With a buzz of traffic noise around them at Cornerstone Park in downtown Muncie, participants in the Pride Kickoff event created a meaningful experience June 3 to celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ community in Muncie.
Muncie OUTreach presented the kickoff event, starting the presentation with SteVen Knipp, executive director of Muncie Pride, who recognized groups and individuals who dedicate their time to helping LGBTQ people, including local business Queer Chocolatier and Ball State’s student orginization Spectrum.
After a few speakers, Brynn Allison, who will be playing Dorothy in Muncie Civic Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz,” sang a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She was followed by Kai Ellory, a music artist from Indianapolis, who played guitar and sang original songs. Jacob Drummer also performed multiple dance routines. Ellory and Drummer performed individually, and together in a finale.
This is only Muncie Pride’s second year hosting events, and the first year in person. For 2021, organizers stretched the festivities out into five smaller events, instead of one larger celebration, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Adam Thatcher, Muncie Pride entertainment director and assistant professor in Ball State’s Department of Theatre and Dance, is in charge of the entertainment for all events, and said he is happy to have the events in person.
Upcoming Muncie Pride Events
June 12: Pulse memorial vigil
At 9 p.m. at the Mark III Taproom mural, vigil attendees will remember the lives lost at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016.
June 17, 7 p.m.: “Pride Night” at Muncie Civic Theatre’s Production of Wizard of Oz
June 19: Juneteenth celebration
Muncie Pride is sponsoring a 3-9 p.m. event at Heekin Park commemorating the anniversary of the day all African American enslaved people in the United States learned they were freed.
July 10: Ride with Pride
At noon, Muncie Pride will host a bicycling event starting at the mural on the side of the Mark III Taproom and ending with a picnic at Cornerstone Park and a Drag Queen Storytime.
Aug. 25: Queer Conversation panel
At 6:30 p.m., Muncie Pride will host a panel of speakers and some artistic performances at Muncie Civic Theatre.
Learn about more Muncie Pride events on the organization's website.
Source: Muncie Pride Events web page
“Honestly, planning the entertainment this year has been a breeze in comparison to the last,” Thatcher said. “I have to look at our talent pool and pair which artists I think fit which events we’re hosting, and that’s what I did with Kai and Jacob today, and it worked out.”
During performances in the park, spectators were waving pride flags and enjoying each other’s company. Scholarships were also presented at the event to community youth who applied with essays earlier this year. Wesley Snow-Rice, a Muncie local and recipient of one of the Muncie Pride scholarships, talked with other event attendees when they offered him congratulations
“This has obviously been a great experience,” Snow-Rice said. “I’m very excited to see where this [Muncie Pride] goes — it’s a wonderful start.”
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