’s festival begins at 11:00 am and ends at 6:00 pm. The event is free. The after-party is open to anyone 18 and older. Doors open at 8:00 pm; tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at 



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