Spencer Pride is proud to be partnering once again with Owen County Garden Club for Sweet Owen Community Clean-Up Month. As a part of that effort, which was announced last month, we’ve been encouraging everyone in Owen County to clean up roadside trash all month long.
The Garden Club and Spencer Pride each held their own days where volunteers from the organizations were encouraged to come out in groups to participate. There have been additional organizations who have taken up the call to do these types of events as well.
In addition to the larger volunteer days, a significant amount of work has been done by individuals within the community. If you’ve seen black bags setting along the roadside this month, it was likely due to the clean-up efforts of local citizens who’ve been participating and taking advantage of the ability to dispose of this roadside trash absolutely free.
We hope that this effort both beautifies the county as well as shows our youth the importance of leaving the world a better place than we found it.
We are very excited to share our current vendor list for the marketplace at the 2017 Spencer Pride Festival. This list will be updated weekly until our event on Saturday, June 3. As you can see, we already have a fantastic marketplace developing for our 11th annual festival.
On Sunday, April 2, volunteers met for our monthly meeting to plan and organize the upcoming Spencer Pride Festival. The meeting was well-attended. Our demolition work day was the same afternoon, so we had to relocate our meeting to the courthouse lawn because the commUnity center wasn’t yet cleaned and put back together. Thankfully, the sun was out and it was a beautiful, bright Spring afternoon for a meeting outdoors.
After going through the usual business updates and general discussion about the festival, the 3 committees broke out for focused conversation about our key areas. Updates from each committee are below.
The entire group also discussed 3 other topics of importance.
Decorations for the stage: We discussed this for a short period of time to generate some ideas. Ultimately it was agreed that final decisions on decorations could wait until the May volunteer meeting.
T-Shirt designs: The t-shirt design needs to be drafted so that we can start the process of having the shirts made. We will reach out to some local artists to see if they are interested in helping to design the shirt. We need their ideas within 2 weeks in order to meet our timeline for the shirts. The goal is to order the shirts by no later than May 1st.
Cardinal Spirits partnership: Cardinal Spirits (a local distillery in Bloomington) will be selling cocktails at Spencer Pride. This is a first for us. We believe that we can maintain a family-friendly atmosphere while allowing responsible drinking as well. We will have Cardinal set up their canopy and a pride lounge (the only area where drinking will be permitted) on the south lawn.
If you are interested in helping plan our event, or if you are interested in volunteering at our event in any way, please send us an e-mail at info@SpencerPride.org and we will be happy to get you the necessary information to get started. We’d love to have you join our family. It’s fun and it makes a difference! In May, we will be meeting every Sunday from 4-6 to work on the festival plans.
The Welcoming Committee discussed the following:
Decorations for the welcome booth in order to make it more visible. Purchases will be made over the coming month to support this.
We need to get the right supplies for our roaming 50-50 sales.
The strategy for updating the informational kiosk. Some things need to be printed in advance from VistaPrint for weather-protection. Other items (such as sponsor recognition) we aren’t able to discuss until we get closer to the event and understand the number of sponsors we will need to advertise on the kiosk.
We will not be using the merchandise cart on the lawn; instead, it will be used by the Activities committee as a prominent location from which to sell Dunk Tank tickets on the street.
The billboard design is complete and was sent to Lamar.
The festival fliers will be designed by a local artists (who is also one of our volunteers). The plan is to have the fliers printed locally and ready to distribute to our volunteers at the May meeting.
The festival program will need to be printed by mid-May. Volunteers will review last year’s program for recommended changes and the committee will finalize plans at the May volunteer meeting.
The Activities Committee made the following decisions:
Contracts are ready to be signed and paid this week for Bloomington Aeriology and PartyZone Rentals. Bloomington Aeriology will be participating in Spencer Pride for the first time and will be doing both performance as well as lessons throughout the day. PartyZone will be providing a Bounce House, 3-in-1 Sports Challenge, Deluxe Slip-n-Slide, Toddler Town, and Dunk Tank. These will all be placed on Market Street.
The dunk tank will utilize the old merchandise cart. This will help bring some shade to the street for our volunteers staffing this booth, plus it will draw more attention because of the large umbrella.
We need to spend time soliciting for raffle donations. We do not have many items as of this time.
