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Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 4:23 AM

Pride festival plans activities for all ages

From intellectual pursuits to just plain fun, the annual Taylor Pride Music & Arts Festival is working to be as inclusive as possible in bringing the community together. The main event is Saturday, June 29, from 4 to 10 p.m. at Heritage Square in downtown Taylor. A preevent panel discussion and book signing will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m.at Curio Mrvosa, 114 N. Main St.

“This panel is a great opportunity for anyone that wants to participate, but the festival isn’t their scene,” said Taylor Pride founder and president Denise Rodgers.

Author Jo Ivester of Georgetown will present the book “Never a Girl, Always a Boy.” Rodgers said the story follows the parents of a queer child and the impact on the entire family along the journey.

The Rev. Terry Pierce, vicar of St. James’ Episcopal Church, 612 Davis St., will open the festival with an invocation. The outdoor entertainment kicks off at 4:15 p.m. with the Austin Gay Men’s Chorus, a large professionallydirected group of harmonically-gifted men that has been featured in shows and festivals throughout the region. Then comes a full bevy of entertainers, including four live bands, a South Asian dance troupe, nine drag performers and a DJ.

In addition to live entertainment, the fest will have a kids’ area with crafts and activities, 50 vendors lined up for shopping and educational discussions taking

place. Rodgers said the organization has made arrangements to help keep attendees cool, with more shade tents, cooling centers, fans, air conditioners and water available.

For parents wondering just how family-friendly the event will be, the Taylor Pride founder said they worked diligently to ensure the content of the entertainment would be comfortable and appropriate for all ages, right down to not allowing music that features cursing.

“We heavily vet the entertainers’ content, costumes and performances. We are very strict because we’re bringing the type of drag that is more like a Vegas entertainer, more theatrical, not adult content,” Rodgers said. “We take this very seriously. We have an entire committee that’s dedicated to it.”

Once the G-rated festival ends, the age 21-andup crowd can continue the celebration at an after-party at The Venue, 115 W. Second St.

“Adult content is part of pride too, part of our community, but we want to offer it in an appropriate setting to an appropriate audience,” Rodgers

said.

The adult-themed glow party begins at 11 p.m. and features a DJ and more drag performers. There is a $10 cover charge.

The group also arranged for Black Sparrow Music Parlor, 113 W. Second St., to be the official community space for those who want to celebrate in a quieter atmosphere or just get out of the heat.

The Pride Festival has had a dedicated group of protesters each year, and Rodgers said that protesters are expected and

welcome. “This festival is open to everyone who wants to experience Pride in whatever form it means to them,” she said. “We feel confident that whatever is at this festival is appropriate and wholesome and we welcome them to show up for themselves and see what Taylor Pride is about.”

Attendees at last year’s Pride festival enjoyed dancing and live music. The event also featured a kids’ area with crafts and activities.
The Pride Music & Arts Festival will include live music at Heritage Square. Courtesy photos

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