This Saturday, June 11th, celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month at Ottawa’s First Annual Family Pride Festival. This inclusive and family-friendly event is set to feature vendors, artists, live music, drag shows, crafts and much more. Held at both Ottawa’s Jordan Block and Washington Square Park from 10am to 5pm, this event will benefit the Youth Outlook Drop-In Center, located at Open Table UUC.
The day’s entertainment will include a “Pets for Pride” parade, kicking off at 10AM. All the pets will be leashed or in a pet stroller, and will be dressed in at least one piece of pride-related apparel. The event is completely free to spectate, but a 50/50 raffle at the SOCU booth will be taking donations for the Marseilles’ Pet Project Shelter throughout the day.
Washington Square Park’s festivities will include a live high-energy set by Parents’ Choice Award winning family musician Leonardo, who will take the stage from 10:30am to 11:30am. ‘The Stu Show’ will be performing an acoustic set pack with positivity and kindness from 12:00pm to 1:00pm, sure to entertain kids and parents alike. Powerhouse vocalist and songwriter Cheryl Rodey will be performing original songs and tribute tunes from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Speaker, educator, and advocate Karli Johnson’s Drag King persona, “Karl” Johnson will lead a family-friendly dance-a-long from 3:00pm to 3:30pm. The Ottawa Community Choir will perform a selection of songs in Washington Square Park, starting at 4:00pm. Between all these sets DJ Phil K Swift will be spinning vinyl in Washington Park. From 10am to 5pm, Swift will be bringing House, Freestyle, and Underground sounds to the Ottawa Family Pride Festival.
At the Jordan Block, located at the Southern end of Ottawa’s downtown, there will be even more live entertainment. Mobile Beats DJ will be kicking off the day with music starting at 10AM, and will provide the soundtrack for the event’s drag show that starts at 11:00am. Hosted by JJ Adonis and Aurora Divine, this signature drag show will also feature a fundraising drag performance by event organizer Dylan Conmy, and will feature a special message from the boy who inspired the fest. The Magnolia Dance Collective, which has preformed all across Illinois, will take the stage from 1:00pm to 1:30pm, followed by a full set from the Starved Rock Country roots-rock legends Katie Belle and the Belle Rangers from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. Ky Chameleon, a circus performer from the Dancing Bear Tribe, will be closing out the day’s festivities with a flow art set (Ky will also have a booth set up for the day offering face painting, balloon animals and more).
Prairie Fox Books will be hosting some special in-store events, as well. JJ Adonis and Aurora Divine will return to the LaSalle street bookstore for another annual Pride Storytime. Taking place from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, this fun and campy storytime is sure to have guests of all ages in stitches. From 4:15 to 5:00, Karli Johnson will be hosting a lively anti-bullying program for kids and adults of all ages - made possible by the Ottawa Family Pride Fund, through SRCCF. Guests will learn how to stop bullying, get support, and embrace their individuality. The first 40 attendees will receive a free Pride inspirational notebook and pencil gift set.
The fun doesn’t stop there, you’ll also find a variety of special activities and vendors located in Washington Square Park and the Jordan Block. Ottawa’s own Open Space Art Gallery & Studios will be hosting a Kids Create Tent in Washington Square Park from 11:00am to 4:00pm, that will be offering complimentary crafts. Diane Martin will be offering free face painting and take-and-make crafts for kids, who will also be taking donations to benefit the Safe House Animal Rescue League of Mendota. The Ice Queen will be in Washington Park from 12:00pm to 3:00pm for pictures, autographs, and coronation ceremonies. There will even be temporary tattoos and coronation gifts available for $5 each, courtesy of Caitlyn’s Ever After LLC.
Two panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be available for viewing during the Pride Festival at Open Table UCC Ottawa, located at 910 Columbus Street. These two panels are a tribute to just some of the over 100,000 individuals represented on the 35-year-old Memorial, which documents lives lost to AIDS.
The Family Pride Fest will also host over 50 vendors at Washington Square Park and another 15 at the Jordan Block. There will also be several food trucks and pop-up eateries in attendance, including Bertha Food Truck, T’s Food Shack, Keely’s Castle, Lodi Tap House and Fergusson Concessions. Jack FM will be mobile from 9:30am-11:30am, and Q Hit Music will be broadcasting live from 10am-noon.
For more information, and to see a full schedule of events, visit: bit.ly/3tIsnrp
To donate to the Ottawa Family Pride Fund, visit: srccf.org/community-donation