FARGO — After missing out last year on the bigger festivities, organizers of this year’s Fargo-Moorhead Pride have been working hard to host a great weekend-long celebration. While they have planned a number of events, organizers say the real key to success is the people that show up.

“We’re excited to have everyone get back together again this year. People are excited to feel that sense of community,” says Chelsea Diederich, chair of FM Pride.

She says with Pride events put on hold last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attendees didn’t just miss out on the fun of the events — they missed out on the camaraderie.

“For a lot of people, (Pride) may be the only time they feel comfortable as their authentic self. Without that last year people may have missed feeling part of that community,” she says.

That sense of community starts rolling Thursday night, Aug. 12, with roller skating at Skate City at 6:30 p.m., followed by LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) trivia and karaoke at Rhombus Guys at 8 p.m.

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Friday features a youth Pride drag show at 7 p.m. at the Avalon Events Center for $10, followed by a 21-and-older dance party there for $10 at 10 p.m.

Organizers put up rainbow flags in downtown Fargo ahead of the 2015 FM Pride week. Forum file photo
Organizers put up rainbow flags in downtown Fargo ahead of the 2015 FM Pride week. Forum file photo

Over 100 vendors, artisans, business services, local community groups, games and entertainers will set up in Island Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for one of the biggest events of the weekend, Pride in the Park.

A 21-and-older Block Party at Fargo Brewing Co. starts at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, featuring Alexis Mateo, from "RuPaul’s Drag Race" Season 3 and All Stars Seasons 1 & 5, as well as Minneapolis drag queens Monica West and Genevee Love. Tickets range from $15 to $40.

The weekend winds down on Sunday with an interfaith service at the Fargo Theatre at 12:30 p.m., followed by the Pride Parade through downtown Fargo at 2 p.m.

Parade Grand Marshal Conrad Larson, among others, will speak at Broadway Square following the parade.

Larson, who is transgender, was nominated for the role after speaking out at a Fargo City Commission meeting in April, following transphobic comments from an area man.

“Trans people have been scapegoated by so many people for so long, but it’s really ramped up lately,” Larson said in the Pride Guide, a rundown of this year’s FM Pride Events. “This year alone over 100 anti-trans bills have been put forward in the U.S. We are under attack and all we want to do is just live and be treated with dignity and respect.”

Diederich says while the pandemic has put extra stress on many people, some of those in the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities may have felt it even more if they felt separated from those that understand them.

“If you’re not in a supportive environment, it can be isolating if you don’t have that support around you,” Diederich says.

She and other organizers have addressed concerns since a new strain of COVID-19 is seeing a spike. The all-ages indoor events will require masks, which will also be encouraged for the 21-and-older indoor shows. Organizers also worked with the North Dakota Department of Health which is hosting a testing and vaccination site in the east parking lot of YMCA Fercho during Pride in the Park.

She says Pride events are designed to be welcoming and friendly — and for many people, that means hugging.

“I hope people are smart,” she says. “We want all of our events to be safe, but I think that warmth will still be there because Pride only happens once a year. Those feelings carry over from year to year.”

If you go

What: FM Pride

When: Thursday, Aug. 12, through Sunday, Aug. 15

Where: Various locations in Fargo

Info: For a full list of events and descriptions, go to https://fmpride.com