DIXON – The city’s first Pride Festival won’t be taking place this summer after the organizer withdrew the event permit application Monday.
Pride parades and festivals are events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary and queer social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride.
Andrew Glasscock, Pride Festival director in the Quad Cities who’s been with the organization for 15 years, wanted to bring a festival to Dixon and applied for a permit to do so April 1. He then approached the council at its last meeting to discuss the event and came back Monday hoping for approval.
The permit couldn’t be voted on because it wasn’t on the council agenda, and Glasscock withdrew the application with concerns that there wouldn’t be enough time to solidify the event and entertainment.
The Open Meetings Act requires meeting agendas to be posted publicly 2 days prior to a meeting, and governing bodies cannot take action on items that are not listed on the agenda.
The permit application was still being reviewed and wasn’t ready for council approval.
“It’s unfortunate at the end of the day, but I’m hoping for a different situation next year,” Glasscock said after the meeting.
He was contacted by businesses interested in sponsoring the event and was gathering entertainment acts including bands and a drag show, but Glasscock said he wasn’t comfortable booking the acts and making deposits without having city approval for the event.
Councilman Dennis Considine said he was very disappointed that the festival would not be happening and was “thoroughly offended” by hateful comments he received from community members about the event.
“It’s sad and horrible that people think the way they think and how the perception is toward people like myself,” he said. “I’m a very proud gay man, and I represent this city with dignity and character.”
Glasscock said that he didn’t personally receive any community backlash for the event, and he plans to try again next year while allowing for more time for the city approval process.
The festival was proposed to take place June 26 on First Avenue between Highland and Peoria avenues, and it would have been a family-friendly event with a block-party style. Next year’s Pride Festival would be scheduled for the same time, the last weekend in June.
COVID-19 restrictions were a concern, but larger events are being scheduled this summer anticipating health conditions to improve and restrictions to ease.