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.
The 2017 Spencer Pride Festival was an amazing success by nearly all measures. Well over 2,000 people took part in the festivities of the 11th annual event in the heart of downtown Spencer. Although it was hot, attendees seemed quite happy with the entertainment, activities, & opportunities that the festival offered.
The day was filled with activities for all ages, the entertainment on the main stage, the tasty food options, the third annual Pet Parade, Market Street Family Fun Area, & the Prism All-Ages Activity Zone. New this year was Cardinal Spirits serving up their signature cocktails under the shade of a tree & in sight of the entertainment. In addition, the marketplace received great feedback by festival-goers, many of whom spent hours perusing the items for sale & learning about important causes.
The marketplace was spread throughout the entire lawn of the courthouse and spilled into Franklin Street as well, where most of the food vendors and the Owen County Public Library’s Bookmobile were located. The alpacas brought by SuPaca Farms were a HUGE hit with everyone!
This year’s food vendors were quite diverse. From funnel cakes to french fries, from corn dogs to fudge to pretzels to corn on the cob and much more, there were plenty of tasty food options at this year’s festival. Shake-ups and other cool treats and sweets were a welcome sight for festival-goers, especially as the weather heated up in mid-afternoon.
Planned Parenthood won the ‘most engaging booth’ prize due to their highly outgoing volunteers & interactive display.
Free HIV testing was available throughout the day thanks to IU Health Bloomington. The confidential testing took place at the Tivoli Theatre thanks to a partnership between the theatre & festival organizers.
Spencer Pride’s commUnity center at 46 E. Market Street was a popular gathering and shopping destination. Unique, locally hand-crafted, & resale items were available throughout the center, while the ever-popular raffles were located in the back room. This year’s raffle winners included Robert Smith who won a French Lick Overnight Stay for 2 with a $200 gift card; Terry Urban from Spencer who won a hand-crafted rainbow Adirondack chair; and Diane Salazar from Indianapolis who won a package that included a Bass Pro Shop gift card, Colts house flag, and a windcatcher. Mark Mason won a package with items from the Cincinatti Reds & Indianapolis Indians; He also won an overnight stay at French Lick Resort & a package that included a Canyon Inn gift card & CDs from a local musician. Amanda Terrelll won two packages: a Monster gift basket & Holiday World package that included a Coca-Cola Cooler. Ryne Shandy won two prints from Susan Anderson Shorter.
Outside of the commUnity center, local artists were set up beneath canopies where they were showing off their various talents. Painters, illustrators, knitters, & wire-benders all showed their unique skills to passersby.
All ages took advantage of the inflatable fun that filled Market Street. The deluxe slip-n-slide was well-utilized & appreciated given the balmy temperature. New this year in the Market Street line-up was Bloomington Aerialogy with aerial silk demonstrations and lessons. Many people took part in observing these aerialists perform their gravity-defying acts while being suspended high above Market Street.
Penny Zufall won the award for Spencer Pride, Inc., Volunteer of the Year, which was presented by president Jonathan Balash & volunteer coordinator Judi Epp. Zufall was shocked at receiving the award & accepted the award & flower arrangement with tears of joy streaming down her face.
“Spencer Pride is 100% volunteer-driven, & without the help of amazing volunteers like Penny, we wouldn’t be able to put on the Spencer Pride Festival,” said Judi Epp.
Sheryl Daniels returned for her fifth year as Emcee of the Spencer Pride Festival. Sheryl is also the entertainment coordinator of the event & is responsible for all of the talented artists who perform. This year’s line-up included Quarryland Men’s Chorus, Different Drummer Belly Dancers, Hudsucker Posse, Window to My Soul, The Trip, Dan Wyatt & Larry Morley, The Retrovales, Owen County Civic Theatre, Zumba with Nancy Emerson & Crew, & finally, the Ladies of Spencer Pride Drag Show.
The third annual Spencer Pride Pet Parade was a huge hit. Nearly 20 animals (& their human companions) participated in the parade. A panel of kids evaluated each one before announcing two winners – one for most colorful and one GRAND PRIZE winner. All of the pets seemed to enjoy the attention they received as a result of their involvement in the event.
