Jun. 23—After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Frederick Pride will return to the city with a resurgence of energy and flamboyance.
This year's event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25, featuring nearly 200 vendors and artisans along Carroll Creek Linear Park, from Market Street to the first walking bridge by Idiom Brewing Co.
There will also be new performers, but the mainstay — the local drag community — will return to perform along Carroll Creek, said Kris Fair, director of The Frederick Center, which organizes the event.
"It's a really great opportunity for folks to see a whole plethora of different groups, organizations and really a lot of queer culture," Fair said.
One event of note is the car show in the MARC Station parking lot. There, Lambda Car Club International will showcase collector cars. LCCI is the largest LGBTQ car owner club in the U.S., with about 2,000 members, according to Kyle Blake, president of the Tri-Valley region of the club.
One of their mottos is "Be out on the open road," Blake said. The club has tried to gain more visibility, and being a part of Maryland's second largest Pride event is one way to go, Blake said. It's also a way for the club to share what they love.
"It's a hobby of ours to love these cars," Blake said. "It's great to share it with other people that are likeminded, being able to walk down to the car show holding hands with our partners and not worrying about the prejudices that we get from other car clubs. It's great to be out among ourselves."
The Frederick Center chose the weekend of June 25 with a purpose, said Fair, who is running for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates this year. They've been working closely with the CDC, and over the past two years, this specific week has shown significantly lower transmissibility and positivity rates.
For Frederick Center program director Glorie Cassutto, Pride is a great way to show people that Frederick is a safe space for people in the LGBTQ community. Cassutto said a lot of the center's youth group members will be experiencing Pride for the first time. They won't have to be worried about hate crimes, being misgendered or being judged for showing their love for their partners, they said.
"We're their safe space, so when we as an organization put on Frederick Pride as a whole, that becomes an even larger safe space for them to celebrate themselves and their loved ones," Cassutto said.
This will also be Cassutto's first Pride in Frederick since they started working at the Frederick Center, and they could barely stay still when they talked about the prospect of their first Frederick Pride.
There's been a lot of movement surrounding Pride that goes beyond the festival, Fair said. In partnership with the Frederick Book Arts Center, the two organizations printed 100 customized Pride flags to give to Frederick businesses to hang at no charge.
The Frederick Center donated the flags to the Book Arts Center, who then printed a stamp on each one. The repurposed Civil War-era stamp was initially used to encourage people to sign up for the Union army, Fair said. The original inscription, "E pluribus unum" (out of many, one) — is still on the left side, but the right side says "Protect trans kids."
While addressing discrimination at every level is important, trans kids have been increasingly targeted, Fair said, adding that "there's no more tragic reality than the fact that trans kids have to constantly defend who they are."
"These are real kids — like, these are real people, and your language and the way you talk about them can have devastating consequences on our community," Fair said.
But all in all, Fair is excited to see all the work come to fruition. He compared this year's Pride to trying to get an engine to start back up again. There's been lots of changes compared to past Pride festivals, and it's been difficult to get volunteers back, but the energy has been propelling everyone forward.
"[People] want Pride," Fair said. "They cannot wait to get out on that creek and see what we did."
Follow Clara Niel on Twitter: @clarasnielw
Follow Clara Niel on Twitter: @clarasniel