Queen City News

Union County set to hold its first ever Pride festival in September

UNIUON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — In Monroe, and in Union County in general, its history sometimes precedes itself, particularly on civil rights.

The county was a focal point for the issue in the 1950s, and so many decades later, so much has changed, even though the perception remains. That perception is, however, fading.

“The number one thing I’ve heard is, ‘Union County? Pride?’,” said Cynthia Brown, treasurer for Union County Pride.

The organization has their own festival coming up in September, their first.

“I know this is something [the] county hasn’t seen before, but that’s the beauty of it,” said the organization’s vice president, Emily Allen.

The notion of bringing a festival to Union County did not happen overnight, but it did start with something.  Part of it started at a local business in downtown Monroe.

“East Frank’s [Superette and Kitchen] started doing drag shows,” said Union County Pride president Cristal Robinson.

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Organizers said the drag shows at the business brought sold out crowds for a show they could not get anywhere else. Those shows grew into a larger idea.

Pride organizers have reserved a park for the festival, which is set for Sunday, September 18, and vendors and businesses are signing on.

The event is one of many that are developing in smaller communities all over North Carolina.

Organizers know that what will be happening here may not be universally embraced, but they note that Pride events, at their heart, are about acceptance of people’s differences.

“We may have some people that are against us, but we love everybody,” said Brown. “We’re all human, so it’s really good to experience that.”

Pride events are extremely popular in larger cities, and Union County Pride is expecting a good turnout.

“It’s going to be in a small town, you’ll find parking, an ability to get there quickly,” said Robinson.

“This time, it’s time to show the progression in Union County that everyone’s welcome,” Brown said.