Prism Youth Community coordinated a variety of activities for this year’s festival, including Spencer Pride’s annual Coloring Contest! Kids and adults alike were thrilled to show off their skills coloring the special page made by local artist Stephen Adams exclusively for the 2017 Spencer Pride Festival. Also at the Prism All-Ages Activity Zone was a contest for the new Spencer Pride coloring book mascot, who is a non-binary raccoon. “Camden” was announced as the winning name in the late afternoon.
One of the most obvious changes to this year’s festival was the participation of a lot more youth. From booths such as Prism Youth Community & White River Valley PFLAG, youth were in front-and-center of the marketplace. They also came out in large groups to attend the festival, which was apparent no matter where you were. Several of the youth in attendance are members of the newly created youth group within Spencer Pride, which has begun meeting routinely at the Spencer Pride commUnity center.
Volunteers at Spencer Pride, Inc., were pleased with how this year’s festival turned out.
“We received a lot of feedback from people at the event & even more afterward,” said president Jonathan Balash. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive. People continue to recognize the uniqueness of what Spencer Pride is – a family-friendly rural LGBTQ+ pride event where ALL ARE WELCOME.”
Sponsors of the 2017 Spencer Pride Festival included: Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, Walmart, French Lick Resort, & the Tivoli Theatre, among many more.
The 2018 Spencer Pride Festival will be held on June 2, 2018, and will be the 12th annual event. Volunteers have LOTS in store for it, so 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 2017 Spencer Pride Festival. It was the best attended & most engaging event yet.
More information about Spencer Pride and the Spencer Pride Festival can be found at www.SpencerPride.org.
We are proud to share our entertainment line-up for the 2017 Spencer Pride Festival. This line-up features many returning entertainers as well as some first-time performers as well. Young or old, drums to drag, vocal to instrumental to dance, we have a diverse set of performers for our 11th annual event.
The Spencer Pride Festival is an admission-free, family-friendly event. All of the entertainers listed below will be performing on the Ivy Tech Stage. Festival attendees are encouraged to picnic in the lawn and experience the fun of Spencer Pride for the entire afternoon. The festival begins at 10 AM and lasts until 5 PM. In addition to the live entertainment, the Spencer Pride Festival consists of a large marketplace with nearly 100 vendors, plus raffles, giveaways, & a variety of other activities. Our Family Fun Area, located in Market Street, contains fun things for kids of all ages.
Below the entertainment line-up you’ll see the participants in the 2017 “Ladies of Spencer Pride” Drag Show.
The 2017 official Spencer Pride Festival t-shirt design was unveiled today. The design is a simple one with a patriotic flare & a clear tie to Spencer Pride’s vision of making Indiana a more welcoming place for all people.
The shirts will be available exclusively at the Spencer Pride commUnity center in sizes ranging from small through 3XL. Shirts will be available in two styles (v-neck or crew neck) & in 6 different colors.
The 2017 Spencer Pride Festival t-shirts will be sold for $14.99. Individuals purchasing two shirts together will receive a $5 discount off of their purchase.
The Spencer Pride commUnity center will have the shirts on sale once they are available from the printer, which will be at the end of May.
The 2017 Spencer Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 3 from 10 AM until 5 PM.
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.
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.
The 2016 Spencer Pride 10th Anniversary Festival was an amazing success by nearly all measures, despite a drizzly morning and a major downpour in the afternoon. An estimated 2000 people took part in the festivities of the 10th annual event in the heart of downtown Spencer. Especially notable was the continued and expanded presence of families. All ages took advantage of the inflatable fun that filled Market Street, from the Rock Climbing Wall, sponsored by the Dragonfly Gallery, to the Bounce House, sponsored by Edwards Farm Supply.
The Spencer Pride Festival continues to be the second-largest event taking place in downtown Spencer each year.
There was an open house for Spencer Pride’s new CommUnity Center at 46 E. Market St, where the history of the past years of their efforts was on display. The facility also hosted a glass blowing demonstration by Family Dog Glass Shop and spirit tasting for those 18 and older by Cardinal Spirits. The building was popular throughout the day and even more so when the rain fell.
