SPENCER, INDIANA – The 13th annual Spencer Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 1st. The well-known rural LGBTQ+ pride festival is the largest event held on the square of the Owen County Courthouse. This year’s festival will take place at a new time: noon to 7:00 PM. The change in time is meant to capture a wider audience, especially those who work during the daytime on Saturday. Admission & parking for the festival are both free & the public is invited to join in the festivities. The event is entirely “-focused” according to its organizers.
“Family-focused means that its not just tolerant of all ages, but that there are things to engage individuals of all ages as well,” said Spencer Pride president Jonathan Balash. “It’s important to us that families can come & spend the day in downtown Spencer without certain members of the family getting bored. At Spencer Pride, we have something for everyone.”
The Spencer Pride Festival includes live entertainment throughout the day. This year, live entertainment will be featured on the Ivy Tech main stage on the courthouse lawn as well as in the Gathering Place of the Spencer Pride commUnity center, which is located at 17 E. Franklin Street adjacent to the courthouse. In total, the 2019 Spencer Pride Festival offers 14 hours of live musical entertainment, entirely free for festival attendees to enjoy. The festival has an eclectic line-up of entertainers, from local bands Inkwell Moon and The Trip to singer/songerwriters like SarahJayne and Window to My Soul. Other entertainers include Quarryland Men’s Chorus, Dino, & Ktea. The annual Spencer Pride drag show will take place at 6:00 PM, however individuals interested in drag should plan to be at the festival by 5:30 to see the inaugural Spencer Pride amateur drag show.
The Spencer Pride Pet Parade, presented by Elanco, will kick off at 3:30 PM. All pets are welcome to attend alongside their leashed, & well-mannered human companions. This will be the fourth year of this event, which includes a short walk or “parade” around the courthouse before wrapping up on the Ivy Tech main stage on the south lawn.
In addition to entertainment, the festival will feature a large marketplace including more than 110 booths. Marketplace vendors include retailers for shopping & organizations for learning. Vendors will be spread throughout the courthouse lawn on all four sides, plus Market Street & eastbound Franklin Street. A huge array of food vendors will be available to serve attendees everything from snocones & fried pickles to tenderloin sandwiches & Bavarian pretzels. Civilian Brewing Corps & Cardinal Spirits will be selling alcoholic beverages in the Pride Lounge, located on the south lawn for responsible drinkers 21 & older.
Local businesses such as Boston Scientific & Catalent Biologics will be on hand to share information about available job opportunities in the region. IU Health Positive Link will be providing free HIV Screening. Ivy Tech will be staffing the First Aid Station, newly relocated onto the courthouse lawn for 2019.
Camden’s Carnival, which is the festival’s family fun area located on Market Street, will house a variety of games, inflatables, & activities for all-ages. Most popular among the inflatables is the deluxe slip-n-slide, which is a must-do on a hot June afternoon. Bloomington Airiology will be returning to the carnival again this year to demonstrate their aerial silk performances & to provide free lessons to those interested in learning about the fascinating skill of working with aerial silks. The Spencer Pride Youth group Iris, who recently held an alternative prom attended by more than 80 LGBTQ+ & ally youth from throughout south central Indiana, will have a booth in the carnival for youth to hang out & learn more about that growing part of the Spencer Pride organization.
One of the most engaging activities each year are the “choose-your-own raffles” which feature thousands of dollars of items for just $1 per raffle ticket. The raffles will be located in the meeting room of the Spencer Pride commUnity center for the second year in a row. Also located in the commUnity center will be official Spencer Pride merchandise, including limited edition 2019 t-shirts with a design created by local artist Grant Shorter. Of course, Spencer Pride’s retail shop, Unity, will also be open throughout the event. Unity focuses on selling locally made items from within Indiana. It has become aintegral part of the shopping experience in downtown Spencer, along with the Dragonfly Gallery & the recently opened Juniper Gallery, both of whom are supporters of the Spencer Pride Festival. Outside of the Spencer Pride commUnity center, the organization’s volunteers will be selling rainbow pride merchandise, snocones, & cotton candy (also known as “fairy floss”).
Other activities such as 50-50 drawings & random giveaways will take place throughout the duration of the event.
Pride festivals have a rich history within the civil rights movement of the LGBTQ+ community. Spencer Pride’s event offers a special blend of diversity & celebration that is less commonly associated with rural communities in conservative states like Indiana. The Spencer Pride Festival is the largest rural LGBTQ+ gathering in the state of Indiana & it is the largest small town pride event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, & queer community in the Midwest. Spencer Pride attracts visitors from throughout the the Midwest & beyond.
Spencer, Indiana is a small rural community of approximately 2,400 people. It is located 17 miles west of Bloomington & the beautifulcampus of Indiana University. For thirteen years, Spencer has become more & more known for its passionate LGBTQ+ & ally community. The small town, once known as a conservative riverside community, is now a rural mecca for LGBTQ+ people & their supporters. In 2018, the Spencer Pride Festival brought more than 3,000 people out in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, more than doubling the size of the town itself.
The organization is proud of the growth of their event, the wonderful community that supports it, & the attendees that passionately attend each year.
“Eat some fried food, shop the marketplace, cool off in the slip-n-slide, & dry off on the lawn while enjoying the talents of amazing musical entertainers,” began Judi Epp, one of the organizations’ founders, “What is not to enjoy about Spencer Pride, one of the most fabulous summer festivals in Indiana?”
Spencer Pride is 100% family-focused & welcomes individuals of all ages & backgrounds. Regardless of how you identify, you are welcome at Spencer Pride for a full-day of free, family fun!
The 2019 Spencer Pride Festival is sponsored by Walmart, Boston Scientific, Catalent Biologics, C.H. Douglas & Gray Wealth Management, IU Health, & many more organizations. The historic Tivoli Theatre, WFHB, & Limestone Post are among its media sponsors.
For more information regarding Spencer Pride, Inc., please visit www.SpencerPride.org or send questions to info@SpencerPride.org. You can also find us on Facebook (SpencerPride), Twitter (@SpencerPrideInc), & Instagram (@SpencerPrideInc & @SpencerPrideYouth).