Annual Meeting Has Huge Turnout

The video was a very popular element of the annual meeting

On Sunday, August 5th, fifty-three people came to the commUnity center for Spencer Pride’s Annual General Meeting. The attendees included volunteers as well as individuals from the community who were interested in learning more about the organization’s achievements over the past year.

Lots of refreshments were provided, donated by volunteers & attendees. Four door prizes were drawn throughout the evening. Items included riverboat cruises, a framed print, & two gift baskets from Unity (the retail shop within the Spencer Pride commUnity center).

Joy Hellman shows off her excitement at having been elected to the Board of Directors

President Jonathan Balash kicked off the meeting & served as emcee throughout. Several members of the Board of Directors also presented, including Joy Hellman, Jacob Balash, Cathy Wyatt, Judi Epp, & Dana Beth Evans.

After the initial welcome, a special video was shown depicting the activities & events that volunteers participated over the last year. The nearly 5-minute video was set to the song This is Me from the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman. Throughout the video volunteers were shown holding signs that said ‘There’s a Place for Us,” which was a reference to one of the lyrics & served as the perfect tie-in to the general message that Spencer Pride is a place where everyone can feel accepted & celebrated, regardless of how they identify.

Judi Epp presented during the Annual General Meeting on August 5

Once the video concluded & Kleenex was distributed to aid in the drying of many happy tears, the next item on the evening’s agenda was of a review of major 2018 accomplishments & financial results. This was provided by Jacob, Cathy, & Judi.

  • The organization’s purchase of the Franklin Street building in October was the largest of the accomplishments, however, there were many others as well.
  • Attendance at both the Pride Festival & LGBTQ+ History Month event were higher than ever. The participation of downtown businesses, in particular, skyrocketed 143% over last year.
  • More than 10,500 volunteer hours were logged last year. Using the standard accounting method based on Indiana’s per-hour volunteer rate, this places a value of approximately $220,500 on these hours. 43 individuals volunteered with Spencer Pride for the first time this past year.
  • The organization received considerable media attention this year. Front cover articles were featured in both the Spencer Evening World as well as the Bloomington Herald-Times. Significant emphasis was also placed on the organization’s inclusion in the annual Boston Pride Guide, which has tens of thousands of hard copies distributed throughout New England alongside hundreds of thousands of views online.
  • Financially, the organization did quite well. Excluding the purchase of the building & associated improvements (all of which had not been a part of the original budget), the expenses were $443 more than planned & the income was $4,205 more than planned. Based upon what we had expected when the budget was approved last August, these numbers are fantastic.
  • When including the purchase of the building, expenses were over the plan by $31,326 & the income was $23,155 more than planned. This excludes debt taken on due to the mortgage with OCSB & a note from an anonymous supporter. These will be amortized over the life of the loans.
  • Although the purchase & investment in the building was not part of the original budget, it was a major accomplishment for the past year. The organization was able to make the investment (utilizing financing from Owen County State Bank) while still maintaining confidence in our ability to sustain ourselves. Almost $19,000 in Rainbow Capital Campaign funds were brought in to support the effort.
  • FY2018 brought in more income from sponsorships, grants, & donations than any prior year.
  • Two funds were created with the Owen County Community Foundation (one capital & one sustaining)
The 2019 Officer Slate was approved unanimously.

After reviewing 2018, elections took place for the addition of Joy Hellman to the Board of Directors and for the affirmation of the existing slate of Officers to continue for another year. The slate included Jonathan Balash as president, Katie Zuber as secretary, & Judi Epp as treasurer. All of the votes were unanimous in favor of these recommendations.

An overview of current & available leadership positions was provided by Dana Beth. The only current open position is the External Events Coordinator. This role will be responsible for the registration & planning for all events that Spencer Pride volunteers attend.

A newly created role, the Outreach Lead, has been filled by Cathy Wyatt. This role will manage how the organization engages & supports other organizations & events.

Next, the discussion focused on 2019 & beyond.

Jonathan discussed changes to the organization’s scope of work, noting that periodically it’s healthy to reevaluate how the organization spends its financial & volunteer resources. At the recent Strategic Planning Retreat, the Board made a few key decisions:

  • Focusing on one annual event, the Spencer Pride Festival. This is the event Spencer Pride is most well-known for & it has the biggest impact on community engagement. ‘A Night at the Tivoli,’ the organization’s LGBTQ+ History Month film event, will no longer be a public event beginning in 2019. Instead, an appreciation event will be planned at the Tivoli Theatre for volunteers.
  • Focusing on in-house educational opportunities, such as the recent Substance Abuse 101 training & the upcoming Intersex 101 class on October 15th. Spencer Pride will no longer offer diversity panels beginning in 2019. Similar panels are available locally from other organizations. Spencer Pride volunteers already participate in those other panels so it was get that we were offering something that wasn’t needed.
  • Focusing on Iris, Spencer Pride’s youth group. Iris is an important part of our organization & will be further invested in to ensure that it continues to be a safe, celebratory place for our youth. The scholarship Spencer Pride has offered for the last 3 years will no longer be available beginning in 2019. Instead, those funds will be utilized to support the higher education pursuits of youth involved directly with Iris.
  • As a result of these changes, the scope of the organization now encompasses four main areas: the Spencer Pride commUnity center, Spencer Pride Festival, Iris Youth Group, & Outreach.
  • Strategic Goals for 2019 were outlined. They include:
    • Promote 50 from 50 campaign (more information about this campaign can be found on our website or by contacting Judi@SpencerPride.org.)
      Refine & Manage Outreach Strategy (this will be defined by the Board & managed by the new Outreach Lead)
      Invest in Volunteer Engagement & Development
    George Brinson shows off the meeting rules during the event.
  • Long-term Strategic Goals were also recently updated to reflect the current direction of the organization:
    • Be an LGBTQ+ Advocate
      Increase utilization of commUnity center
      Complete rehabilitation of commUnity center
      Cultivate financial sustainability
      Support local LGBTQ+ youth

    Judi then presented the FY2019 budget, which included $95,549 in income & $78,215 in expenses. The budget was unanimously approved.

    And finally, brief updates were given on festival committee opportunities and our upcoming LGBTQ+ History Month Activities.

    The meeting concluded at 6:01 PM. Many individuals expressed positive feedback about the event, due to the transparency & depth of the information provided. Individuals were especially touched by the volunteer video.