“People were so excited to get a glimpse of our new CommUnity Center and to learn about what we will be offering there once we open in September,” said Spencer Pride Inc. president Jonathan Balash.
“They are amazed that Spencer, Indiana is about to become the smallest town in America with an LGBTQI community center, and they are expressing a strong desire to help make the facility a success,” Balash added.
The festival was filled with plenty of activities for everyone; the entertainment on the main stage, the expansive marketplace, the tasty food options, the pet parade, and the Prism All-Ages Activity Zone.
The special anniversary festival featured guest host, Suzanne Westenhoefer! She added a hilarious element to the already fabulous entertainment line-up. Sheryl Daniels returned for her fourth year as Emcee of the Spencer Pride Festival. Sheryl is also the entertainment coordinator of the event, so she is responsible for all of the talented artists who perform. A huge hit of the day was Bloomington Beat, a youth group who danced their hearts out! Also appearing were, SarahJayne Balash, Adam Riveiere, Hudsucker Posse, Andrea Davis, Window To My Soul, Quarryland Men’s Chorus, Different Drummer Belly Dancers, Ladies of Spencer Pride drag show and Rene Janski. They even had a Zumba session lead by Nancy Emerson. The entertainment was topped off at 7pm by King Bee and The Stingers.
In addition, the festival marketplace – which had over 100 vendors – received great feedback by festival-goers, many of which spent hours perusing the items for sale and learning about important causes. The marketplace was spread throughout the entire lawn of the courthouse and spilled into Franklin Street as well, where most of the food vendors, the Owen County Public Library’s Bookmobile, and the PFLAG Yard Sale were located. Vendors reported receiving record sign-ups and record donations from the crowd, which continues what they have reported for past year’s festivals as well
The food vendors were very busy, as usual. From funnel cakes to french fries, from ice cream sodas to cotton candy, from corn on the cob to buffalo burgers, and much more, there were plenty of options to satisfy most cravings at this year’s festival.
The second annual pride Pet Parade was really popular! Nearly 20 animals participated in the parade. A panel of kids evaluated each one before announcing two winners – one GRAND PRIZE winner and one runner-up. All of the pets seemed to enjoy the attention they received as a result of their involvement in the event.
The Prism All-Ages Activity Zone was entirely coordinated by Prism Youth Community-Bloomington and included a variety of activities for this year’s festival, including jewelry-making, button-making, sensory bottles, and more.
This year’s 10th Anniversary raffle was filled with items like autographed items from renowned comedian Kate Clinton and the Indigo Girls, 2 overnight stays at French Lick, a hot air balloon ride for 2 from TJV Balloons, and many more items donated by celebrities and local businesses.
All of the volunteers at Spencer Pride Inc. were so pleased with how this year’s festival turned out. It took more than 50 individuals to coordinate, setup, staff, and clean-up this year’s event. Volunteers received a lot of feedback from people at the event and even more afterward, all of which expressed gratitude for a fun and family-friendly afternoon at the courthouse, despite the rain.
“Spencer Pride is 100% volunteer driven, and without the help of amazing volunteers they wouldn’t be able to put on the Spencer Pride Festival,” said Volunteer Coordinator, Judi Epp. Amid the festivities, a representative of one of the churches present told Judi about the opportunity to counsel a young gay man. “This is why I come here,” said the representative. “If I can help even one person, it’s worth the effort.”
People continue to recognize the uniqueness of what Spencer Pride is – a family-friendly rural LGBTQI pride event where ALL ARE WELCOME. For ten years the event has served to dispel misperceptions of this rural community and organizers hope to do so for many more years to come. They ask that you help them continue to spread the word about Spencer Pride and their new CommUnity Center opening in the fall.
“Just one week after our festival the world woke up to the sad news about the massacre in the Orlando nightclub,” said Balash. “It was an unfortunate reminder of the work that has yet to be done to educate people about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex community. We ask the public to continue their support of Spencer Pride and organizations that work to make the world a safer place for ALL PEOPLE.”
