Beginning at 5:30 pm in Bethel Plaza, the event is slated to include live music, a drag show, speakers from the LGBTQ community and a host of food options from nearby businesses offering specials in concert with the celebration, said Kaleb Cook, Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Department therapeutic recreation supervisor.
“Pride month is universal and showing our support is essential to the community,” Cook said. “This event is for everyone. You don’t need to be a part of the LGBTQ community to show your support and attend.”
Glenwood Springs hired Cook in May to help create a program schedule of accessible city-sponsored events, ensuring all the city’s residents have opportunities to recreate, learn and take part in the community, said Bryana Starbuck, Glenwood Springs public information officer.
“With any event, it takes a lot of resources and, specifically, someone to organize and sit in the driver’s seat,” Starbuck said. “We are really excited to have Kaleb come in and spearhead this event.”
The idea for Glenwood Springs’ first Pride Celebration struck while Cook was attending a First Friday event in Carbondale.
“They do their Pride event in May, and it got me wondering what we had planned,” Cook recalled.
Upon learning Glenwood Springs didn’t have a parade or celebration in the works, Cook set out to throw together as much as he could in just a few short weeks.
“We decided the late start suited a celebration better than the typical Pride parade,” he explained.
Others might have put off scheduling a celebration for another year, allowing more time for planning, but Cook said Pride was personal.
“I came out (as a member of the LGBTQ community) when I was 18, and I’m only 22,” he explained. “Last year was the first year I felt comfortable going to a Pride parade. It was such an important experience that I want to ensure no one ever misses out an opportunity to experience that again.”
Carbondale resident Bryan Alvarez-Terrazas said he’s overjoyed to see Glenwood Springs actively celebrating Pride Month.
“I’m excited, especially considering it’s a first,” Alvarez-Terrazas said. “Ideally, it wouldn’t have been the first one. But, I’m really proud that Kaleb was able to step up and get allies in the city to support this.”
Growing up in the Roaring Fork Valley and within the Latino community, Alvarez-Terrazas said he saw his fair share of LGBTQ suppression through machismo, homophobia and transphobia. Pride celebrations, however, help bring the community together to celebrate everyone’s differences.
“The reason why I really took it upon myself to become a drag queen is the LGBTQ community isn’t really as visible as I wanted it to be,” he said. “The role drag queens hold in the world is celebrating that LGBTQ community and putting it out there for everyone to see and celebrate.”
The festivities kick off at 5:30 pm with live music from Josefina Mendez and Mark Johnson followed by drag performances at 6:30 pm with the Roaring Fork Divas featuring Ramona Chingona, Ari, and The Divine Ms. T.
To facilitate the celebration, Starbuck said the city will close Seventh Street from Colorado Avenue to Cooper Avenue beginning at noon Friday.
Additionally, Mayor Jonathan Godes, Gay For Good representative Janet Gordon and AspenOUT Executive Director Kevin McManaman are scheduled to speak at the event.
During the celebration, several vendors, including QUEER Voices, Free Mom Hugs and PFLAG Roaring Fork Valley, are slated to be on site providing support, education and services for members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters.
After the city-sponsored all-ages celebration ends at 8 pm, a safe-space celebration for people ages 21 and older is scheduled at Bluebird Cafe, 730 Grand Ave., Cook said.