The Utah Pride Center, the organization behind the annual Utah Pride Festival, has announced that the theme for this year’s celebration will be Our History, Our Future.
“We are very conscious of the fact this is the 40 year [anniversary] of Pride celebrations in our country,” said Michael Westley, the Center’s Media and Special Events Coordinator. “On the heels of a very politically-charged year for the LGBTQ community, we felt strongly that we wanted a theme that would talk about where we stand, and understanding where we stand right now has great importance for where we’re coming from, yet we feel like we’re making great strides in where we’re going.”
Westley said the Center got the idea for the theme from remarks outgoing board president Fran Pryne made when describing the assets incoming president Nikki Boyer (the board’s former development chair) would bring to the Center as a leader. Boyer is also the chair of the Utah Stonewall Democrats, the party’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus. She has been an activist in the state’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights community since the 1960s.
“[Pryne] said Nikki is perfect person to be director, because she’s our history and our future,” said Westley. “Because Nikki has a history in valley and has brought a lot of help especially to youth who often don’t know a lot about our history, and she will be paving the way for a better future for all of us.”
“We’re incredibly proud to have Nikki leading the board, and we believe her leadership is going to help the Center as well as the Pride Festival remember where we’ve come from and chart the path of where we’re going, which are both essential to our success,” he continued.
Although the Center will not announce the festival’s featured performers or the Utah Pride Parade’s Grand Marshal for a number of months, it is now accepting applications from local entertainers and vendors (including food services). These applications will be live on its Web site, Utahpride.org, later this month. Likewise, the Center is seeking volunteers for the festival, including volunteers to fill a number of key leadership roles. Westley said the festival is looking for an individual with experience with food handling — and restaurant and catering experience in particular — to assist food vendors at the event.
“[This volunteer should] understand food safety and preparation [and] be able to come and oversee our food operations, to make sure those vendors are taken care of and everything they’re doing is done in safety and compliance with the law,” he said. “That keen eye, we believe, will serve us and our community well.”
The festival is also looking for stage managers for each of its four stages, transportation equipment managers and captains for each of the festival grounds’ four quadrants. Last year, Westley said he and another volunteer handled all issues pertaining to vendors needs, logistics and conflict resolution at the festival, and since then the Center has decided that dividing responsibilities among four people would make handling all such issues easier. “
All leadership positions require attending twice monthly meetings, which will begin in February or March and take place on Wednesday evenings.
“You’re going to experience Pride a little differently than usual, but you’re going to have fun doing it,” said Westley of volunteering at the festival.