The Spencer Pride Board of Directors unanimously approved a proposal last evening that establishes the plan for the 2021 Spencer Pride Festival. Due to the current situation brought on by the COVID-1 pandemic, the festival will take place in October rather than its traditional timing on the first Saturday in June. With greater confidence that there will be a return to a “new normal” sometime in late summer or early fall, festival organizers believe that an October event is the best opportunity to host a safe, large public gathering in 2021. While the festival will be “rain or shine” as usual, volunteer organizers did outline pandemic-related factors that will be considered this summer in order to ensure that the festival can continue to proceed as planned.
While the board’s decision officially rules out a June event & makes the intentions of the organization clear, the Town of Spencer will need to approve the event before the date can be finalized. Spencer Pride Festival Director Jonathan Balash plans to seek approval from the Town of Spencer in February. He will present three dates to the Town Board, including October 16 (the preferred date), October 23, & October 9 (less preferred dates that would be considered if Town Board members express concerns over issues with October 16).
“The members of the Town Board are great stewards of our community,” explained Balash. “They will make the decision that’s right for Spencer. I’m confident that they will see the value in our plans for an October festival.”
While this is the first time that the Spencer Pride Festival would take place in the fall, there are plenty of non-pandemic reasons why that timing is ripe. First of all, October is LGBTQ+ History Month, which provides great opportunities for additional history-related educational events during Pride Week. Second, Indiana University Bloomington will be in session, marking the first time in Spencer Pride’s history that the bulk of IU students will be around & able to attend the event. Third, the proximity of the festival to Halloween will provide for plenty of reasons for festival attendees to dress creatively.
“By October, people will be more than ready to get out & have some fun together, something that they haven’t been able to do since early 2020 before the pandemic halted such activities,” Judi Epp, director & festival raffle coordinator, said.
Over the next couple of months, Spencer Pride organizers will begin soliciting for new vendors & sponsors for the 2021 Spencer Pride Festival. Vendors who had registered for the canceled 2020 festival will automatically be registered for the 2021 event at no charge.
The 2021 Spencer Pride Festival will be the first opportunity for volunteers to implement big changes to the event, which were initially planned to be rolled out in 2020. These changes included an expansion of the event “into the streets,” an indoor main stage, & increased engagement with downtown businesses. The cancelation of the 2020 festival put those plans on hold, & Spencer Pride volunteers are eager to bring their creative ideas to fruition this fall.
For more information about plans for the 2021 Spencer Pride Festival, contact Festival Director Jonathan Balash (Jonathan@SpencerPride.org).