This year, MI Pride weekend, once held entirely within the friendly confines of Old Town, will expand to include three neighborhoods: Old Town, downtown and REO Town. The festivities begin Friday in Old Town, including City Pulse’s first-ever LGBTQ Inclusion Awards.
The 7 p.m. party and awards ceremony will honor this year’s LGBTQ Inclusion Award winners. (See p. 16 for profiles of this year’s winners.) For $20 in advance or $25 at the door, you’ll get a heavy appetizer buffet provided by Waterfront Bar and Grill, Midtown Brewing Co., Jersey Giant, El Azteco, Zaytoon's, Eastside Fish Fry, Whipped and more, two drink tickets and a wristband for that night’s White Party festivities in Old Town. Cocktail party starts at 7 p.m. followed by an 8 p.m. award ceremony.
Before the inclusion awards, Spiral Dance Bar will host its first-ever Kid’s Day, an event for LGBTQ kids, parents and allies.
“We’re excited to do a family-oriented event,” said Sammy Courtney, manager of Spiral. “We bought 144 backpacks full of school supplies to give away to kids in need.”
The event, which runs from 4 to 8 p.m., also includes hot dogs, face painting, dancing and games.
Also on Friday, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church offers a remembrance service for LGBTQ people who died this year by violence, suicide and HIV/AIDS, including the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. The service includes scripture readings, litanies, candle lighting and music from the Taizé Community.
After the LGBTQ Inclusion Awards, the annual multi-site White Party kicks off in Old Town. A $10 wristband — available at Esquire Bar, Sir Pizza Grand Café and Spiral — is good for entrance to all three locations.
Saturday kicks off with a noon rally at the Michigan Capitol Building. Emily Dievendorf, president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights and organizer of the rally, said this year’s theme is “intersectionality.”
“We are black, we are women, we are Muslim, we are both genderqueer and gay, we are Latino, we are HIV+, we are undocumented immigrants — to look at LGBTQ issues one-dimensionally is to deny our reality,” Dievendorf explained. “We are LGBTQ, but we are also a demographic within every demographic. When we experience discrimination, we are often experiencing it two- and three-fold.”
Speakers at the rally include Penny Gardner, former president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights; trans/ genderqueer advocates Amanda Niven and Zoe Steinfield; LaShawn Erby, a straight ally who will be representing Black Lives Matter Lansing; the Rev. Nicolette Siragusa, pastor with First Congregational UCC in Grand Ledge; openly gay state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and John Austin, president of Michigan's State Board of Education.
MI Pride Festival kicks off 1 p.m. in REO Town. For the past two years, the festival has been held at Adado Riverfront Park, but the organizers made the decision to move to the south Lansing neighborhood.
“We had a great opportunity to partner with the REO Town Commercial Association,” said Ryan Sebolt, a chairman for MI Pride. “We’ve been really happy with the way that partnership has worked out.”
The festival will be held on Washington Avenue between Elm and South streets. The entertainment lineup features a variety of acts, including live music, DJs, drag performers and comedians. Several food vendors will be on hand, and beverages will be available from the REO Town Pub, Barefoot Wine and the MI Pride beer tent.
The festival wraps up at 10 p.m., but attendees are encouraged to head to Old Town for after-parties at Spiral, Esquire and Sir Pizza Grand Café.
With activities stretching from REO Town to Old Town, MI Pride is offering help to get attendees to each location. Free shuttle service is available 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. to take attendees from the rally to the festival and from 8:30 to 11 p.m. to take attendees from the festival to Old Town.
“We’ve expanded our tent to 40 by 80 (feet), which is twice the size we had last year,” Courtney said. “More DJs, more entertainment, more food — we’re really excited for that.”
Michigan Pride weekend events:
Friday, Aug. 26
Pride Weekend Remembrance Service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 5:30-6:15 p.m. FREE St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 218 W. Ottawa St., Lansing (517) 482-9454, stpaulslansing.org
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church holds a special Pride Weekend Remembrance Service to honor LGBTQ friends and family members who have died by violence, suicide, HIV/AIDS and especially those who were murdered this summer at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The service includes scripture readings, litanies, candle lighting and music from the Taizé community. All are welcome. Parking is available in the structure on Seymour Street behind the church.
Kid’s Day 4 p.m.-8 p.m. FREE Spiral Dance Bar 1247 Center St., Lansing (517) 371-3221, spiraldancebar.com
Spiral Dance Bar offers its first-ever Kids Day, featuring hot dogs, face painting, dancing, games and more. The bar will also hand out over 140 backpacks stocked with school supplies.
City Pulse LGBTQ Inclusion Awards 7-9 p.m. $25/$20 adv. Spiral Dance Bar (517) 999-6704, lansingcitypulse.com
City Pulse honors the winners of our first-ever LGBTQ Inclusion Awards with a Friday night party at Spiral Dance Bar. For $20 in advance or $25 at the door, you’ll get a heavy appetizer buffet provided by Zaytoon's, Eastside Fish Fry, Whipped and more, two drink tickets and a wristband for that night’s White Party in Old Town. Cocktail party starts at 7 p.m. followed by an 8 p.m. award ceremony.
White Party Kick-off Fundraiser 7 p.m. $10 wristband covers all three locations
Spiral Dance Bar 1247 Center St., Lansing (517) 371-3221, spiraldancebar.com
Sir Pizza Grand Café 201 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing (517) 484-9197
Esquire Bar 1250 Turner St., Lansing (517) 487-5338
Rally at the Capitol Noon FREE Michigan Capitol Building 100 N. Capitol Ave. michiganpride.org
This year’s rally focuses on the intersection of the fight for LGBTQ rights with other civil and human rights struggles. Speakers include Penny Gardner, former president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights; trans/genderqueer advocates Amanda Niven and Zoe Steinfield; LaShawn Erby, a straight ally who will be representing Black Lives Matter Lansing; the Rev. Nicolette Siragusa, pastor with First Congressional UCC in Grand Ledge; a representative from the Lansing LGBTQ Latino community; John Austin, president of Michigan's State Board of Education; and openly gay state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo).
Pride Festival 1 p.m.-10 p.m. FREE REO Town, Lansing (On Washington Avenue between Elm and South streets) michiganpride.org
This year’s Pride Festival, hosted for the first time by Lansing’s REO Town district, includes live entertainment by Cheetah Jameson, Maria Mirelez, Jeremy Sprague, Alise King, THUMPER, DJ Rachael, Ne Lovelife, Mimi Fisher, and Comedy Coven. The REO Town pub will be slinging drinks all day, and food vendors Good Truckin' Food, Saddleback BBQ, Gumps BBQ, Pie Hole Pizza Truck, Sir Pizza Grand Cafe Old Town and Mark’s Hot Diggity Dog Stand will be on site serving up tasty treats.
Sir Pizza Grand Café
7 p.m.-2 a.m.
201 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing
7 p.m.-2 a.m.
1250 Turner St., Lansing
True Colors Party at Spiral
6 p.m.-3 p.m.
$10 for 21 and up/$15 for 18-20
Spiral Dance Bar
1247 Center St., Lansing
(517) 371-3221, spiraldancebar.com
FREE shuttle service is available 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. to take attendees from the rally to the festival and from 8:30 to 11 p.m. to take attendees from the festival to the afterparties in Old Town.