    Annual General Meeting This Sunday: Public is Welcome

    Each August, we host our Annual General Meeting. Despite the “blah” title, this meeting is a BIG DEAL! We want to show you what YOU have accomplished this year, along with our goals & budget for next year. We’d LOVE it if you would come out & join us!

    Date: Sunday, August 5th

    Time: 4-6 PM

    Location: Spencer Pride commUnity center

    Agenda items:
    – Year-in-Review, including the Financial Summary
    – Officer Elections (for vote)
    – 1-Year & Long-Term Strategic Goals
    – Proposed Budget (for vote)
    – Hot Topics (LGBTQ History Month Activities, Festival Committee Sign-ups)

    Join your volunteer friends to celebrate the year & see what’s in store for the next, & bring a new friend along!

    We will have refreshments & door prizes, too!

    Will You Be One of Our “50 From 50”?

    Do you believe in making Indiana a safer & more welcoming place? Then join Spencer Pride as one of the “50 From 50!”

    What is “50 From 50?”

    You know Spencer Pride focuses on educating the public about rural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, & queer (LGBTQ+) people & issues to cultivate a community of compassion & celebration for all people.  By having 50 supporters join our fundraising campaign & donate a minimum of $50 a month, it will allow the day-to-day operations of Spencer Pride to continue without extra effort & free up grant & donation funds for expanding our programs & the rehab of our new commUnity center building.

    We know you want to see us continue this important work.  It couldn’t be easier to help us do that, & your donation is tax deductible!

    Just click on the link below, select the Donate Now button in the top righthand corner, then check the repeat monthly box.  Fill out the form & your payment information, & you’re all set!

    Donate

    Lots of Sunshine & Pride at 2018 Festival

    The 2018 Spencer Pride Festival took place this past Saturday in downtown Spencer. An estimated 3,000 people filled the courthouse lawn & adjacent streets shopping, participating in different activities, & enjoying the live, local entertainment from the Ivy Tech Stage. The day was sunny & warm, making it ideal for an early June outdoor event.

    COMMUNITY CENTER ACTIVITY PARTICIPATION INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY OVER 2017

    The Spencer Pride commUnity center, the local headquarters of festival organizer Spencer Pride, Inc., was open throughout the event & hosted many different activities. 1,400 people entered the doors of the commUnity center that day.

    Nearly 30 raffles were drawn in the afternoon, with participation in the raffles doubling from the prior year. The $4200 worth of raffle items were all donated by individuals & businesses in the region, including many of the vendors of the commUnity center’s retail shop, Unity.

    Some of the big raffle winners included: Glenda Breeden (hot air balloon ride for 2), Debbie Messer (rainbow Adirondack chair), Sienna Bates (rainbow Adirondack chair), Dan Bixler (2 tickets to James Taylor & Bonnie Raitt concert), Amanda Terrell (overnight stay for 2 at the French Lick Resort, plus $100 food voucher), Jane Rubeck (Cardinal Spirits Distillery Tour & Bottle Set), & Pauline Allan (4 tickets to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum plus A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo Book).

    Two 50-50 drawings took place. Nearly $400 in prize money was awarded. One of the recipients was Big Brothers Big Sisters, a local not-for-profit organization.

    New this year was “Drag Queen Storytime,” which took place at 2:30 in the afternoon in the commUnity center’s Gathering Place. Spencer Pride president Jonathan Balash said that he anticipated only about 10 children to participate in this first-ever event. Much to his surprise & happiness, more than 30 kids took part in the reading.

    “Seeing so many youths attentively watching Pat Yo Weave read The Princess & the Pizza was wonderful!” Balash said exuberantly. “So many kids filled the Gathering Place that there was hardly room for their parents. They had to stand at the edges of the room, spilling into both the meeting room & shop.”

    Rainbow Crossing guards were attentively standing at the corner of Main Street & Franklin Street all day, ensuring that festival attendees could pass safely across the street to get to & from the commUnity center. Current construction in downtown Spencer has increased the utilization of Franklin Street & Spencer Pride organizers wanted to do everything possible to prevent any accidents. The Rainbow Crossing guards proved to be a big success as there were no safety
    incidents that day. The volunteers serving as guards proudly waved rainbow flags as they escorted people along the crosswalk.

    FESTIVAL MARKETPLACE WAS EXPANSIVE

    The marketplace of festival booths was the largest in Spencer Pride history: 105 organizations participated this year. Most of the food vendors were located in the parking lot of the courthouse. Food vendors included Spencer Main Street, who sold out of their famous barbecue during the festival. Meadow’s Bakery sold fresh pretzels & Geno’s Kettle Corn offered a diverse array of popcorn, including their rainbow mix. There were many vendors offering typical fair foods, like elephant ears & nachos. New this year was a vendor selling vegetarian chili. Nate’s Candy Jar offered a special rainbow fudge to visitors of their booth.

    More than 50 booths offered items & services for sale, with the balance of the marketplace consisting of not-for-profit organizations who used the festival to share information about their missions. While there were many vendors who had participated in past Spencer Pride Festivals, there were also many new organizations & businesses represented including Civilian Brewing Corp & Friends of the Forest.

    Moon Goddess Arts won the ‘most colorful booth’ prize. Youth Services Bureau of Monroe County won for ‘most engaging booth.’ Festival attendees could be seen wearing rainbow “Safe Place” sunglasses throughout the grounds all afternoon. These were one of the many prizes available at the YSB booth. Both organizations will have their 2019 vendor fees waived due to their efforts this year.

    Festival sponsor IU Health Bloomington offered free HIV testing throughout the day. The confidential testing took place at the Tivoli Theatre thanks to a partnership between the theatre & Spencer Pride organizers. IU Health employees were also on hand to answer questions about PrEP, a tool proven highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.

    Cardinal Spirits managed the Pride Lounge for the second year, responsibly serving their locally-made spirits to attendees age 21 & over.

    ENTERTAINMENT & OTHER ALL-AGES ACTIVITIES CONTINUE POPULARITY

    The main stage of the festival, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington, featured a diverse array of artists. From the youthful rock of Inkwell Moon to the worldly sounds of Adam Riviere, there was something for everyone this year. The Trip returned for their second year at Spencer Pride, increasing their audience this year due to their growing popularity & recent appearance on Indianapolis television station WISHTV. The Quarryland Men’s Chorus, which has become a Spencer Pride staple over the years, introduced their new director to the crowd. Different Drummer Belly Dancers, The Retrovales, Owen County Civic Theatre, Zumba with Nancy Emerson, & the soulful sound of Window to My Soul rounded out the lineup.  Stable Studios provided the high quality sound equipment throughout the day.

