Born This Way

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The official 2011 Spencer Pride Festival theme is Born This Way, a small statement with a big meaning.  The festival theme was one of many topics discussed during our recent meeting which took place on Sunday, February 20th

Six theme ideas were presented by president Jonathan Balash, includingPride and Prejudice, Together We Accomplish More, Love and Hate, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and the InterPride theme Pride Around the World.  The themes were submitted from members as well as friends of Spencer Pride on Facebook.  Born This Way received overwhelming support during the meeting.   It is an exciting theme that the membership welcomed and is excited to promote.

A significant amount of time at the meeting was spent discussing recent follow-ups with local organizations.  Members have been canvassing businesses to solicit sponsorships, vendor sign-ups, and donations.  Each member followed up with between 5 and 25 businesses over the past two and a half weeks.  Members shared their experiences with the entire group.  The result of these follow-ups has been a heightened level of sign-ups for our 2011 event.  In the past week alone, 6 new vendors signed up, 2 organizations made sponsorship commitments, and 8 donations of items were made.  Members were encouraged to continue following up with organizations in an effort to get a total of 40 vendor sign-ups for this year’s festival.  As of the meeting, 13 booths had been reserved for the event already.

Judi Epp, Spencer Pride Secretary, informed the membership that the Owen County Courthouse and Market Street (between Main & Washington) had been reserved for our event.  We received positive support from both the Spencer Town Board and Owen County Commissioners to allow our continued presence downtown for our annual event.  This year we expanded our request by reserving the spaces beginning at 5 PM the night before our event in order to make set-up easier and less stressful.

Food, Beverage, and Entertainment Coordinator Jacob Balash gave an update about the FB&E strategy.  He announced that the goal of two food vendors had already been achieved for this year’s event, due to an aggressive effort to complete that task before the end of February.  ChiliHat Concessions will return this year and will be accompanied by new vendor Pride Lafayette.  As we have done in the past, we are careful to keep food vendors to a minimum to ensure that the vendors maximize their profits.  Although some booths may sell individual food items such as pre-packaged cookies or candies, only these two booths will be permitted to sell prepared foods. Jacob also reported that we are making steady progress in our recruitment of entertainers for this year’s event.  Vicci Laine will once again coordinate a drag performance, although this year’s event will include both drag queens, kings, and divas.  Amanda Biggs, a classically trained singer who has performed in New York City, will also perform at the event.  We are actively seeking additional entertainers and are very excited about those who have already committed to perform.

 Other important topics discussed at the meeting:

      Treasurer Jerry cross notified the membership that we have received our Sales Tax Exemption certificate from the State of Indiana.  This certificate will allow us to make many purchased without having to pay for Indiana Sales Tax.

       The recent Safe Sex Condom Crawl (a partnership with Planned Parenthood of Indiana) was a big success.  Nearly 500 condoms were distributed at 6 bars.  Several individuals also signed up for theSpencer Pride Quarterly and expressed an interest in becoming involved with the organization.

       We will have an informational table at the World AIDS Day event in Bloomington.

       We are sponsoring three legislative breakfasts in Spencer this year (in February, March, & April).  These are coordinated by the Owen County Chamber of Commerce.  Members are encouraged to attend the events to give greater visibility to the rural LGBTQI community in south central Indiana.

      We recently received notice of our Google Grant award.  This is an amazing grant that will allow us to have a much larger presence in online advertising.  Other corporate grant solicitations are underway and will be reported on in future meetings.

 The next Spencer Pride meeting takes place on March 20th.