Thursday, July 25, 2024

OUT on the River celebrates Pride on the water

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LEAVENWORTH – On June 25, OUT on the River will be celebrating the 2SLGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month with its fourth annual float down the river, followed by an afterparty at LOGE Downtown.

“I think it's just about being able to do different things and getting out together with everybody in the LGBTQ+ community,” said event co-founder Shea Miller. “I think being able to participate in all events, different kinds of events, is kind of what I feel like everybody tries to do, they want to be able to do.”

The float will meet at Barn Beach at 12 p.m. and will be shuttled by Leavenworth Outdoor Center (LOC). Floaters can bring their own gear or arrange a discounted rental from LOC prior to the event. 

After the float, local Drag Queens and DJs will carry on the party from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Eddy at LOGE Downtown, with a lip sync battle, music, and a raffle. Wenatchee Pride will also be tabling at the event.

Community members Shea Miller and Ashley Peterson started the float four years ago. Miller saw a need for a local pride event and called on her friend for help.

“I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, and we have a huge, huge pride event out there. When I moved here, I kind of just didn't see anything like that happening in Leavenworth. And so I really just wanted to create that space for people to come and feel safe in a good community that accepts them,” said Miller.

Miller noticed the popularity of floating the river amongst her friends and saw it as the perfect Leavenworth-style pride event, where both new and experienced floaters could celebrate together in nature. Peterson helped get LOC to contribute kayaks and paddleboards the first year, as well as shuttle each year.

“I really just wanted to create that space for people to come and feel safe in a good community that accepts them,” said Miller.

According to Miller, the first event had a great turnout. It has steadily grown over the years, with a group of 30 to 50 people for the float and about 75 people for the afterparty. Now, four years in, Miller and Peterson have organized the event as Leavenworth Pride, with consideration of turning it into a nonprofit organization down the road.

“Seeing the community come together has been the biggest way it's evolved and growing. People want to be a part of it. People want to volunteer. They want to give donations for this raffle and create a space for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Miller.

For now, proceeds will go to Wenatchee Pride, a nonprofit organization that hosts an annual Pride Festival and other organized group events and provides resources for the 2SLGBTQIA+ in Chelan County.

Leavenworth Pride is looking for raffle donations, volunteers, and sponsors for the event. Those interested in getting involved can email prideleavenworth@gmail.com.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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