Because of the COVID pandemic, the Downtown area was empty last year -- but this year the events will be back. Ferndale Pride was virtual last year, and this year the festival will be slightly delayed.
The festival is set for October 2. Around 20,000 people are expected to attend the event. But that doesn’t change the fact that June is Pride Month.
“Usually June 1 I drive down 9 Mile Road and flags are up. People are ready to go,” Julia Music of Ferndale Pride said.
While many festivals are pushed back due to COVID, there are still safe ways the LGBTQ+ community can celebrate.
“We are having a lot of events throughout the month at Ferndale Project. We’re having multiple events, but we also have events going on through the city so if people aren’t comfortable gathering, there are things they can do,” Music said.
Motor City Pride is set to take place in September.
“We’re going to be having a broadcast like we did last year. Pride Live event on June 5,” Dave Wait, of Motor City Pride, said. “We wanted to be cautious and make sure people were healthy to give time to open up. Opening faster than could’ve believed.”
Motor City Pride typically attracts 55,000 people. Pride Month will feel different again, but there is optimism for what’s to come.
“Already we’re getting emails and messages from people, ‘Is there going to be a festival?’ They can’t wait,” Wait said.
Many Pride festivals are huge fundraisers for outreach programs and charities. One of Ferndale’s biggest supporters is a small business downtown.
“Sponsoring Pride isn’t just a business decision for us. It’s part of our philosophy and value system,” Jacki Smith with the Candle Wick Shoppe said.
The Candle Wick Shoppe was impacted by the COVID pandemic but said sponsoring Ferndale Pride creates a vital sense of belonging.
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