POCATELLO — Priddaho is holding its big event this year, and you’re invited.
After canceling the 2020 Priddaho celebration due to COVID-19, the nonprofit organization is going all out for 2021. Priddaho Executive Director Travis Kerbs expects the event to be attended by 10,000 people.
Organizers say it will feature crafts, family-friendly activities, food and a beer garden aimed at serving thousands.
With many large events still in limbo throughout the state and region, Priddaho’s free event offers Idahoans an opportunity to get out and have fun, Priddaho Financial Advisor Berni Brimmage said.
“We get just one day to shine bright like a diamond,” Brimmage told EastIdahoNews.com. “So we want everyone to come and shine with us.”
Priddaho Pride Festival 2021 will be at the Bannock County Event Center on June 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be followed by an afterparty.
Priddaho has hosted Pride events in Pocatello since 2016. This year, the city asked Kerbs and his team to seek out a larger venue for the event. And after receiving a recommendation from Mayor Brian Blad, the event was granted approval from the Portneuf Health Trust to use the event center.
Although the Pride events have regularly been attended by 8,000 or more, this year’s event is expected to be even larger. The reason, Kerbs said, is the fact that Priddaho’s Pride 2021 will be the only in-person Pride celebration in the region. Attendees will likely come from Idaho, California, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
With massive attendance numbers expected, Kerbs and the Priddaho board have put together a wide range of activities.
“We’ve got a bunch of fun stuff planned,” Kerbs said.” We’ve got bouncy houses, we’ve got a petting zoo. We’ve got a bunch of local vendors. We’ve got a bunch of out-of-state vendors. We’ve got drag queens coming from all over the United States.”
Those in attendance can expect to be treated to everything from local honey — which is said to be good for treating seasonal allergies — to custom-made aprons known as “gayprons.” There will also be an assortment of food offerings as well as a free 30-minute Zumba class instructed by Gold’s Gym.
When it comes to merchandise vendors, Kerbs has canvassed the area in search of anyone who makes or is willing to make recognizably gay crafts, which are otherwise limited in Idaho.
“I tell vendors, ‘This is your one day to make something and sell a lot of it,'” Kerbs said. “‘It doesn’t even matter what you’re selling that’s of that group. Somebody here is going to buy it because they can’t get it anywhere else.’”
Those considering attending from out of town or out of state have received aid from the Priddaho board as well. In working with local businesses, a deal has been struck with the Red Lion Hotel on Pocatello Creek Road. With a mention of the event, travelers will receive a discount.
As for entertainment, this year’s pride will feature, among numerous drag queens, “Elliott With 2 Ts,” a former contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The event will also feature a DJ and afterparty, which will incur a $10 cover charge.
This event, Kerbs said, is family-friendly, though.
“I know that the LGBTQ community in the bigger cities, like Vegas and LA, they walk down the street in leotards,” he said. “You’re not ever going to see that here. It’s completely a community event and very family-friendly. I’m strict and stern about that.”
Priddaho’s mission, both Brimmage and Kerbs said, is offering a safe place for people from all walks of life to enjoy each other’s company. It is also a place to give and receive support, and, if possible, the opportunity for education.
This year’s theme: “I’m Coming Out,” portrays that.
It is the mission of Priddaho to show Idahoans that it is OK to be “different.” At the same time, it hopes to show the families of those who have recently come out as gay that there is a support system for them as well.
Brimmage, the mother of twin daughter who came out two years ago, spoke to the importance of that support net. She also spoke to the energy of events like Priddaho’s Pride celebration, for people straight, like her, or otherwise.
“Everyone is just so happy,” she said. “That’s just kind of what you feel at these events. So, 10,000 happy people, here we go.”