CASPER, Wyo. – After rolling back most events during the global pandemic last year, organizers hope this year’s Casper Pride celebration leaves a permanent mark.
“We’re attempting to empower people,” said Casper Pride organizer Mallory Pollock.
Calling the final event on June 13, in Conwell Park “The Future is Queer,” Casper Pride hopes to keep the LGTBQ+ community engaged beyond the week-long celebration by bringing in experts who community members can partner with to help continue things such as youth outreach and political representation. “We want to imagine what Pride would look like with a year-round presence,” she said.
The expanded community engagement is a natural outgrowth of what started as a way to celebrate the queer community.
“I hope it grabs people at the end,” said Pollock, “because when we leave at the end of Pride everyone goes back to their hidey holes and kind of lose the spark, so we’re trying to leave them feeling powered and inspired.”
Kicking off the week-long celebration starting next Wednesday, June 9, is a free community called “Taste the Rainbow” at the Good Food Hub.
Art 321 will be an epicenter for multiple events, such as an open mic night on Thursday, June 10, a community art project on Friday, followed by “Art After Dark” later that evening.
Other highlights include the ever popular Drag Show, a Pride Dance, a brunch, and a community celebration at David Street Station featuring venders and performers on stage. A long-term project Casper Pride has been working on to address suicide prevention and other mental and physical health issues will also be introduced during the David Street Station celebration, said Pollock.
A carryover from last year’s socially-distanced Pride celebration is the Pride Drive, which calls for people to decorate their vehicles for a cruise through downtown that starts at City Park.
“We’re growing past our usual events and saying ‘hey, we’re still here 365 days of the year,'” said Pollock. “It’s really exciting to see people coming back to life (after last year), it’s like we didn’t miss a beat.”
Casper Pride ‘Reimagined’ starts on Wednesday, June 9, and runs through Sunday, June 13. A full schedule and description of events can be found here.
An earlier version of this post included an incorrect venue for an event. It has been corrected.