The Marketplace Committee, which has a lighter load that doesn’t kick into high gear until May, discussed the following next steps:
We need to update the vendor communication letter, which will be sent Mid-May. We will likely also send a reminder e-mail this month to those who have already registered, stating that the set-up information will be coming in Mid-May.
We need to update the layout based on some of the changes that have occurred this year. After that is complete, we can begin making vendor assignments.
The inventory of our canopies and tables needs to take place in the next 4-5 weeks.
On Sunday, April 2, nearly 15 Spencer Pride volunteers spent the day doing some really nasty work at the commUnity center. They hammered, sawed, pried, & shoveled to clean the old paneling, plaster, & other surfaces off of the 130-year old brick walls in the back of the center.
This effort was undertaken to help further prepare the space (hopefully for the upcoming installation of air conditioning) & to continue our effort to restore & beautify our building.
This was a disgusting job, but our dedicated volunteers went all-in. They donned appropriate safety gear, tools, & set to work on the task. Our original goal was to expose as much of the walls in the back room that we were able to do.
In the end, ALL of the walls were completely cleared. Volunteers also removed one wall entirely near the back of the center & cleaned up some of the mess out back.
We always say that we have amazing volunteers. This is just one more example of their passion & dedication. Being paid with nothing but donuts, home-made cinnamon rolls, & pizza, our resilient crew knocked down our expectations!
When we first asked the public to provide name recommendations for our new mascot, we had no idea how many would come flooding in! Below are a list of the names we’ve collected from suggestions thus far (we started on March 15th). We will continue to update this list through April 30th. In May, Spencer Pride volunteers will narrow the list down to 5 or 10 ideas. Then, on June 3rd at the 2017 Spencer Pride Festival, attendees will be given the opportunity to vote. By the end of the festival, our mascot will finally have a name!
If you have any suggestions you’d like us to add to our list for consideration, e-mail them to us at info@SpencerPride.org or send them to us via Facebook Messenger.
Help us name our new mascot! Our mascot prefers the pronouns “They/Them/Their.” They are a raccoon.
Did you know that a group of raccoons is called a “gaize?”
Please suggest names by commenting on our post on the Spencer Pride Facebook page or by sending your suggestions via e-mail to info@SpencerPride.org. We are taking suggestions from now until April 31st.
This past Sunday, volunteers met for the monthly Spencer Pride planning meeting. Although planning for our event begins immediately after the prior year’s event ends, the work of our volunteers gets more intense in the months leading up to the festival. As in past years, March is when things truly start to heat up.
A variety of things are happening with the festival planning. Some general highlights include:
We have finalized our contract for this year’s billboards. We will not only have 1 billboard in the Town of Spencer, but we will also have one at the Cloverdale exit along I-70!
We reviewed current vendor and sponsor sign-ups and encouraged volunteers to focus heavily on soliciting last year’s participants (since they are typically an easier group to firm up). We have 43 vendors signed up so far for the 2017 festival. As a part of this conversation, we discussed talking points for soliciting prior participants as well as new organizations and businesses.
All Town and County-related approvals have been granted. We still need to work to secure our entertainment permit from the State Fire Marshall.
We have finalized the design of our new mascot. It is a raccoon and will be named as a part of some type of activity at this year’s festival. Our mascot will remain gender-neutral and prefers to go by the pronouns “they,” “them,”, and “their.”
In addition, there are three work streams focused on specific aspects of the festival. Those teams include Activities, Marketplace, & Welcoming. Each team has a volunteer lead that assists in coordinating the efforts of that particular group. Key items of discussion during Sunday’s team meetings are noted below.
The team agreed upon some rental items that they would like to see back again this year, such as the Dunk Tank & Slip-n-Slide. They will continue to review options and will keep in mind the need to have things for people of all ages.
There was discussion about having other engaging activities as well, such as having wandering carnival-type entertainers and such.
The team discussed the Prism All-Ages Activity Zone and will be reaching out to Prism to coordinate.
The team is planning the Pet Pride Parade to take place at 12:30. Prizes need to be determined as well as the parade general theme.
The team began discussing raffles, but this will be a larger topic next month.
A variety of entertainers have been confirmed already, including Quarryland, Different Drummers, Sarah Jayne, Adam Riviere, Kali Bently, & Zumba with Nancy Emerson. Others have expressed an interest but we are still working to confirm.
The team discussed entertainment logistics (sound, etc.) and will continue to iron out the details.