The 2017 Spencer Pride Festival will be held on June 3, 2017. For more information about Spencer Pride, its events, and the CommUnity Center, please visit SpencerPride.org or find Spencer Pride on Facebook.
SPENCER, INDIANA – The 2016 Spencer Pride Festival takes place in downtown Spencer on the square on Saturday, June 4, from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary as Indiana’s Rural LGBTQI Pride Event. This year’s theme is “A Decade of Diversity.”
In order to celebrate this special anniversary, Spencer Pride organizers are bringing a very special guest host to the event this year: renowned comic, Suzanne Westenhoefer. Westenhoefer was the first out lesbian comic with her own HBO® Comedy Special and she has been featured on Late Night as well.
The Spencer Pride Festival is known for its inclusive atmosphere and small-town setting. The event has grown steadily year after year and will be continuing that pattern in 2016 with over 100 vendors who will be participating in the diverse festival marketplace. The marketplace features everything from local artists to animal welfare organizations to civic organizations, as well as many retail vendors. There will also be a wide variety of festival food and snacks this year.
Spencer Pride is a family-friendly event and will have many activities for free this year to kids of all ages. The Family Fun Area consists of many inflatable activities, including a 32-foot high rock wall (sponsored by The Dragonfly Gallery), obstacle course (sponsored by Edwards Farm Supply), deluxe slip-n-slide, Toddler Town, 5-in-1 Combo Bounce House, and the very popular Dunk Tank. A variety of community leaders and representatives from organizations will be featured in this year’s dunk tank, including some candidates running for election this year.
The Prism All-ages Activity Zone will include a coloring contest (featuring a design by local artist Susan Shorter-Anderson), button- & jewelry-making, face painting, & glitter sensory bottle-making. This family-friendly set of interactive activities is provided by the Prism Youth Community – Bloomington, which is part of Bloomington PRIDE.
This year will also feature the second annual Spencer Pride Pet Parade, which will kick-off in front of the courthouse at 12:30 PM. Pets of all kinds will be judged on their personality & outfits in order to award one grand-prize winner & one runner-up. Responsible pet owners do not need to register their pets in advance – just show up at 12:30 on the south side of the courthouse with pets in hand (or on a leash). Participation is free.
Local, live entertainment on stage will keep the entire family busy all day long. Quarryland Men’s Chorus, Adam Riviere, King Bee & the Stingers, and many more performers will be on stage. The Ladies of Spencer Pride Drag Show will take place at 4 PM. This will be the 9th year of the drag show. Spencer Pride is the only place in the Midwest where you can see a drag show on the lawn of a county courthouse. A complete listing of all entertainers & performance times is located on the organization’s event page at www.SpencerPride.org/festival. This year’s entertainment is sponsored in part by Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington.
Free HIV testing will be available from 1 – 6 PM and is being provided by Positive Link, a Program of Indiana University Health.
For adults, there will be raffles and 50-50 drawings throughout the day. There will also be free samples provided by Cardinal Spirits for those attendees who are 21 & over. Those samples will be distributed in the new headquarters building of Spencer Pride, Inc. The building, located at 46 E. Market Street, will be open for tours during the festival. In addition to the celebratory samples from Cardinal Spirits, there will be live glass blowing demonstrated by the Family Dog Glass Shop. Visitors of the new building will also be able to check out some of the history of Spencer Pride, through a large timeline on display of the organization’s many activities over the past decade. Except for the free samples, all other activities taking place in the building are for all-ages.
Parking, admission, and entertainment are all free at the Spencer Pride Festival, so attendance is well-worth the travel for an entire day of fun. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this year. The Spencer Pride Festival is the second largest event that occurs on the square of the Owen County Courthouse each year.
The Spencer Pride Festival is sponsored by Positive Link (a program of Indiana University Health), White River Valley PFLAG, Boston Scientific PACE, Spencer, Bloomington, Linton, & Greencastle Walmart stores, Cody Crone Realtor/Broker, Cook Group, French Lick Resort, and many more local businesses and organizations.