    The day began with the fourth annual Pet Pride Parade, which included a couple of dozen contestants. “Max’ a furry canine companion, was the winner this year. Max won a basket of goodies donated by Town & County Veterinary Clinic in Spencer.

    The culmination of the day’s entertainment was the Ladies of Spencer Pride Drag Show, which hosted 5 queens this year. The Spencer Pride Festival is the only place in the Midwest where a drag show is performed on a county courthouse lawn.

    This year, festival organizers re-branded their Market Street family fun area as Camden’s Carnival. The carnival, which was named for the organization’s gender non-binary raccoon mascot, encompassed most of the street to the south of the courthouse. A huge 8-foot tall painting of Camden stood at the center of the carnival, eagerly awaiting photo opportunities with carnival participants. Camden’s Carnival consisted of multiple games, inflatable activities, Aerialogy, & a small vintage auto show. The carnival was a huge hit with the crowd this year which continued to include an increasing number of families. Face painting & the deluxe slip-n-slide were the most popular elements of the carnival this year.

    VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED

    Jacob Balash was presented with Spencer Pride’s “Volunteer of the Year” award by the organization’s leadership. Judi Epp, treasurer & volunteer coordinator, noted that Balash’s contribution was mainly focused on the renovation of the commUnity center.

    “Jacob volunteered countless hours to get the center ready for opening. From the day we closed on the purchase of our new building, we had completed the 1st floor renovations within 4 months. Much of that was due to Jacob’s passion & persistence.”

    Epp elaborated further: “Jacob worked from morning to night many days, ensuring that we were ready for the next contractor or next phase of work. Our goal was not an easy one to accomplish, but thanks to volunteers like Jacob, we completed the work on time.”

    “Spencer Pride is 100% volunteer-fueled, & without the help of dedicated volunteers like Jacob, we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” Epp concluded.

    REFLECTING ON THE FESTIVAL

    Volunteers at Spencer Pride, Inc., were exuberant with the success of this year’s festival.

    “With the growth in attendance this year we saw many new faces & increased participation in our activities,” said secretary Katie Zuber. “Many of the new attendees were young families who have heard about the family-focused & welcoming Spencer Pride Festival. We hope that they enjoyed their first event with us & that this will be the first of many more to come.”

    Zuber encouraged individuals who attended the event to share their feedback via their online festival survey, which can be found at www.SurveyMonkey.com/r/SpencerPride.

    Sponsors of the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival included: Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, Walmart, French Lick Resort, Tivoli Theatre, BloomingOUT, & Spencer Evening World, among many more.

    The next Spencer Pride Festival will be held on June 1, 2019, and will be the 13th annual event. Interested individuals are encouraged to stay up-to-date on Spencer Pride’s work by continuing to visit their website and Facebook pages.

    Spencer Pride organizers expressed appreciation for attendees, vendors, & sponsors of the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival. It was the best attended & most engaging Spencer Pride event yet.
    More information about Spencer Pride and the Spencer Pride Festival can be found at throughout our website.

     

    Spencer Downtown Businesses Increase Support for 2018 Festival

    One sign of the progress that Spencer Pride is making in the local community is certainly the number of downtown businesses who have chosen to participate in the festival marketplace.    When we first began our festival, that number was zero.  Over the years, it has steadily increased.  This year, we more than doubled the number of downtown supporters!

    Each year, businesses are solicited to participate in our festival marketplace.  Businesses with a home in downtown Spencer, however, generally aren’t interested in having a booth on the courthouse lawn since they already have their business nearby.  Instead, we approach those businesses with a different offer for participation:  for just $25, we will list them on our festival map so that everyone knows that they are supporters of the festival.  This helps encourage the thousands of festival attendees to visit these locations.  In addition to recognition on the festival map, this year these businesses were also able to get brand-new decals for their shop windows to proudly advertise their support of Spencer Pride.

    In 2017, 7 downtown businesses participated in the festival.  This year the number jumped to a whopping 17!  This is due to both the increasing appreciation of our event as well as the revitalization of the Spencer downtown.  The complete list of downtown participants in the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival is listed below.

    We really appreciate the support of all of these businesses & strongly encourage festival attendees to visit everyone on the list frequently!

     

    All About You Salon

    Brown & Associates

    Casida Barber Shop

    Civilian Brewing Corp.

    Dragonfly Gallery (also a sponsor & donor to our raffle!)

    Historic Tivoli Theatre (also a sponsor & donor to our raffle!)

    Jit’s Thai Bistro

    Owen County Community Foundation

    Owen County Chamber of Commerce

    Owen Valley Winery Tasting Room

    Playhouse Toys & Games

    Presto Printing

    Spencer Pride commUnity center

    Sweet Oven Visitors Center

    Unique Hair Designs

    Watts Law Office (also a sponsor!)

    West & Co. Realty

    Official 2018 Shirts On Sale

    “Remember the Past, Create the Future” is the official theme of the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival.  For our t-shirt design this year, we went a step further.  It’s not enough to simply talk the talk, but to walk the walk.  As a result we appended “Start Now” to the theme & plastered it on the front of the shirt.  On the back, to continue with the action-oriented approach, the design reads “I am working to make Indiana a more welcoming place for ALL people.”

    This year’s shirt is primarily available in a black v-neck as well as a purple crew neck, in sizes small through 4XL.  Some other colors & styles are available in very limited quantities.

    The shirts are available for sale now at the Spencer Pride commUnity center for $19.99 each or 2 for $29.99.  We expect the shirts to be wildly popular at the festival on June 2.

    Excitement Builds for Festival Marketplace

    The Spencer Pride Festival marketplace is bigger than ever this year; it’s also more diverse.  In total, the marketplace consists of 110 organizations & businesses that are spread out throughout the courthouse lawn & adjacent streets.  A complete listing of all vendors participating in this year’s event is located below.

    We spoke with several individuals who will be part of this year’s marketplace to understand why they are participating in the event.

    Matthew Barron, an author, remembered when he first learned about Spencer Pride years ago: “I used to drive through Spencer on my way from my hometown Washington to Terre Haute or Indianapolis,” he said.  “I was shocked when I heard they had a Pride Festival in little old Spencer!  When I was in school, small-town Indiana was not known for its tolerance.”  Why is Matthew participating again this year?  “I’m always looking for opportunities to sell my writing & want to support the festival,” he notes.  “The festival is not as over-stimulating as the Pride Festivals in the larger cities & I meet such a great, diverse bunch of people.”

