The history of East Central Minnesota Pride:


  • The first Pride was held commemorating the Men’s Circle’s fifth anniversary.  Note:  The Men’s Circle is a gay, bi, trans and questioning men’s discussion and support group serving East Central Minnesota.
  • It was the first pride in Minnesota not held in a metropolitan area, and no other rural cities in the U.S. had held a pride event prior (Since then, other rural Minnesota communities such as Willmar, Brainerd, Marshall and Thief River Falls have held prides).

1st Pride


  • Pride endured despite a protest “Pro-Family” picnic across town.
  • National media outlets picked-up on this rare, rural pride event.

2nd Pride


  • The Pride ad which ran in area newspapers (shown below) sparked controversy because of the boa around the iconic Pine City voyageur.
  • Entertainment included singer-songwriter Barb Ryman, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”‘s Tommy Ryman (mother-son duo) and rapper Joey Dox, who never showed.

3rd Pride


  • In an effort to attract more women to the event, the Pride promotions featured two women.
  • All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church Choir performed.

ECMN Pride 4


  • The theme:  We are Family!
  • All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church Choir returned.

5th Pride


  • Mark Dayton, later Gov. Dayton, attended Pride.
  • The theme:  A Rainbow Odyssey: an epic drama of inclusion and celebration

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 9.42.59 AM


  • “Minnesota’s Small-Town Gay Pride”, East Central Minnesota Pride, was awarded the Community Pride Showcase at the Minnesota State Fair.
  • The theme:  Out in the Country!

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 9.45.22 AM


  • The theme: A Rainbow Rendezvous
  • Entertainment included Yasen Marie, Harley Wood, Nobody’s Weddin’ and City Pages’ Artist of the Year Chastity Brown.

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 9.32.20 PM


  • Same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota.
  • Former Minnesota Viking Esera Tuaolo took the Pride stage.
  • The theme:  Equality Matters

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 9.59.44 AM


  • Pride in East Central Minnesota celebrated 10 years.
  • Despite washout forecast, sun shined on Pride!
  • Former Viking Esera Tuaolo performed and Edward Moody was emcee.
  • The theme:  A Decade of Change (two promotional fliers created)
  • Pride buttons circulated with the words “Bad Apple” since that’s how LGBT constituents were referenced by Pine County Commissioner Mitch Pangerl and Pine City School Board member Robert Shuey at public meetings.  It was both of their final years serving public office.
  • For the very FIRST time, East Central PFLAG organized a unit in the Pine County Fair Parade, the biggest in the region.  The float theme was “A Decade of Pride in East Central Minnesota.”  Volunteers helped decorate, walk, hold signs, etc., while wearing rainbow bling to show their pride. This was done in effort to thank the overwhelming majority of the Greater Pine City community that has welcomed Pride for 10 years.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 10.01.40 AMScreen Shot 2018-06-07 at 10.02.07 AM


  • The theme:  Transforming Hearts and Minds
  • Excerpts from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” were performed by co-stars of the recent, award-winning Duluth production.
  • For the first time, Pride displayed a banner across Pine City’s Main Street (see touching email sent to Pride Committee this year, below):

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 9.34.39 PMFacebook Correspond


  • Pride moved to a new venue, Robinson Park, in the town square (the “heart”) of Pine City
  • The theme:  Pride in the Heart

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 9.34.05 PM


  • Pride performers:  Mark Joseph and The American Soul and Kat Perkins, semifinalist from NBC’s The Voice
  • The theme:  Pride Persists

2017 Pride


  • Pride website changes from a dot com to a dot org.   
  • Pride performers:  Mark Joseph and The American Soul and Kind Country
  • The theme:  Spirit of Pride… Never, Never, Ever Give Up!

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 1.51.14 PM


  • Ceremonial Rainbow Ribbon Cutting officially kicked off the 2019 Pride Season in Minnesota.
  • 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, the modern gay rights movement.
  • Pride performers:  Venus DeMars and Mark Joseph and The American Soul (who covered Paul Simon’s album Graceland).
  • The theme:  Pride in the Park: 15 Years of Positive Change

EastCentralMinnesotaPride Ad


  • Event canceled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Pride would have been held on Saturday for the first time, corresponding better to Pine City business hours.
  • Pride performers were set to be Mark Joseph and The American Soul, Jacob Mahon and the Salty Dogs and Rebel Queens.  Special guest and emcee was going to be Martina Marraccino.
  • Pride theme was set to be:   Saturday Shindig

EastCentralMinnesotaPride 2020 FlierScreen Shot 2020-05-14 at 11.32.14 AM


  • COVID-19 subsides; people become vaccinated. The event is back on but postponed to September.
  • Pride held on Saturday for first time, corresponding better to business hours downtown Pine City.
  • Pride performers were:  Jacob Mahon and The New Salty Dog and Rebel Queens.  Special Guest: Martina Marraccino
  • The theme: Stronger Together
  • Two post-Pride events were held. Highway 61 Film Festival held a film screening at Pine Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. and Froggy’s held an 18+ drag show at 9 p.m.


  • Controversy stemmed from the host, Martina Marraccino, who was accused of being a satanist pornographer.
  • Pride performers were:  Jacob Mahon and The New Salty Dog and Mark Joseph and The American Soul.
  • The theme: Growing in Pride
  • A post-Pride drag show was held at Froggy’s at 6 p.m.


  • The theme: Pride Alive 365
  • A post-Pride drag show was held at Froggy’s again.
  • Performers Jacob Mahon and Mark Joseph were back. Roxxy Hall band joins the lineup.