Why Volunteer?

Volunteering to help others is a great way to stay active and vital in your community.  Each hour you volunteer is valued at $24.69. Eight (8) hours per week can save a not-for profit $197.52.  Your generous gift of time and talent can keep an organization up and running.  

 

Here are 3 simple ways to volunteer:

1. Make the small things count:  Sometimes simply going and picking up recycling can make a huge difference to a non-profit organization.
2. Filling the gaps: Local not-for-profits need individuals to help fill in when their regular employees/volunteers cannot be there.  Being an emergency call is a wonderful help.
3. Comfort and Support: Being a shoulder for someone to cry on or the person to give a hug can make a big difference in a lot of people’s lives.

Spencer Pride commUnity center is looking for volunteers. Our growth has created more opportunities for you to get involved. If you want to help in your community, be part of an amazing organization, and believe in the mission of Spencer Pride we would LOVE to have you as a part of our volunteer team.  

Opportunities include:

 Staffing the commUnity center retail store during various shifts Wednesday – Saturday. This may sound intimidating, but it’s fun & easy.
 Helping out at the Tivoli on the second Saturday of every month
 Lending a hand on general clean up days at the Center
 Assisting with the Spencer Pride Festival on the first Saturday in June

All of these opportunities come with training! We want you to feel confident volunteering for us.

If you believe in Spencer Pride, we would love to have you as a part of our volunteer family.  Please contact Dana Beth Evans the volunteer Coordinator at dana.beth@spencerpride.org. If you are interested specifically in volunteering at our commUnity center, please contact Jacob Balash at Jacob@SpencerPride.org. You can also call/text him at 812-821-1442.

 

All of our volunteers fill out an application and must submit to a background check. It’s quick, easy, & won’t cost you a thing!

 

If our organization isn’t a good fit for you, please consider volunteering at another Owen County not-for-profit.

 

Spencer Pride Conference to Bring Pride Organizers from Throughout the Midwest

Spencer Pride is set to host the Midwest Pride Conference from March 1-3, 2019.  The conference brings together representatives from LGBTQ+ Pride organizations to share best practices, attend training, & network together.  Attendees are registered from 6 Midwestern states, including Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, & Minnesota.

“Registration for this conference has exceeded our expectations,” said Jonathan Balash, president of Spencer Pride & the lead for the conference. “Last year’s conference in Detroit brought 37 attendees & we hoped to bring 55 this year; instead, we now have 74 registered participants.”  Spencer Pride stopped allowing new registrations once capacity had been achieved.   Most of the Spencer Pride Directors & Pride Festival Leads will attend the event as well.

The conference will primarily occur at the Spencer Pride commUnity center, although some educational sessions will occur at the Tivoli Theatre & activities for that Sunday will take place in the Oak Room of Canyon Inn at McCormick’s Creek State Park.    Out-of-town attendees will be staying at Canyon Inn.

Some of the conference workshop topics include: Modern Safety & Security at Pride Festivals, How to Have Pride & Make Change in Rural America, Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Pride Festivals, & Inclusion of People of Color in Pride Festivals. There will be a forum on volunteer recruitment & retention, a youth panel, & several “speed topics” segments, which allow for organizations to share best practices with their peers.  Speed topics are grouped into themes around such topics as outreach, promoting healthy lifestyles, expanding pride festivities to span a week or month, & “Show Me the Money.”  This last theme is focused on increasing event sponsorships or decreasing event costs.

In addition to the educational content of the conference, participants will also be exposed to other local attractions while they are in Spencer.  On Friday, March 1, Juniper Gallery, The Dragonfly Gallery, & the Spencer Pride commUnity center retail shop will be open for extended evening hours as a part of a “Shop Local” event.  Live entertainment & refreshments will be available at the commUnity center.  The new Spring collection will be debuted for the event as well, earlier than was originally planned.  Jaime Sweany, owner of The Juniper Gallery, decided to schedule the collection’s debut earlier due to the “Shop Local” event.

Each morning, conference attendees are invited to participate in guided tours at McCormick’s Creek State Park in order to promote healthy lifestyles & show off the area’s most popular attraction.

The Civilian Brewing Corps, a new brew pub in downtown Spencer that is scheduled to open to the public on March 3 will be hosting a ‘soft opening’ on March 2 for Spencer Pride’s guests.  It will allow the pub to test out their menu for the public with a more limited audience prior to their grand opening the next day.

