Record attendance expected at Delaware Pride

The Delaware Pride Festival will return again this year to the Legislative Hall in Dover. The free event, hosted by Brie Daniels and Jayden Storm, takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 1.

Entertainment will be provided by a bevy of fabulous drag queens and kings, a teen dance group from Dover High School, the first-ever Miss Delaware Pride, who was crowned in 1997, and the reigning Miss Delaware Pride. The event will feature games like a water-balloon toss and appearances by elected officials like Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen.

This year’s theme, “Color Delaware with Pride,” is aimed at unifying LGBT communities throughout the state.

“We hope that we can bring LGBT Delaware more together,” said Delaware Pride vice president Anthony Hackett. “Sometimes the different communities in different towns do their own thing, but we want to color all of Delaware with Pride together, as one.”

The theme will appear alongside the winning logo from the annual logo contest. This year’s winner was Lonnie Walker, a graphic designer from Louisville, Ky.

Hackett said Pride organizers also wanted to focus more on youth this year.

“We are bringing in the youth dance group and doing our water-balloon toss. It’s important to us that young people feel welcome here as well. They’re too-often overlooked,” Hackett said.

This is the second year that the event has been held in Dover, which Hackett said has led to higher attendance numbers.

“We had one of our biggest turnouts ever last year, with 3,000 people. We’re looking to double that this year,” said Hackett.

The festival had previously been held in Rehoboth and other towns in the state, but Dover seems to be working out the best so far, Hackett added.

“Dover is right in the middle of the state, and is very accessible to people in both northern and southern Delaware. Plus, the mayor and governor can come out and say a few words. I know they’re especially excited to speak this year after the marriage-equality ruling.”

For more information, visit www.delawarepride.org/wordpress.