    In addition to some of his previous books, Matthew will have his brand new urban fantasy graphic novel, The Brute: Chasing Shadows.

    Matthew represents one of about 45 of our vendors who will have items or services for sale at the event.  In addition to the retail vendors, there are many not-for-profit organizations that are providing information about their services, many of which are free or reduced cost.

    Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky will also have a booth.  Leslie Montgomery, Regional Education & Outreach Manager of PPINK, explained what festival-goers can look forward to this year.  “We will have our game wheel where people can test their knowledge about sexual & reproductive health,” Leslie explained.  “They will have an opportunity to share their stories about the care they’ve received at PPINK.”

    Leslie is looking forward to Spencer Pride this year.  “Spencer Pride is among the best Pride events in the state.  They take good care of their vendors…. The people who visit the table are always friendly, welcoming, & supportive.”  Leslie was honored last year when the PPINK was recognized as the “Most Interactive” booth at the festival.

    Becky Brown, who represents the Owen County Humane Society, is excited about participating in the marketplace again this year.  She says that the humane society participates in the festival because “we love supporting our local community and giving our dogs and cats every available opportunity to be adopted into great homes.”  This year the humane society will have information on spay & neutering.  They will also have dogs available for adoption.  Becky recalls one of her favorite memories from a prior festival was watching friend Pam Browning walk a goat around the courthouse while participating in the Pet Pride Parade.

    There will also be booths that represent for-profit enterprises, but that are not actively selling anything at the festival.  These organizations are often there to support the LGBTQ community & drive awareness of their brand.

    Oscar Saucedo is an employee of Boston Scientific & a member of their employee resource group PACE.  Oscar said that they participate each year in order to support Diversity & Inclusion.  Last year was Oscar’s first year at Spencer Pride (although Boston Scientific PACE has been a supporter for several years).  Oscar found the event “eye opening on how great & family-oriented a small-town pride festival could be.”

    At the Boston Scientific PACE booth, there will be information on the organizations D&I program.  There will be medical device information & games.  They will also have an on-site talent acquisition table for community engagement & employment opportunities.

    Boston Scientific PACE is also a sponsor of this year’s event.

    In addition to the booths in the marketplace, there is a significant increase in the number of businesses downtown that have chosen to advertise as supporters of the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival.  Stay tuned for more information about these businesses on our website.

    The Spencer Pride Festival Marketplace will be open from 10 AM until 5 PM on Saturday, June 2.  For more information about the Spencer Pride Festival, please browse other pages on our website.

     

    2018 Festival Vendors (as of May 26th)

    ACLU of Indiana
    Adam Riviere
    All Wrapped Up / Bonefide Creations
    Americans United for Separation of Church & State
    Area 10 Agency on Aging
    Author Matthew Barron
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana
    BloomingOUT
    Bloomington Meadows Hospital
    Bloomington PRIDE
    Boston Scientific PACE
    BrightStarGlass
    CARDINAL SPIRITS & PRIDE LOUNGE (21 & over)
    Cardinal Stage Company
    Civilian Brewing Corp.
    Cook Group
    Cruise Planners – Naptown Travel
    Denise Dyche State Farm
    DJ’s Crafts & Sweets
    Drunken Bard Creations
    E. Thomasina Marili
    Earth Drops
    Eden Connections / DoTERRA
    First United Church of Bloomington
    French Lick Resort
    Friends of the Forest
    GenderNexus
    Geno’s Kettle Corn
    Grimnir’s Crossroad Kindred
    Indiana Adoption Program
    Indiana Crossroads Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
    Indiana Department of Gender Studies / Kinsey Institute
    Indiana Forest Alliance
    Indiana Health Centers – Owen County
    Indiana Stonewall Democrats
    Indiana Youth Group
    Indy Pride, Inc.
    Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce/JB Screening, Inc.
    IU Health & Wellness
    IU Health Bloomington – Positive Link
    IVY TECH BLOOMINGTON STAGE
    Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington
    IXE
    Judah Concessions / BellyBuster
    Laci’s Bags
    Larry Harris Quilts
    LifeJourney Church
    Meadows Bakery
    Microblading by Michele
    Middle Way House
    Monroe Co. National Organization for Women (NOW)
    Moon Goddess Arts
    Nate’s Candy Jar
    National Youth Advocate Program
    Newton’s Legacy Woodworking & Engraving LLC
    No Rain No Rainbows
    Osmon Chiropractic Center
    Owen County Civic Theatre
    Owen County Democratic Party
    Owen County Extension Homemakers
    Owen County Humane Society
    Owen County Progressives
    Owen County Public Library Bookmobile
    Paws-Abilities, Inc.
    PFLAG Hanover/Madison
    Pink Zebra
    Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky
    Press Puzzles
    Pride Lafayette, Inc.
    Prism Youth Community
    Proudly Vegetarian
    Putnam Pride Initiative
    Quarryland Men’s Chorus
    Right on Q Concessions
    Rye’s Concessions
    Silky’s Specialty Items
    Spencer Evening World
    Spencer Main Street
    Stable Studios
    Starbucks
    Sue Westhues
    SuPaca Farms, LLC
    The Back Door
    The Well Armed Woman
    This, That, & Mor
    Tivoli Theatre
    Touch of Nature
    Tree Top Terrace Farms
    TREES, Inc.
    Triple M Concessions
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    Uplands PEAK Sanctuary
    Walmart
    WELCOME BOOTH
    White River Valley PFLAG – Spencer Chapter
    Window to My Soul
    Wired Whymsy
    Youth Services Bureau of Monroe County
    ZenWithin

    Spencer Pride Festival Approaching!

    On Saturday, June 2, the family-friendly Spencer Pride Festival returns to downtown Spencer. This year’s event marks the 12th annual Spencer Pride Festival.  This family-friendly & admission-free event is sponsored by Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, IU Health Bloomington, area Walmart stores & many other local businesses & organizations.

    The event, while known as a rural LGBTQ+ pride festival, is open to everyone.  “We welcome all to join us in celebration of our community & its diversity,” says Jonathan Balash, Spencer Pride’s president.  “The festival is an inclusive event for everyone, regardless of how they identify, who they love, how much money they make, or where they live.”  The Spencer Pride Festival is most well known for it’s family-focused activities in a small town setting.