Spencer Pride is spreading out their resources to support as many other local businesses as possible.  Coffee & refreshments will be purchased from both Main Street Coffee & Spencer Coffee Shop.   A local caterer will provide Saturday’s lunch.  On Saturday evening, guests will be welcomed for the first public event in the commUnity center’s upstairs ballroom, where beverages from Owen Valley Winery & Cardinal Spirits will be served.

On Sunday, Spencer Pride is excited to welcome State Senator JD Ford as a keynote speaker.  Ford, who was elected to the Indiana General Assembly this past November, is the first openly gay member of the IGA.

“This is the first conference that Spencer Pride has ever hosted,” said Balash.  “We could not be any happier with the opportunity to host these distinguished guests in our beautiful & welcoming community.”

For more information about Spencer Pride, visit www.SpencerPride.org.

Spencer Pride Board Expresses Thoughts on Legislation Impacting LGBTQ+ Hoosiers

The following statement was issued from the Spencer Pride Board of Directors regarding two pieces of legislation currently being considered by the Indiana General Assembly:

The Spencer Pride Board of Directors strongly supports the passage of a comprehensive hate crimes law in Indiana.  This bill would allow for imposing stronger penalties upon conviction of bias-related crimes against people on the basis of another individual’s actual or perceived age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity, military service, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.  Indiana is among only 5 states without such legislation.

 

The lack of a hate crimes law in Indiana has had a negative impact on economic development initiatives and has given Indiana the reputation of not being a welcoming state.  This contradicts Spencer Pride’s mission of making Indiana a more welcoming place for ALL people.

Support for hate crimes legislation is bipartisan.  Hate crimes legislation is supported by Governor Eric Holcomb.  We, as directors of Spencer Pride, encourage all state legislators to vote yes on House Bill 1203 (Bias Motivated Crimes).

The Spencer Pride Board of Directors does not support House Bill 1525 (Biological Sexual Identity), which further exacerbates bias and hate.  In addition to creating a poor environment for our youth, this bill would add burdens to our state schools, including new infrastructure requirements & difficult-to-enforce monitoring requirements.

The Spencer Pride Board of Directors urges legislators to vote NO on House Bill 1525.

Supporting Spencer Pride this #GivingTuesday & All Year

BY LESLIE NIEVES

Here are some great ways to support Spencer Pride year-round, without costing you a cent!

Kroger donates funds to nonprofits through your use of its Kroger Plus Card when you shop. By filling out a short form at Kroger’s customer service desk, you can get a Kroger Plus Card, which provides savings as you shop & discounts on gasoline purchases.  At Kroger’s community rewards website (https://www.kroger.com/topic/kroger-community-rewards-3), you can register your Plus Card to send a percentage of your purchases from Kroger to Spencer Pride. Our code number is EU 230. Forward this information to your friends and family in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, & West Virginia and ask them to support us, too.

Amazon donates a percentage of your purchases to nonprofits when you use its Smile website to shop.  AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, & shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.  On your first visit to AmazonSmile smile.amazon.com you will be prompted to select a charitable organization to receive donations. Search for & select Spencer Pride. AmazonSmile will remember your selection & then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Many corporations match employee donations to nonprofits. Find out if your employer will match donations &, if your employer offers that benefit, apply to have your donations to Spencer Pride doubled.

Pass this information to your family & friends & ask them to join you in supporting Spencer Pride.

Pass this information to your family and friends and ask them to join you in supporting Spencer Pride.

 

Grant Update

BY JUDI EPP, TREASURER

Judi accepts a check for the Monroe County Board of Realtors from Mark Rogers of the Owen County Community Foundation.

We have made wonderful progress with our grant process! We’ve received the first installment from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington of $1,700, $500 from the Monroe County Board of Realtors for work on the building façade, & $5,000 from the Smithville Charitable Foundation for replacement of the horribly leaky roof in the rear of Unity. The new roof in that area has now been installed! We also received $1,000 from SCI REMC for some interior finishes.

Tarps were placed above the old kitchen area in order to reduce the flow of water into Unity. While the tarps helped, this was only a temporary partial fix.

