Photo from the 2012 Utah Pride Parade, courtesy of David Daniels

Although it may not be raining, the colors of the rainbow will be descending on Salt Lake City at the end of the month. The Utah Pride Festival is back with the help of volunteers, staff and community organizations. This program shows support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. There are events planned for each day of the festival that will take place at venues around town, with the main festival being held at Washington Square in SLC.

Grand Marshal

This year's grand marshal, David Testo. Photo courtesy of Utah Pride Center.

The grand marshal is usually someone who has contributed a lot to the community by participating in awareness and education. Pro soccer player David Testo is the grand marshal this year. He has not played soccer for the past few years, instead dedicating his time to developing youth programs. He is also one of a handful openly gay athletes in pro sports.

Festival  Events

May 30
7 p.m. Interfaith Service at Congregation Kol Ami

May 31
7 p.m. Grand Marshal Reception at The Leonardo

June 1
9 a.m. Pride Day 5K at Memory Grove
2 p.m. Trans and Dyke Marches
3 p.m. Festival Gates Open at Washington Square
4 p.m. Performance by Alex Newell
7 p.m. Performance by Ivy Winters and Pandora Boxx
9 p.m. Dance Party with DJ Jen Woolfe

June 2
10 a.m. Parade
11 a.m. Festival Gates Open at Washington Square
4 p.m. Performance by Ms. Thelma Houston
7 p.m. Festival Closes

Utah Pride Parade 2012, photo courtesy of David Daniels.

Q&A on the Utah Pride Festival

We chatted with Megan Risbon, the director of events for this year's Utah Pride Festival to get her take on how the community should get involved and what's she's most looking forward to this year. 

What does the festival mean to you?

"The festival is a celebration for the LGBT community. It is the first program of the Utah Pride Center and is the biggest fundraiser. It allows us to do outreach to the community and to show that there is a thriving LGBT community in the area."

Who can get invovled and how?

"Anybody can get involved, and there are many different ways. This year, there are 52 sponsors, from corporate to media. The festival is run and managed by a group of about 1,500 volunteers and more are always needed. There are 12 community partner groups this year, which is the most there have ever been. People can also get involved just by coming to the festival and parade."

What was your process for planning all of this?

"We started planning in July of last year. We start out small with a few staff members and volunteers for a committee, which meets regularly throughout the year. The committee, containing about 20 people, decides possible entertainment and all of the other necessary details."

What's the overall goal of this year's festival?

"This is a defining year. There are major decisions with the Supreme Court coming up, and in the next few weeks the Boy Scouts of America are making a decision on whether or not to allow gay leaders. The theme this year is 'Gotta Be Real, Be Equal.' Change happens when people are real and this is when true equality will happen."

What are you most excited for this year?

"We brought in two performers from RuPaul's Drag Race. These performers always put on a great show—stilt walking and breathing fire—so we are really excited about that." 

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