    Rex Hinkle, President of Cook Aviation & Spencer Pride Director, is looking forward to the festival & is pleased with the organization’s success.  “I am so proud to be a part of Spencer Pride.   We have done so much within the community & surrounding areas in service of our mission, which is focused on education of LGBTQ+ issues,” said Hinkle.

    Hinkle is also a member of the Quarryland Men’s Chorus, a very popular group that is returning to Spencer Pride again this year. The chorus’s set is one of many performances in this year’s all-day line-up of live entertainment on the Ivy Tech Stage. Several other prior year’s performers will be returning as well, including the Different Drummer Belly Dancers, Retrovales, Window To My Soul, The Trip, and others.

    The annual pet parade will kick off the festival’s line-up of performances & will begin at its newly scheduled time of 10 am. The public is invited to bring pets, or be in attendance to cheer them on, as these fabulous fashionistas strut their stuff, with their fur-less human companions in tow, around the courthouse for a funny, furry, & lighthearted show to start to the day.

    Adam Rivière will take the Ivy Tech stage by storm with his worldly sounds that will both educate & entertain. “Music was created to celebrate community, and I get that opportunity at Spencer Pride, which makes playing for such wonderful people and a great event all the better!”

    Owen County Civic Theatre will be taking the stage at 1pm, giving everyone a taste of their upcoming musical, “Grease,” with local band, Inkwell Moon, scheduled to perform afterward.

    The “Ladies of Spencer Pride” Drag Show will take place at its usual time of 4pm. The Spencer Pride Festival is the only place in the Midwest where a drag show takes place on the lawn of a county courthouse and is a crowd favorite. A new event, “Drag Queen Storytime,” will be offered in the Gathering Place at the commUnity center, with special guest Pat Yo Weave, at 2:30pm.

    A highlight of the festival each year is the marketplace of vendors. This year’s marketplace will not disappoint as it will be the largest ever for the festival. Over 100 vendors of all kinds will be selling items, cooking up tasty treats & distributing information to attendees. 2500 people are expected to attend this year’s event, maintaining the healthy attendance seen from last year’s celebration.

    As always IU Health Bloomington will be providing free confidential HIV testing throughout the day.

    Camden’s Carnival will be loaded with great options, including a bounce house, toddler town, an all-ages deluxe slip-n-slide, the new addition of games & more! Bloomington Aerialogy will be returning to perform & give aerial silk lessons all afternoon.

    The new Spencer Pride commUnity center will be open during its usual hours from 10 am until 7 pm that day.   On May 22nd Spencer Pride was given the Annual Preservation Award from local civic organization Owen County Preservations.  The award was due to the organization’s establishment of the Spencer Pride commUnity center in the historic I.O.R.M. Lodge building in downtown Spencer.

    During the festival, the commUnity center will be offering its typical fantastic selection of unique items made by local artists and craftspeople. As a special treat for attendees, the commUnity center will also be the hub for the many items being raffled off during the event. An overnight stay for 2 at French Lick Resort, plus breakfast and a spending spree is just ONE of the many amazing items in the raffle.   There will also be 50-50 drawings throughout the afternoon.

    Taking into consideration the increased traffic on Franklin Street due to road construction, pairs of volunteers are teaming up to serve as Rainbow Crossing Guards to ensure safe crossing for festival goers to and from the commUnity center the day of the event.

    The festival is an event coordinated by Spencer Pride, Inc. Spencer Pride is a 100% volunteer-led 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization established in 2007. Volunteers are responsible for everything that the organization does.   Between setup, the festival, & cleanup, volunteers have already committed more than 500 hours to this year’s event. This does not include the hundreds of hours required to plan the annual festival.

    All of this keeps volunteer coordinator Judi Epp quite busy.  “It’s hard, but fulfilling work,” says Epp.  “I feel like the luckiest person in the organization because I get to interact with so many wonderful people.”

    The mission of Spencer Pride is to make Indiana a more welcoming place for all people, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.    For more information about the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival or the other work of Spencer Pride, Inc, browse other pages within our website.

    The Deets about Our 2018 Entertainment

     

    In April the lineup of entertainment for the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival was announced.  This year’s entertainers on the Ivy Tech Bloomington Stage include past favorites & hot new talent as well.  With the festival now less than 2 weeks away, we wanted to provide a further glimpse into who we have on stage this year.

    Moving from its traditional mid-day time to kick off this year’s event will be the Spencer Pride Pet Parade.  This furry, funny, light-hearted event is expected to include dozens of local pets & their fur-less human companions.  At 10:30, attendees will be encouraged to get up and participate in Zumba with Nancy Emerson.  The adrenaline won’t be slowing down when the Different Drummer Belly Dancers take to the stage at 11:00, either.

    Having been unable to attend last year’s festival, Adam Riviere returns to the stage again this year with his worldly sounds that will both educate & entertain. “Music was created to celebrate community, and I get that opportunity at Spencer Pride, which makes playing for such wonderful people and a great event all the better!” says Adam.  We asked him what has been memorable for him about participating in the Spencer Pride Festival.  Besides the other performers & diverse marketplace, Adam’s answer was simple: “what sticks out the most is the joy everyone has being a part of it.”  He continues, “The connections everyone makes being at Spencer Pride are tremendous.  I hear vendors mentioning how much they achieve being there compared to other events due to the strong community – I couldn’t agree more!”  He wasn’t about to give us a preview of what we should expect this year, however.  “Why ruin the surprise?” he teases.  “But, I will say get ready for some extra shimmy in your near future!”

    At 12:30 Window to My Soul will take stage.  This act features Kali Bentley, a young talent who has been a popular act at the festival for a few years.  Kali performs at Spencer Pride “because it’s a festival that celebrates love, life, & acceptance.”  She recalls a particular moment the first year she performed at Spencer Pride, when she sang an original song titled “Savanna.”  The song was about losing a friend to a car crash.  “After my set,” Kali remembers, “someone in a wheelchair visited me at my booth and spoke to me about how they connected with it.  They’d also been in a similar situation.  It was honestly so difficult not to cry.  They gave me hugs and on their way.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”  Many people who heard her sing “Savanna” undoubtedly felt the same way.

     

    This year, the audience can look forward to some new music from Kali.  She will be singing “A World So Lost,” which is a “commentary on how we cling to anything to make us feel whole, without realizing that we are already whole & perfect the way we are.”

