Ames Pride will mix education and fun with its annual Pridefest


Gillian Holte/Iowa State Daily

Ames Pridefest 2018 took place on Douglas Avenue on Sept. 29. Drag Queen story time was one of the first events to take place. Melissa May O’Nays read “Jacob’s New Dress” by Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman.

Logan Metzger

Ames Pridefest will be back for its third iteration from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, centering around the intersection of 5th Street and Douglas Avenue near the Ames Public Library.

The festival grounds for Ames Pridefest have been expanded this year to include 5th Street between Kellogg Avenue and Duff Avenue, along with morning programming inside Ames Public Library.

“Ames Pridefest is a celebration and a learning opportunity,” said Katharine Johnson Suski, volunteer coordinator for Ames Pridefest. “It is a way for the Ames community to support individuals who are LGBTQIA+; it is a welcoming event but also a celebration.”

Admission is free for all events and programs, including the entertainment on offer. The entire event area is designated as an alcohol free event.

The Pridefest educational programming team, in partnership with Ames Public Library, is excited to offer learning experiences centered on supporting and connecting queer community members, with particular emphasis on the experiences of queer and trans people of color.

Ames Pridefest will feature a wide variety of educational programming, including a panel on accessing health care as a trans or non-binary person, a session for youth on starting or improving their Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and a book presentation and signing for young adult author Mason Deaver.

“We call it educational programming because it is, but it is also about bringing topics so that the community can engage in those topics,” said nicci port, interim co-chair of Ames Pride’s board of directors.

The schedule of educational programming includes:

10 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. is “Logistics of Care: Accessing Mental and Primary Health Care as a Trans or Non-Binary Person.”

11a.m. to 11:55 a.m. is “Playing Dress Up: Caregivers Panel.”

11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. is “Iowa Safe Schools: Youth Activism 101.”

12 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. is “Pride So White: A Space for QTPOC.”

1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. is “I Wish You All the Best: Mason Deaver YA Author Presentation & Book Signing.”

1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. is “Pride Storytime & Dance Party.”

8:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. is “Qids Pridefest Afterparty Dance” which is for middle schoolers and high schoolers.

Ames Pridefest will feature over 60 community vendors, including healthcare providers, an LGBTQIA+ publisher, local businesses, student organizations and free HIV testing courtesy of Primary Health Care and their mobile testing center. Attendees will be able to learn more about local organizations and businesses, win free prizes and learn more about getting involved in the community.

Ames Pridefest entertainment will feature many Iowa performers on stage this year. More local performers, including singers, poets and drag performers, along with a local headliner will be featured at Pridefest. There will be performers returning from the festival’s first and second years, along with some new entertainers.

The schedule of entertainment includes the following scheduled programs:

At 1:50 p.m. is the welcome, which is followed by a drag show at 2 p.m, a poetry reading at 3 p.m. and another drag show at 3:45 p.m.

At 5:15 p.m. is Ananya Mitra, a 19-year-old singer/songwriter, who was born and raised in Ames. The Ames Pride website describes her music as a “vulnerable picture of her life, with melodies that kill.”

At 6:15 p.m. is Teri Underhill, a musician who the Ames Pride website describes as singing “from the heart and does not hold back her soul when telling stories of loved ones and heartaches.”

The entertainment rounds out with Trouble Lights, an electro dance pop duo from Fairfield, feat. Annalibera.

According to an Ames Pride press release, over 1,500 people attended last year’s Pridefest despite inclement weather. Over 2,000 attendees are expected at Ames Pridefest 2019.

Ames Pride is still looking for volunteers according to Suski. Individuals can sign up online.