POCATELLO — Organizers have already booked lots of local vendors and a famous drag queen for this summer’s Priddaho Pride Festival 2021 and anticipate drawing thousands of people from throughout the West to the Bannock County Event Center fairgrounds in Pocatello.
Priddaho President Travis Kerbs said the festival will be a family-friendly celebration of inclusivity and will offer a safe environment for people who have recently come out of the closet or are considering taking the step.
Admission to the event, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 19, will be free. There will be a $10 cover for an after party, featuring drag queens, scheduled for 9 p.m. to midnight.
Priddaho lists its mission as “helping, teaching as well as learning about the cultures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight and unidentified individuality.”
The festival’s entertainment headliner will be Elliott with 2 Ts — the stage name of Elliott Puckett, a Las Vegas drag queen and dancer who is a contestant on season 13 of the popular VH1 series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
The theme of the event will be “I’m coming out.”
The annual festival was initially organized by the local organization All Under One Roof LGBT Advocates of Southeastern Idaho. Priddaho took charge of the event in 2019, drawing a large crowd to OK Ward Park in Pocatello. The crowd was so large, in fact, that city officials asked Priddaho to choose a larger venue for future events, Kerbs said.
The festival was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, and Kerbs believes the upcoming party will be an especially big draw because it will be the first pride festival to be held in person in a long time. Officials with the Bannock County Event Center confirmed to the Journal that the event has the necessary permits and has been approved by the Bannock County Commission.
Kerbs said drag queens from Utah, Colorado and Wyoming plan to attend.
“We get one day to shine bright like a diamond for the community,” said Kerbs, of Idaho Falls. “It’s my personal goal to let everybody come out and just be who they are. It’s their day to go to a day of events that are safe.”
Kerbs believes events such as the upcoming festival offer support and reassurance to young people struggling with their sexual identity.
“Some of these kids they go through a lot and they’ve been through a lot. We’ve seen suicides and all that kind of stuff,” Kerbs said. “This day is to say, ‘It’s OK to be who you are.’”
Kerbs said the festival will include about 50 vendors from Southeast Idaho and out of state. They’ll offer a variety of foods including watermelon, street tacos, chicken, corn dogs and barbecue. Other vendors will sell jewelry, homemade goods and crafts.
Gold’s Gym will provide a 30-minute free Zumba class during the festival. Southeastern Idaho Public Health will also be on hand offering free HIV testing and COVID-19 vaccinations.