    Owen County Civic Theatre will be taking the stage by storm at 1:00, hopefully giving everyone a taste of their upcoming musical, “Grease.”  This local group performs multiple plays & musicals each year at the historic Tivoli Theatre.

    At 1:30 The Retrovales will be front & center.  This duo includes SarahJayne Balash, who has been involved in the entertainment lineup as both a solo performer as well as part of The Retrovales.  Why has SarahJayne returned so many times? “I’m very thankful to be able to create & do what I love, something that comes so naturally to me, without any prejudice or question,” she says.  “There are people in the world who don’t have that privilege, so if I can share my craft for an event that does so well to bring light to those people, fighting for their fair treatment, then I want to be there.  It’s important to me.”

    The Retrovales plan to sing a variety of music this year, including their recently release EP called “Ghost.”  The EP “documents the emotions that surround loss – sadness, hope, anger, etc. – & we’re going to play some of the tracks this year at the festival along with some of our more popular tracks from our previous album & a Britney Spears cover.”  SarahJayne looks forward to the Spencer Pride Festival each year, but has a special place in her heart for the drag show.  “That’s usually my favorite,” SarahJayne recounts.  “The fact that they are able to incorporate people of all ages into such a fun performance is wonderful.”

    Inkwell Moon is a new group at the festival this year.   The group is a post-hardcore band from the Spencer/Bloomington, Indiana area that has been together for about 6 months.  They are participating this year because they want to give the crowd a great performance & show their support of Spencer Pride & the entire LGBTQ community.  For a sneak peak of what to expect, search Inkwell Moon on any streaming platform to hear their latest EP, “On The Corner Of Isolation & Smooth Ground.”  Inkwell moon will be performing at 2:00 PM.

    Spencer Pride wouldn’t be the same without the ever-popular & entertaining Quarryland Men’s Chorus.  These boys know how to make a crowd smile, laugh, cry, & feel loved.  Quarryland Men’s Chorus will be taking over the courthouse lawn at 2:30 PM.  The June afternoon is expected to be hot, but these guys will really be bringing the heat when they begin to sing.

    At 3:00 The Trip will be bringing their energy to the festival.  This is The Trip’s second time performing at the Spencer Pride Festival.  Their debut at the event in 2017 was well-received & many people voiced their interest in seeing them back in 2018.

    Last, but never the least, the Ladies of Spencer Pride Drag Show will begin at 4 PM to round out the day’s talent.  These ladies will bounce, wiggle, vogue, shake, & saunter throughout the audience making sure that EVERYONE is a part of the moment.  No one needs a royal wedding when these queens take stage & captivate the crowd.    This year’s performers will include: Cassidy Fellows-Sommers, Pat Yo Weave (who is also leading Drag Queen Storytime in the Spencer Pride commUnity center at 2:30 that day), Tia Mirage Hall, Ben Dovah Plenti, & Kassia Brookes.

    2018 Festival Entertainment

    We are very excited to announce the entertainment lineup for this year’s festival.  The lineup of diverse entertainers includes some crowd favorites, such as Quarryland, plus some new exciting performances, such as Inkwell Moon.   All of the entertainers are family-friendly, so plan to spend the entire day enjoying what these entertainers have to offer.

     

    “Color the County” Contest Underway

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Yesterday, we announced an exciting contest for April.  This contest is intended to help promote our beautiful county & encourage individuals to get out & enjoy it this Spring.   Prizes worth hundreds of dollars will be distributed to winners in multiple age categories.

    How do you participate? 

    1. Color a page of one of our coloring books (either the Spencer or Owen County Books). 
    2. Take a selfie (or have someone take a picture of you) with the page on location (at the site of the image you chose)
    3. Post the pic on Facebook and tag @Spencer Pride OR email the image to Jonathan@SpencerPride.org. Be sure to include your name and age with your submission.

    Details

    1. One winner will be chosen in for each of the following age groups:
      • 12 & Under
      • 13-19
      • 20-59
      • 60 & Over
    2. Entries will be accepted from April 1 – April 30, 2018.
    3. Winners will be chosen by Spencer Pride volunteers on May 6 & notified via Facebook or email.
    4. Multiple entries will be accepted per person.

    See below for examples. If you have any additional questions, send us a private message on Facebook or e-mail us at Jonathan@SpencerPride.org.  Thanks!

    Spencer Pride Participates in Regional InterPride Conference

    This past weekend, volunteers from Spencer Pride attended InterPride Region 4’s conference in Detroit, Michigan.   Region 4 includes the following states:  Minnesota, North & South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, & Indiana.

    THE CONFERENCE

    9 individuals attended the conference to represent Spencer Pride. From left to right, they are: Jonathan Balash, Dylan Heaslet, Emily Carol-Black, Judi Epp, Cathy Wyatt, Joy Hellman, Jacob Balash, Kim Fidler, & Luke Brinson.

    This was the first InterPride Region 4 Conference in 10 years.  As such, there was a lot of anticipation about what could be gained by attending, but there wasn’t much experience knowing how reasonable those hopes were.  All the attendees representing Spencer Pride were pleased with the conference & were happy to have participated in the event.

    This year’s regional conference was hosted by Motor City Pride.  Motor City Pride holds an annual festival in Detroit each year.  In 2017, 35,000 people attended their event.  Other organizations represented at the event included: Saint Louis Pride, Hotter than July, Twin Cities Pride, Ann Arbor Pride, Indy Pride, & more.  Nearly 40 individuals were present at the conference, which took place at the Marriott Renaissance Center.  The site is also the international headquarters of General Motors.

    The conference officially began Saturday morning, but the 9 representatives from Spencer Pride made the 5 and ½ hour journey on Friday evening.  While the car ride was long, it was a great kick-off for the volunteers, who spent that time catching up with one another.

    The conference began with a welcome from Dave Wait, InterPride Treasurer & Motor City Pride’s event chair.  He then provided an introduction to InterPride.  Dot Belstler from Twin Cities Pride then reviewed proposed changes to the structure of InterPride & solicited feedback from those in attendance.

    Belstler then presented Developing a Crisis Management Plan for your Festival, which provided a wealth of information about how to establish an effective strategy for ensuring the safety & security of festival attendees.

    The rest of the afternoon was structured around a format called “speed topics.”  Individuals from several organizations presented information on a given topic & then led a discussion with the entire group to learn best practices among the many pride organizations.

    Spencer Pride volunteers are show here with representatives from Saint Louis Pride, Motor City Pride, & Twin Cities Pride. Several other groups were also represented at the conference.

