This small town Pride has four drag shows, including one for pets

Pride in the Park in Avon, Colorado
Pride in the Park in Avon, Colorado Photo: Madison Rahhal

In Colorado, in the heart of ski country not far from Vail and Aspen and Breckenridge and the gateway to the luxe Beaver Creek Resort, the small town of Avon, pop. 6000, is punching above its weight with a Pride festival that attracts thousands of their mountain neighbors.

The inaugural Pride in the Park celebration on the shores of Benchmark Lake Reservoir kicked off in 2020 and has grown into a pillar of the Avon community, becoming a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the area’s LGBTQ+ community year-round.

Madison Partridge, executive director of Mountain Pride, says they’re working hard to “create a safe and affirming environment and community where people feel validated.”

“It’s not easy,” she tells LGBTQ Nation about asserting LGBTQ+ identity in a traditionally conservative, rural environment. “We’ve spent our lives being told, in many different ways in fact, that it’s wrong.”

You wouldn’t know it from the lineup for this year’s Pride celebration at the beginning of June. In keeping with the crunchier, groovy side of Colorado culture, the day started with group yoga, followed by no less than four different drag shows—including one for pets—and the Pride Parade around scenic Nottingham Park.

At the end of the month, the “Mountain Pride First Gayla” recruits local leaders for a drag fundraising event they’re calling the Charity Turnabout Drag Show. Proceeds help fund the org’s “Proud Beyond Pride” initiative, started in 2022.

“Pride goes beyond the month of June,” Partridge says, including serving youth in Avon’s high school by providing affirming, inclusive safe spaces and the “support and resources that I think so many of our community members have needed and wanted for years.”

That initiative, plus education and the visibility their marquee Pride in the Park event provides, are “the work we’re trying to do to break down the barriers people might have around the LGBTQ+ community,” Partridge shares.

“We are here, we are your friends, we are your neighbors,” she says. “We are people you pass by in the grocery store. We deserve to live in a community where we are supported.”

“I am really hopeful for the future,” Partridge adds. “We’ve seen tremendous growth in our society, in our world, and even in our community. But there is so much work that needs to be done.”

Pride in Pictures is LGBTQ Nation’s annual series celebrating Pride across the country. We asked our readers to send in their pictures and stories of Pride and we got so many rainbows. Keep an eye out for more heartwarming stories to get you ready for Pride Month 2024.

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