 

 

 

The roof is nearly complete in this photo. The contracts worked in cold, rainy conditions but managed to complete the roof in just a few days. 

 

 

We’re still working on our 50 From 50 Campaign. We need 35 additional supporters to step up & make a recurring donation of $50 a month to cover our monthly expenses so we can use all grant funds for building restoration & programming. If you haven’t done so, please consider this avenue of support. If you’re already participating, please tell your friends & family! Go to www.spencerpride.org, select donate, & follow the prompts. One time donations are always welcome as well! Your company may even do a matching grant!

Subtracting the Addition

BY JACOB BALASH

Pictured here are the before & after images of the front & back of the Spencer Pride commUnity center. The front shows the recent elimination of the awning over the meeting room door & the broken sign holder. The back shows the demolition of the addition, as described in this article.

Over the past few months, you may have noticed that we’ve spent a considerable amount of time trimming our rear at the center.  While this is a common post-holiday habit for people who’ve consumed the usual abundance of holiday foods, it wasn’t extra calories we were eliminating.  Instead, volunteers orchestrated the complete demolition of the poorly-constructed addition near our parking area in the back.

This was an important project for a variety of reasons.  The building was in complete disrepair & was leaking severely.  Mold had taken over, & the smell was seeping into our meeting area.  It would have taken a significant financial investment to salvage this space at all, but there was no reason to save it.  It was not historical or particularly valuable.

In advance of the demolition work, we had to prepare the space.  Power & telephone lines had to be relocated.  Once this was completed, we began the ‘fun’ work.

First, volunteers cleaned out the materials which had been stored in the structure.  While some of this was disposed, much of it was salvaged for repurpose or recycling.  Huge vintage timbers, boxes of ceramic tiles, & other items were able to find new homes.    We carefully removed the embossed tin siding as it is valuable & can be repurposed or sold.

After the space was emptied, we exposed all of the boarded-up windows & doors so that we could get some light inside.  This was a huge help later.

Hoss & Connie are show here after a long, but productive day working on demolition of the addition.

Next, we removed the roof in sections.  This was hot & dirty work.  For a few of our volunteer sessions there were outdoor heat advisories, but our volunteers were committed to seeing the project through before winter weather arrived.  Once the roof was removed, we took down the walls.

Finally, we jackhammered the poured concrete floor.  We are in the process now of removing the stone that we broke up.  The gas company relocated the improperly installed gas lines, & they also upgraded the meter after determining that it was also incorrect for our building.

Once we finish the last bit of clean-up, we will immediately recognize the extra parking places that have been created by the demolition.  The center is also safer, more compliant, & definitely more attractive.

This project wasn’t pretty or easy, but it was rewarding.  I appreciate the donation of time & resources provided by Connie, Sheryl, Hoss, Larry, Andrew, Fred, Jason, Emily, Josh, & Mackenzie.  Their dedication to improving our center is obvious in the excellent work they did for this project.  THANK YOU!

For more information about other volunteer opportunities to improve the center, please reach out to Judi or me.  There’s a lot more we can do, especially now that we have started to receive some grant funds for these types of projects.

 

Spencer Pride Featured in Documentary Film





Grass Fed Cinema, run by filmmaker John Scott, released their latest documentary film on Thursday.    The newest film, The Slower Path, features Spencer Pride.  Grass Fed Cinema is a website that produces documentary films about interesting, unique, and inspiring people who call the midwest home

Scott discovered the Spencer Pride Festival through his friends who attended the event every year.  

“I knew right away that Spencer Pride would be a great topic for a short film,” said Scott.  “Just the visual alone of a gay pride festival taking place on a courthouse square of a small town in Indiana was really appealing to me.”

Scott attended the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival in June, where he filmed the documentary.   

Scott described his experience:  “I think the most surprising thing about the festival was the overall size of the event and how the entire town was taking part in it. I thought there would be protest or maybe even just locals looking upset but there wasn’t any of that. There was a vibe of celebration and hope that you could feel throughout the entire town all day.”

Now that his short documentary about Spencer Pride is finished, Scott will move on to his next project.   He is focusing on Bike a Bee, in Chicago, IL. 

The Slower Path runs approximately 8 minutes in length & features many scenes from the 2018 Spencer Pride Festival.  The film can be found at https://youtu.be/F4WCqTlD6aI.  

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.