    Jonathan Balash, Spencer Pride President, presented Engaging All Ages in Pride Festivals during the speed topics.  He described how Spencer Pride isn’t just all-ages & family-friendly, but also family-focused as well.  Conference attendees were highly engaged in this topic.

    “I was excited that Spencer Pride was able to have such strong representation at this year’s regional conference,” Balash said.  “The value of meeting face-to-face with representatives from Pride organizations throughout our region cannot be overstated.”

    Balash noted that the best way for attendees to get value out of the event was to know how to ‘scale.’

    “We have to listen to the larger organizations & scale down what they say to see how it applies to us.  The larger organizations have to listen to smaller organizations, such as ours, & scale it up to apply it to their work.  If anyone is unable to ‘scale’ like this, they will miss out on valuable information that is shared.”

    Balash also serves as the regional co-director for InterPride’s Region 4 alongside Belstler.

     

    RESPONSE FROM SPENCER PRIDE’S REPRESENTATIVES

    Attendees representing Spencer Pride were asked what they expected from the conference & what they actually learned there.  Everyone shared a wealth of information & it is apparent that Spencer Pride will gain a lot from having had such a solid representation at the event.

    Several of the Spencer Pride attendees are show here at the entrance to the Detroit People Mover. They used this train to get to dinner on Saturday evening.

    Cathy Wyatt, long-serving director of Spencer Pride (& recently named National PFLAG Great Lakes Regional Director) wanted to learn best practices that would be helpful to Spencer Pride as the festival expands.  A discussion on safety & security made the biggest impact on her & she plans to invest more thought on that subject.

    “I want to think further on how to make safety & security discreet, but effective,” Wyatt said.

    Dylan Heaslet also has a renewed focus on safety after having attended the InterPride regional conference.  Dylan is a member of the Spencer Pride Board of Directors.

    “I felt that it was an incredibly informative conference where I learned more than I expected,” Dylan said passionately.  “The most valuable takeaway I learned is other organizations’ processes of fundraising & generating sponsorships.”

    He also saw very practical things that could be applied to our festival right away, such as the integration of a gaming area to help increase engagement of teenagers at our festival in June.

    Joy Hellman serves as Youth Coordinator for the Iris Youth Group.  She was not sure what to expect from the conference, but she wanted to support the group & spend time bonding with her peers on the Board of Directors.  At the conference, she met representatives from Saint Louis’ pride organization.  They also have an LGBT center with a youth group.  Joy is excited to help build a bridge between Iris and Saint Louis’ youth group.

    Joy had several other takeaways from the event, including new ways to generate income, engage with youth at the festival, & more.

    Luke Brinson is shown here on the Detoit People Mover, a form of public transportation.

    Luke Brinson attended the event wanting to understand more about how other, larger Pride events operated.  He felt like he learned a lot about Motor City Pride & Twin Cities Pride.

    “While some of that information may not be applicable to our own event,” said Brinson, “there are ways we can interpret their strategies to improve our own festival.”

    Luke is the Lead of Iris & took notes on how to increase youth engagement at the festival.

    “I truly did not know what to expect with the conference,” said Jacob Balash.

    Judi Epp & Jacob Balash are excited to have participated in the regional conference & learned so much.

    Balash is a Spencer Pride Director & serves as the Retail Manager for Unity.

    “I am so happy that I was invited.  It was a great team-building experience for our volunteers.  I look forward to continuing to develop relationships with our Spencer Pride volunteers as well as the other people we met who work so diligently on their own festivals through the Midwest.”

    One of the things discussed at the festival was how to integrate more information & support for individuals in domestic violence situations.  Jacob has returned to Spencer with a mission to get those materials readily available in the restrooms at the center, where individuals can discreetly take them.   Balash was inspired by a discussion led by Ebony Janeen from Saint Louis Pride.

    Judi Epp also wants to be sure that we increase our education to help combat domestic violence.

    “I went to the conference hoping to share our experiences & learn from what works for other organizations.   My expectations were exceeded,“ said Epp.

    Besides the efforts related to domestic violence, Epp also learned valuable new information on fundraising & youth engagement.

    Many things were learned throughout the conference, which lasted well into Saturday evening.

    Kim Fidler has been a member of the Spencer Pride board for 5 years.  She was very impressed with the content of the event & the value that everyone gained by participating.  She noted a huge list of things that she learned at the event, but the thing that left the strongest impression on her was the discussion on safety.

    “I hate that we must consider not just the safety of festival attendees, but also threats such as people driving card into crowds as well as active shooters,” Fidler reluctantly shared.  “I am interested in working on a safety plan for the upcoming festival.  I believe that people appreciate the fact that we not only promote diversity, educate others, and are proactive with legislation, but that we also want them to have an awesome, SAFE experience at our festival.”

    CONCLUDING THE CONFERENCE & LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

    The regional conference wrapped up on Sunday morning with a brunch & closing discussion.  Jonathan Balash, as co-director of the region, led those remarks.  The group talked about how to keep connected with one another as well as when & where to host the next regional conference.

    Jonathan Balash speaks to conference attendees about creating a ‘family focused’ event.

    Spencer Pride was one of 3 groups that volunteered to host the next event, which is tentatively planned for March 2019.

    For more information about InterPride, visit www.InterPride.org.  To become involved with the planning of the annual Spencer Pride Festival, e-mail info@SpencerPride.org or show up to one of the monthly volunteer meetings.  The next meeting takes place on Sunday, April 8 from 4 – 6 PM at the Spencer Pride commUnity center meeting room.

    Spencer Pride commUnity center Celebrates Grand Opening in Historic I.O.R.M. Building

    The Unity Shop is the retail space with the commUnity center. It features items made by local artists. There is also a wide variety of vintage resale items for sale.

    Spencer Pride president Jonathan Balash and the volunteers of Spencer Pride, Inc., are proud to announce the opening of their new commUnity center, now located at 17 E. Franklin Street in Spencer.  The center is located in the historic Improved Order of the Red Men (IORM) Lodge Building, which was originally constructed in 1898.

    “We were elated to have been able to purchase such a prominent downtown building”, said Balash.  “We now have more than 9,000 square feet of space to mold into our biggest dreams for our organization.”

    A group of volunteers pose for a quick photo during the moving day on January 28, 2018

    “A majority of the demolition and relocation of the retail space was accomplished by our wonderful volunteers,” said Judi Epp, Spencer Pride’s Treasurer.