Vicci Laine will coordinate the drag show again this year, as she has in years past.
The team discussed ideas for improving vendor setup communication
The team discussed the challenges of assigning booth locations
The team agreed on key timelines for communication with vendors
At next month’s meeting, this team will focus heavily on the draft of the vendor setup communication (which will go out in Mid-May) and on developing a draft of the booth assignments (utilizing the same basic layout as 2016)
The team discussed how to best distinguish the Welcome Booth from all other booths, to draw more attention to it
The team discussed how to improve the handling of money related to raffle sales, to make it safer and easier for those selling tickets
The team will reach out to a fellow volunteer who may be able to help design this year’s program.
The team will reach out to a local printer to determine if we want to print our fliers there
The team discussed plans for the Vendor Reception Area
At next month’s meeting, this team will focus on the design of the programs and fliers
Everyone is always welcome to help us plan our event. It takes a lot of work to make our fabulous event possible and every volunteer truly makes a big difference. For those individuals who are interested in volunteering in some way to assist our work, please reach out to us at info@SpencerPride.org and we will put you in touch with Judi Epp, our volunteer coordinator.
We are excited to announce that this year’s Spencer Pride Festival theme will be “We The People.”
This theme was selected after soliciting our volunteers & the general public for ideas. As always, we were looking for creative, family-friendly themes for our event. After receiving approximately 10 suggestions, our volunteers combed through them at our February monthly meeting. We discussed the pros & cons of each idea. Ultimately, the volunteers decided to narrow the list down to two themes & then let the Spencer Pride Board of Directors make the final choice.
The top two themes sent for consideration to the Board were “We The People” & “Unity in Diversity.” Both were great ideas & the Board was somewhat dividing initially. Ultimately, “We The People” seemed the most appropriate theme for this year’s event.
The 2017 Spencer Pride Festival takes place on Saturday, June 3 from 10 AM – 5 PM on the downtown square of the Owen County Courthouse in Spencer.
If you’d like to join us in planning for this year’s festival, please let us know. You can e-mail us at info@SpencerPride.org so that we can add you to our e-mail distribution list. We meet on the first Sunday of every month at the Spencer Pride commUnity center from 4 – 6 PM. This month’s meeting will take place this Sunday, March 5.
On February 27, after the first night of the LGBTQ+ miniseries “When We Rise,” Indianapolis television station RTV6 featured Spencer Pride in a segment that highlights our work in helping to make Indiana a more welcoming place for all people. Paris Lewbell, an investigative reporter from RTV6 (also called “The Indy Channel”) selected Spencer Pride for this opportunity after learning how Spencer Pride has ‘become an emerging leader in LGBT equality in Indiana.”
We were thrilled to get this attention from one of the largest television stations in Indiana.
To see the full segment, which includes an interview with Spencer Pride’s president Jonathan Balash, please visit the link below. In addition to Jonathan, several other volunteers are shown in the segment.
We are now accepting applications for the 2nd annual Spencer Pride/White River Valley PFLAG scholarship!
This scholarship is intended for high school seniors who are pursuing post-secondary education. Individuals who have worked to move LGBTQ+ equality forward in their school, community, or faith organization are encouraged to apply.
On Friday evening, Spencer Pride was honored in Indianapolis as a 2017 “Champion of Diversity.” Spencer Pride was among several organizations & individuals who received recognition at the 12th annual Champions of Diversity awards banquet. The event is coordinated by Indiana Minority Business Magazine & the Indianapolis Recorder. The banquet took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. Hundreds of people were present for the evening’s festivities, which included the dinner, awards ceremony, & an after-party. Although there was fear of an icy, wintry mix coming into the region that evening, thankfully the weather held out so that attendees could safely travel to and from the event.
RTV6’s news anchor Rafael Sanchez presented the award to Jonathan Balash, Spencer Pride’s president.
“It was such an honor to be able to accept the award on behalf of our Spencer Pride volunteers,” said Balash. “To hear someone speak about our work from that stage, in that forum, was a wonderful feeling.”
In addition to Jonathan, a variety of other Spencer Pride volunteers were also in attendance at the event, including Jacob Balash, director Cathy Wyatt & her husband Dan Wyatt, director Dylan Heaslet, director Eric Jones, & Lacey Newton.
The award is proudly on display at the Spencer Pride commUnity center.