2016 brings back many prior vendors as well as many new ones. We are always very please with the support of local businesses and organizations that choose to take part in our festival marketplace. Please see below for the list of vendors who have registered as of May 2, 2016. This page will be updated periodically.
The entertainment line-up for the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival is a diverse group of tremendously talented artists. From honky-tonk to blues, from instrumental music to tribal dance, from choirs to gender-bending drag queens, we have a fabulous spectrum of styles for this year’s festival.
As a reminder, all of our entertainment is 100% free, as is festival admission & parking.
Please come support Spencer Pride and our entire schedule of performers by staking claim to a small piece of the courthouse lawn and making a day of Spencer Pride. It’s fabulous, fun, FREE, and of course, family-friendly (pets, too!).
Entertainment begins at 10 AM and lasts through 8 PM on the Ivy Tech Bloomington Main Stage which is located on the south side of the Owen County Courthouse. We also have some additional entertainment taking place on the north courthouse lawn. Please note the extended hours this year, which are intended to help us celebrate our 10th birthday well into the evening.
We are proud to have Sheryl Daniels returning as our emcee of entertainment this year. Sheryl brings a lot of experience with her and really helps to keep the audience informed and engaged throughout the day.
Helping Sheryl will be special guest host Suzanne Westenhoefer. Suzanne is a well-known lesbian comic who has had her own HBO Comedy Special and has been featured on Late Night. Suzanne will be sharing her comedy with the crowd the entire day.
All times listed are subject to change.
SarahJayne Balash (10:00 AM)
SarahJayne Balash has been pursuing a career in music since she has been 15 years old, whether she realized it or not. Her bluesy vocals, country roots, and folk writing style have pushed her into a unique category among today’s emerging artists. Her songs range from anything such as an awkward ukulele tune about feeding an ex-boyfriend to zombies to slow pieces that ultimately spell out heartbreak. She will be attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music next year, where she will major in Songwriting and be a part of the school’s vocal department.
Adam Riviere (10:30 AM)
A musician of 20+ years who grew up in Bloomington, Indiana & studied under passing musicians from around the country as well as the world. Once part of a top ranked drumline in high school to playing in various ensembles at Butler University in Indianapolis to getting into performing and writing electronic music during his Masters at IUPUI, now Adam takes all of his knowledge of music from over the years to create a single sound and to share that sound to everyone he can. This is Adam’s first time performing at the Spencer Pride Festival.
Pet Parade (12:30)
This is the second annual Spencer Pride Pet Parade. The parade will start on the south side of the courthouse and will travel clock-wise around the sidewalk around the courthouse. The parade will end up on the lawn in front of the main stage, where each contestant and their owner will be announced. Judges will review the contestants for color and personality and will award a GRAND PRIZE WINNER before wrapping things up. No registration is required for participation in the pet parade.
Quarryland Men’s Chorus (3:00 PM)
The Quarryland Men’s Chorus provides a positive performance-based community for gay and bisexual men and their allies in South Central Indiana. We foster talent, fellowship, pride, and understanding through excellence in vocal music. The Quarryland Men’s Chorus has attended the festival several times in the past and is always a crowd favorite.
Different Drummer Belly Dancers (5:00 PM)
Different Drummer Belly Dancers mixes traditional belly dancing and modern music, borrowing from cabaret, American Tribal, and Dunyavi Gypsy styles of belly dance. We believe the power, beauty, joy, and grace of belly dance can be expressed in our modern music. Different Drummer Belly Dancers have attended the festival previously and always get the crowd moving!
Drag Show (4:00 PM)
The Spencer Pride Festival is the only place where you can see a drag show on the lawn of a county courthouse in Indiana. The show has been a long-standing tradition of Spencer Pride and has been going since the festival moved to the Owen County Courthouse square in 2008. The drag show is the result of a fabulous pairing of Vicci Laine – who coordinates the gals – and Steve Keith – who coordinates the sounds. Participants in the Drag Show usually aren’t announced ahead of time, but they never disappoint! This is a family-friendly event so everyone is encouraged to come witness the talents of the ladies of Spencer Pride!
