Bellingham Pride marks 15th year with dances, parade, other events


Reina Boersma, one of the organizers of this year's Bellingham Pride events, let me know what's happening in the 15th annual celebration.

She wants the community know that Bellingham Pride welcomes the entire Northwest Washington community to enjoy the festivities, which take place Friday through Sunday, July 11-13.

Bellingham Pride, she says, was once a gathering with picnic tables and chairs in a park, but has grown into a large and entertaining three days of events.

This year, Bellingham Pride is recognizing Northwest people and advocates from times with much less freedom, including this year's grand marshal, Shorty Johnson.

There are many heroes in the LGBT community, Boersma says, and Johnson is one of them. Johnson was named the first "Miss Gay Bellingham" in 1982 by the Evergreen Empire, Bellingham's local drag charity organization, and has continued to show her support for more than three decades.

This year's celebrations start with a kick-off night (for those 21 and older) Friday, July 11, with music at The Shakedown, featuring Kurly Something, Powers, Wylde Mercy and Hillary Susz.

The festival continues from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at Bloedel Donovan Park with the Pride Family Picnic, a combination hot-dog feed and community potluck, culminating with an all-ages, substance-free dance at 8 p.m. at the park's Community Building, facilitated by Bellingham Pride and Northwest Youth Services' Queer Youth Project.

Local DJs will provide music all day for Pride's Saturday events at the park.

For more boisterous adults, Boersma says, the Evergreen Empire and Bellingham Pride will co-host the Pride Drag Show from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Rumors Cabaret, followed by Rumors' Pride Party.

Sunday's events feature a community parade that will start at noon at Cornwall Avenue and Ohio Street and proceed along Cornwall, turning left onto Chestnut Street, right onto Railroad Avenue and ending with dancing and other activities at Depot Market Square.

Later Sunday afternoon, the festival will finish with performances by local drag queens, kings, and other local bands.

Bellingham Pride is also welcoming a special guest this year, MTV's Dario, an upcoming gay pop star from Arizona. Details:


Bellingham's Kendall Dodd called me about her Kickstarter project, The Hive, which she envisions as a workspace for what she calls "makers, doers and learners of all ages and ability levels."

She hopes to create a place for people involved not only in visual art, such as printmaking and fiber arts, but also ventures that range from planting a terrarium to sharpening kitchen knives, as she describes on her Kickstarter page.

Dodd says she's an advocate for community-building, and an active homemaker-type (she likes to knit, make jam and work on her house).

Others involved in the project are Nathaniel Breaux, a guitarist and visual artist; Lindsay Felker, a former competitive cyclist who enjoys working on "wheeled machines;" and Dodd's husband, Rich Brown, an associate professor in Western Washington University's theater arts department who likes to build chicken coops and rainwater-catch systems.

Dodd will be at the HomeSkillet, 521 Kentucky St., during the Sunnyland Stomp, from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Details:


Kelly Hart, executive director of Allied Arts, let me know about a couple of deadlines coming up.

There's a call for teams of artists who want to participate in the annual Door Art Throwdown on Aug. 1. Registration is open to the first 10 teams with a fee of $25 per team.

Also, the Bellwether Jazz Festival, taking place Sept. 6 on the Tom Glenn Common near Hotel Bellwether, is seeking vendors for food and art booths at the festival. Deadline to apply is July 17.

Details on both at


Amanda Grove, recreation coordinator at Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department, is seeking artists, vendors and speakers who want to participate in the Everybody Fair: A Disability Celebration, to be held Sept. 7 at Depot Market Square and Boundary Bay Brewery.

The inaugural event aims to connect people with disabilities with community resources, activities, workshops and more.

The fair is sponsored by the parks department, Arc of Whatcom County, Max Higbee Center and Gather Northwest, an event-planning organization.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 15. Details: 360-733-1828,


Behind the Scenes focuses on the people who make the arts and entertainment world of Whatcom County happen. It appears in Take Five, The Bellingham Herald's entertainment section, each Thursday. Margaret Bikman is the Entertainment News Coordinator at The Bellingham Herald. Contact her at 360-715-2273 or

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