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FM Pride brings color and creativity to Fargo-Moorhead

'It's a time for love and celebration,' the organizer of the annual Pride in the community says.

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Saturday night's block party is a highlight of the 2022 FM Pride activities.
Contributed / M. Schleif Photography
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FARGO — After two years of being limited by COVID-19, Fargo-Moorhead Pride is fully back and bigger than ever and looking to expand.

FM Pride Chair Chelsea Diederich says that next year, organizers will have to consider expanding the layout of popular events like Saturday’s Pride in the Park.

“We’ve seen a huge influx of support,” says Diederich, adding that she sees the events as a partnership between FM Pride and the larger community.

The annual celebration has about 60 business sponsors and attracts thousands of attendees to Pride Week events, leading up to a Sunday afternoon, Aug. 14, parade on Broadway.

“We wanted it to be more experiential,” Diederich says of this year’s events.

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Pride in the Park, for example, features more than 100 different LGBT-friendly vendors, merchants, artisans, services and local community organizations and groups as well as games, activities and entertainment for all ages in Island Park. Highlights will include a display set up by the Red River Zoo and a station where people can paint rocks which will then be relocated throughout the community, dotting the landscape with unexpected art.

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Josh Boschee (left) talks to visitors at a past Pride in the Park.
Forum News Service file photo

Overlapping the second half of Pride in the Park, PatioPalooza at Fargo’s Wild Terra presents a family and pet-friendly bazaar atmosphere with food, clothing and flower vendors as well as pet features. There will also be non-alcoholic slushees with $1 for each one sold donated to FM Pride.

This year also includes the return of the Pride 5K Fun Run on paved trails around Moorhead’s Vikingship park and on Homestead Trail.

New this year is Sunday morning yoga on the terrace of the Jasper Hotel , a way to loosen up for the parade later that day.

Sara Watson Curry (center), now a Moorhead City Council Member, waves as she marches in the 2014 Fargo-Moorhead Pride Parade. Forum file photo
Colorful marchers in the 2014 FM Pride Parade.
Forum file photo

“We like to diversify our activities,” Diederich says, adding that her favorite is the Saturday night block party at Fargo Brewing featuring drag performances by Elliott with 2 T’s from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and others.

“I love going to the Saturday night drag show with all of the lights and production of a full show. That’s really special,” Diederich says.

Scarlet Vision Productions held its first all-ages drag show in Fargo this month. One city official from western North Dakota said performers are trying to "corrupt" youth, while parents said they brought their kids to the show to give them a wider view of the world.

“Fargo-Moorhead has been a great place” for Pride events, she says, but she notes that anti-LGBT activity around the country is always in mind when planning events.

“Security and safety at every event are our priorities. We want to be as safe and welcoming as possible,” she says. “That’s the magic of this one week, to come together and celebrate. We’ll stand up for people. It’s not a time to be rude or down on anyone. It’s a time for love and celebration.”

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Tweeden opened the first gay bar in Fargo, and helped proclaim June as pride month in the city

After Saturday’s parade, select speakers will address a crowd gathered in Fargo’s Broadway Square. Josh Boschee, the North Dakota House Minority Leader, will be one of the speakers and offer a memorial to Lenny Tweeden, who died earlier this month. Tweeden opened Fargo’s first gay bar in 1983, pushed for Fargo’s first Pride celebration that same year and would later run for Fargo City Commission and mayor.

Diederich encourages those who have never been but may be interested in Pride events to take part.

“This week is about celebration, but also advocacy. That’s really important,” she says. “I leave every Pride with the biggest smile and you’ll leave with a smile too.”

For 20 years John Lamb has covered art, entertainment and lifestyle stories in the area for The Forum.
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