King Bee & The Stingers (7:00 PM)
King Bee & The Stingers haven’t performed at the Spencer Pride Festival before & we are excited to have them for their first time. They are an indi-blues band that is sure to get the evening crowd moving.
But wait, there’s plenty more!
Additional performers at this year’s festival include:
Window to My Soul (Kali Bentley)
Andrea Davis (from Straight Davis)
Bloomington Beat Youth
Renee Oiseau Janski
In addition to the live entertainment on stage, there is a LOT to do at the festival!
Get your hands busy in the Prism All-Ages Activity Zone, where you can try jewelry or button-making, participate in our first-ever coloring contest (featuring an exclusive design from local artist Susan Shorter-Anderson), and more! This area is entirely organized and staffed by volunteers from Prism Youth Community, which is a program of Bloomington PRIDE.
Zumba (with Nancy Emerson) will be a popular item to help work some of those calories off from the elephant ears!
Need to cool off? Jump into our Wet-n-Wild Pride Slip-n-Slide (all-ages)! It’s the kind of fun you remember having as a child, but appropriately sized for adults, too! This is a free actitity, so don’t hesistate to use it all day!
There are many more activities in our Family Fun Area this year. It will be more than twice the size of any prior year!
Back by popular demand is our Dunk Tank! This activity was so popular last year that we’ve brought it back! Tickets for the Dunk Tank are $1 each or 6 for $5. If your talents don’t match your desire to send someone underwater, you can take the short-cut and pay just $20 to tap the button!
Shop the festival marketplace, which includes our biggest selection of vendors ever. Whether you are looking to buy retail items or services, learn about local organizations, or get a bite to eat, there are plenty of options for all. In addition to the wonderful vendors in our festival marketplace, some of the local businesses on the square are also supporters of Spencer Pride. Those businesses will have bouquets of balloons posted prominently out front and we encourage everyone to stop by and check each of them out.
Purchase official Spencer Pride merchandise at our new cart conveniently located in the entertainment area. This is the only place to get your 2016 Spencer Pride Festival t-shirt or our other exclusive items such as rainbow umbrellas. For the first time ever, we will also have a tank top option for our official festival shirt.
We’ve barely just scratched the surface about what you’ll find at Spencer Pride this year. Come out on Saturday, June 4 from 10 AM to 8 PM. To learn more, keep checking back on our website SpencerPride.org. We are constantly posting new information about this year’s event and what attendees can expect.
On Friday, Spencer Pride made a big announcement on Facebook. Suzanne Westenhoefer, the groundbreaking comedian, will be hosting the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival! This is major news for the rural pride event.
Suzanne was the first openly lesbian comedian with an HBO Special and the first openly lesbian comedian on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Her comedy is stereotype-shattering and brutally honest. After more than 25 years since she first began as a comic, Suzanne’s visit to the Spencer Pride Festival will add yet another ‘first’ to her biography.
Suzanne will be hosting the festival throughout the day alongside Spencer Pride emcee Sheryl Daniels. Suzanne will sprinkle her comedy amidst the other line-up of fantastic entertainers that will be performing on June 4th. Entertainers confirmed for this year include King Bee & The Stingers, Quarryland Men’s Chorus, Different Drummer Belly Dancers, and many more, including the infamous Ladies of Spencer Pride Drag Show.
Festival organizers have been advertising this year’s event – their 10th anniversary festival – as the biggest and best ever. After reporting that their vendor registration in mid-February had more than doubled last year’s registration from the same time, this announcement about Westenhoefer certainly continues to confirm that it seems truly on pace to be the ‘biggest and best ever.’ Further signs of this year’s event being extra fabulous include confirmation this week that the family fun area will be doubled and will offer special new activities such as the a ‘toddler town’ for those under 5, a superhero-themed 5-in-1 bounce house for kids 12 & under, and a rock wall for those 13 and older. Several more activities will also help make up the Family Fun Area.
As always, the Spencer Pride Festival is 100% family friendly and free.
For more information about the 2016 Spencer Pride Festival, please continue to visit SpencerPride.org.