    During 2017, Spencer Pride volunteers logged 6,531 hours throughout the various programs run by the organization, including the commUnity center.  In January of 2018, volunteers donated 1,114 hours, primarily involving their work on the new building.    Volunteers worked to preserve the historic features of the building, while making necessary changes to transform the building into a functioning space for the community.  Volunteer work days were scheduled throughout the last couple of months of 2017. The final moving date from the former location Market Street took place on January 28th, 2018.

    Numerous local contractors were also engaged in the work at the new facility.  This was coordinated by Spencer Pride Director & Retail Manager, Jacob Balash.   Work will continue on other areas of the building.  Phase I, which mostly included the transition of existing operations, is now complete.

    More Spencer Pride volunteers pose for a photo during the January 28 moving day.

    In addition to the onsite work at the facility, the Spencer Pride Board of Directors has been working with Springpoint Architects out of Bloomington, Indiana, to conduct a feasibility study on the structure.  This study will be used to guide the organization in developing the building.  The feasibility study is expected to conclude within the next two weeks.

    Phase II, which includes restorative exterior work on the building façade including replacement of all windows & doors,  will be completed during 2018.  A new interior stairwell will also be included within the rear of the center.  During demolition work at the site, a historic stairwell was uncovered.  In order to meet new code requirements, architects aided in designing a new staircase for the space.

    Phase III, which includes the restoration of the 2nd story & the development of 3 apartments above the retail and meeting space is slated for 2019. There are 5 phases in total planned for the Spencer Pride commUnity center project.

    The commUnity center is now formally finished with Phase I, although many details throughout the space are still being finalized.

    The new building solidifies the presence of Spencer Pride in the community.  The organization has been active in Owen County since its establishment more than a decade ago.  Over the course of that time, the organization has evolved in many ways.  The opening of the commUnity center was a major milestone when it originally opened in September of 2016 in a rented space on the south side of the courthouse square.  After their volunteer base doubled and support for the retail store was apparent, plans were assembled to purchase a building downtown that would better serve the organization’s long-term needs.

    Volunteers stopped for a moment during the moving day on January 28, 2018.

    The new space will be utilized for multiple purposes.  It includes an expanded retail space.  Unity, the retail shop of Spencer Pride, will continue to feature unique items created by local artisans as well as an assortment of vintage resale merchandise.  The center now also includes an informal Gathering Place for community members to come to relax, read a book, work on projects, and more.  The new location also has a meeting room that is now available for free to other local not-for-profit, LGBTQ+ affirming organizations.  Amenities such as two ADA-compliant public restrooms with changing tables are also now available to the public, as well as free Wi-Fi.  Eventually additional services will be offered as the center evolves.

    Spencer Pride organizers thank the many individuals who volunteered to make this dream a reality as well as the individuals and organizations who have made donations to help the project.  Spencer Pride has established a foundation and a capital campaign at the Owen County Community Foundation where the funds are being managed.

    For more information about Spencer Pride visit www.SpencerPride.org or stop in to the commUnity center Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM until 7 PM.  Jonathan Balash can be reached via e-mail at Jonathan@SpencerPride.org.

     

    Festival Early Bird Registration Ends on February 24; Organizations Encouraged to Register Now

    Organizers of the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival report that registrations for the festival marketplace are already at more than halfway to their goal for 100 vendors.  This is an indication of the strong interest in the 12th annual event, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 2 from 10 AM until 5 PM.  Nearly 100 vendors have participated in the marketplace for the past 2 years.

    Organizations interested in registering for the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival are encouraged to do so now so that they can take advantage of the early-bird fee.   This promotion discounts standard registration costs by 50%.

    To register in the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival marketplace, visit www.SpencerPride.org/portal.  Registration takes less than 15 minutes.  Early-bird registration ends on February 24th.

    During the early-bird registration period, registration fees are $25 for not-for-profit organizations, $40 for for-profit organizations, & $50 for vendors who wish to sell food.  The food vendor fee also includes access to electricity & water.

    The 2018 Spencer Pride Festival theme is “Remember the Past, Create the Future.”  Given the recent opening of the Spencer Pride commUnity center in its new permanent home in a historic building on the courthouse square, the theme seems especially relevant.

    Individuals interested in assisting with the planning of the festival are encouraged to attend the monthly Spencer Pride volunteer meeting, which takes place on the first Sunday of each month from 4 – 6 PM. The next meeting takes place on March 4.

    Festival Theme Chosen at January Meeting

    On Sunday, January 7th during our regular monthly volunteer meeting, many important decisions were made about this year’s festival.  Although it was bitterly cold outside & our volunteers are worn out from all of the work occurring to prepare our new building for the upcoming move, those volunteers in attendance were passionate about our festival planning & were eager to keep things progressing.

    The first order of business was an update from Jonathan Balash about the current status of the marketplace.  42 vendors had signed up as of the meeting.  Assignments were distributed among volunteers to solicit prior years’ vendors over the course of the next month.  The goal is to have 50 vendors signed up by the end of January.  This goal seemed achievable.

    Next volunteers considered the recommendation for this year’s festival theme, which is the official 2018 InterPride theme:  Remember the Past, Create the Future.  Everyone agreed that it was the perfect team considering the work we are currently doing to transform our historic building into the LGBTQ+ center of the future.  The decision to choose this theme was unanimous.

    In a brief discussion led by Casey Shively (chair of the festival welcoming committee), it was decided that we would pursue two billboards to advertise this year’s festival.  One would be in Spencer while the other would be in Bloomington.  This is the first time we’ve had a billboard in Bloomington.  We are excited about the awareness it may bring!

    Emily Carol Black (chair of the festival activities committee) led the group discussion about the Market Street Family Fun Area.  There was a lot of debate about the pro’s & con’s of having a small carnival-like area this year.  We would continue having a bounce house, slip-n-slide, & one or two other large items/attractions, but otherwise most of the Family Fun Area would consist of the carnival.  Ultimately the group voted to pursue this concept.  This is something that has been discussed for several years, but until relatively recently the volunteer resources required made the carnival prohibitive.  We are grateful to have the support of so many new volunteers over the past two years.  We are finally able to make this work!  It was also decided to pursue having Aerialogy return this year since it was so popular among attendees in 2017.

    The next festival volunteer meeting will take place on Sunday, February 4th from 4-6 PM at our new commUnity center at 17 E. Franklin Street.  Anyone interested in being involved with festival planning or any of our other work is encouraged to attend.

     

    Volunteers were very productive at the January meeting