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 and questioning men’s discussion and support group serving East Central Minnesota.
- It was said to be the first pride in Minnesota not held in a metropolitan area, one of just two in the U.S. (Since then, other rural Minnesota communities such as Willmar, Brainerd, Marshall and Thief River Falls have held prides).
- Pride endured despite a protest “Pro-Family” picnic across town.
- National media outlets picked-up on this rare, rural pride event.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pride theme was “We are Family.”
- All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church Choir returned.
- Mark Dayton, later Gov. Dayton, attended Pride.
- Pride theme was “A Rainbow Odyssey: an epic drama of inclusion and celebration”.
- “Minnesota’s Small-Town Gay Pride”, East Central Minnesota Pride, was awarded the Community Pride Showcase at the Minnesota State Fair.
- Pride theme was “Out in the Country”.
- Pride theme was “A Rainbow Rendezvous”.
- Entertainment included Yasen Marie, Harley Wood, Nobody’s Weddin’ and City Pages’ Artist of the Year Chastity Brown.
- Same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota.
- Former Minnesota Viking Esera Tuaolo took the Pride stage.
- Pride theme was “Equality Matters”.
- Pride in East Central Minnesota celebrates 10 years.
- Despite washout forecast, sun shined on Pride!
- Former Viking Esera Tuaolo performed and Edward Moody was emcee.
- Pride theme: “A Decade of Change.” (two promotional fliers created)
- Pride buttons circulated with the words “Bad Apple” since that’s what LGBT constituents were referred to as 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: “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.
- Pride 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 displays a banner across Pine City’s Main Street (see touching email sent to Pride Committee this year, below):
- Pride moved to a new venue, Robinson Park, in the town square (the “heart”) of Pine City
- Pride theme: “Pride in the Heart”
- Pride performers: Mark Joseph and The American Soul and semifinalist Kat Perkins from NBC’s The Voice
- Pride theme: “Pride Persists”
- Pride website changes to a -.org, rather than a -.com.
- Pride performers: Mark Joseph and The American Soul and Kind Country
- Pride theme: “Spirit of Pride… Never, Never, Ever Give Up!”
- Ceremonial Rainbow Ribbon Cutting – Officially kicking off the 2019 Pride Season in Minnesota.
- 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, the modern gay rights movement.
- Pride performers: Mark Joseph and The American Soul (covers Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’) and Venus DeMars
- Pride theme: “Pride in the Park: 15 Years of Positive Change”