The annual Corvallis Pride Fest returns Saturday, September 29, with some striking new features. Aside from craft and food vendors, there will be live performances by local and regional bands, poets, and drag artists, as well as free and anonymous/confidential rapid HIV/STI testing. With no entry fee, this fest is free of alcohol and substances, making it a kid-friendly event—and will even feature Drag Queen Reading Time for the kiddos, before a Trans Speakers Rally and Drag Show later in the day.
This year’s Pride Fest is located at Central Park, smack dab in the middle of Corvallis and across from the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and Downtown Transit Center. Booths and performances will be centered around the gazebo area of the park, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Kicking off the event will be Drag Queen Reading Time hosted by Cali Je, followed by poetry readings, trans speakers, drag performances, and other live performances from regional DJ’s and musicians. (For a detailed schedule of events, see the infographic included in this article.)
The festival will feature a variety of local craft maker and artist booths, and OSU groups such as The OSU Pride Center, SOL, OSU Queer Archives, and more. Community organizations involved include Valley AIDS Information Network, American Foundation for Suicide prevention, and Jackson Street Youth Services. The event’s sponsors so far include Corvallis Fred Meyer, T-Mobile, Rainbow in the Clouds, and Interzone, Inc.
This year’s fest is lead by Dharma Mirza and Mikasi Goodwin, both community organizers and transgender women.
A local student, activist, and artist, Mirza is an LGBTQ+ Advocate, Board Director for Valley Aids Information Network, and Founder of local drag family and entertainment group Haus of Dharma. Mirza’s passions include working with HIV/AIDS and harm reduction and LGBTQ+ development with the City of Corvallis and the Benton County Health Department.
Goodwin is active with the Corvallis Trans Support Group, as well as a candidate for the upcoming Corvallis City Council election. She’s helped in founding a local Democratic Socialists of America chapter as well as in organizing the Corvallis Tenants United union.
The 2018 Corvallis Pride Fest will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Central Park, 650 NW Monroe Ave. The event is free to enter to all ages and free of alcohol and substances. Organizers are currently seeking extra food vendors—spaces are free. To get involved, contact corvallispridefestival@gmail.
By Stevie Beisswanger