First inaugural Wausau Pride event to be held Saturday
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - June is Pride month and it’s a time when the LGBTQ+ communities come together to reflect on their history and the impact they’ve made across the world. The Wausau River District is partnering with an up-and-coming non-profit to celebrate the month Saturday, June 4.
Wausau Pride will be the first celebration and inaugural event that the Wausau River District will be a part of. The Wausau River District is helping a couple of community members who’ve reached out to the organization to put on the events happening Saturday. The non-profit is called Wausau Pride, which is also the name of the event.
“We had a couple of community members reach out who wanted to see an event of this nature here in our community. So we brought them in underneath our umbrella. And within three years, we’re helping them create their own nonprofit, so they can eventually take that over for future years,” the executive director for the Wausau River District, Blake Opal-Wahoske said.
Within that partnership, this year the Wausau River District is helping organize the events. Next year, the organization will help the organizers of Wausau Pride establish a non-profit status. By year three, the organizers will take it over themselves.
“You know, it’s fantastic for us as a mainstream organization to help groups like Wausau Pride get up off the ground. You know, Main Street America has really taken a strong stance in the last few years that we really need to find ways to make our downtowns more inclusive and diverse. And this is just one way that we can start doing that here at Wausau,” Opal-Wahoske said.
He said the partnership will also help Wausau Pride make connections to other businesses and organizations that will help them be successful in the future.
There will be family-friendly events that start at the 400 Block like live music, bounce houses, an unveiling of an LGBTQ+ mural and an outdoor movie. Those events are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The celebrations will then continue from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Whitewater Music Hall for open mic and drag performances.
Opal-Wahoske said these celebrations are not only for the LGBTQ+ community but also for the community as a whole.
“I can’t tell you how important it is, you know, I myself am part of the LGBTQ plus community and to see my own community represented within my local community. It has a huge impact,” Opal-Wahoske said. “It really helps as far as attraction and retention of talent here in the central Wisconsin area. But it also gives people who have been marginalized in the past, a way to get involved in a public forum and find a community within our area.”
He also added that these events are a great opportunity for the community to come out and learn something new, while also helping the community come together and grow.
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