Just one week ago, after sharing an article on her Facebook campaign page addressing the increase of LGBTQ+ Pride festivals in rural Kentucky, former Richmond Commissioner Morgan Eaves said she received a lot of negative backlash in the responding comments.
Little did she know, she had just started the ball rolling on what would become Richmond’s first Pride festival.
Almost immediately after sharing the post, Dreaming Creek Brewery co-owner Charley Hamilton replied saying that the microbrewery would host Richmond’s first Pride event as soon as the next week to offer members of the community “a safe place to be themselves.”
“There is a presence of hate in our community (and) that shows we need to start doing events like this and we need to make people feel safe and valued in our community,” she said.
According to Eaves, after only about 24 hours a group was committed to the event and actively making plans to make it a success and now the Richmond Pride Facebook group has 172 people planning to attend, and 618 that are interested.
“Everything happens on social media these days.” Eaves said. “Given that it is the first event of its kind here, people are really excited and enthusiastic about it. It really took on a life of its own.”
On the Richmond Pride Facebook page, they invite members of the community — and those outside of it — to join them at the brewery for door prizes, raffles, food, beer, games and “local vendors who support LGBTQ+ equality.”
“Most importantly, let's join to celebrate what makes Richmond an amazing community to live in — each other,” the page reads.
The event is also falls a day before the annual Lexington Pride festival and according to the Chadwick Horn, Richmond Pride’s executive director, the event will bring a “boom” to local economy welcoming those from out of town to the event.
"We have invited a large number of vendors from the immediate community to participate, free of charge," Horn said in an email to The Register. "They range from people making jewelry, to adoption and foster care agencies to large corporations that have locations here in Richmond. The money that we're raising from raffles (that have been donated by those vending and attending the festivities) will go to several Central Kentucky nonprofits that immediately help the LGBTQ+ community at large. "
He said that based on projected numbers, this could be one of the larger events held in Richmond "if all comes to fruition."
The event also coincides with the exact date of the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, a series of riots of members of the LBGTQ+ community after raiding a local gay club.
He said that while the he's been wanting to do host Richmond's first Pride event since he was in high school, the event "fell in his lap."
"There's a saying that the best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago, with the second best time to plant it being now. That is indeed the case with pride as well," he said.
Horn noted that while the group has received mostly positive and uplifting comments, they have received hateful ones as well.
"While I'm hopeful that the community will rally behind our unifying efforts, we've already received threats and negative comments via social media and email," he said. "As adults running this organization, we've all experienced discrimination in our immediate community and want to change that through community involvement. We want to turn the negative into positive, and if we save the life of even one child in the process or even allow someone to realize that they're not alone, then every penny spent and every minute dedicated to this event will be more than worth it."
The first annual Richmond Pride festival will be held at Dreaming Creek Brewery located at 109 E. Irvine Street in Richmond on Friday June 28 from 6-9 p.m.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.