Community comes together, rain or shine, for return of Salisbury Pride Festival

Published 12:05 am Sunday, June 26, 2022

SALISBURY — Some scattered showers and looming storm clouds throughout the afternoon were no match for those who showed up for this year’s Salisbury Pride Festival.

Returning for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders of Salisbury Pride had their hands full in preparing for the event.

Tim Coffey, president of the organization, joined others already gathered at Bell Tower Green at 6 a.m. Saturday and remained on-the-go for the rest of the busy day.

The crowds started arriving at the festival shortly before the 11 a.m. kickoff and a steady stream of visitors stopped in to enjoy the festivities throughout the afternoon.

Food truck vendors with grilled chicken and just about any other type of food on a stick you could imagine set up shop around the park to help feed all the hungry guests.

The Taco pushHER was one popular vendor who came out to not only offer “support for the whole community” but also to celebrate a one-year anniversary serving food to the public.

Tinsley Hyde, who traveled from Monroe for the festivities, said that while the food was great, the entertainment was the real highlight. She noted the “hilarious dance moves everyone is showing off” at the event’s dance stage as her favorite attraction.

That may have been a fan favorite but on the main stage right in the center of Bell Tower Green, performers and emcees like Delighted Tobehere, Space Daddy and the Galactic Go-Gos kept the crowds entertained.

While storms passed through shortly after 3 p.m., the festival continued on with its theme: Unbreakable Pride. Entertainers, organizers and visitors continued to stick around until the weather cleared, and then the celebration was back underway.

Vendors offered visitors displays of support and several local churches, such as St. John’s Lutheran and St. Luke’s Episcopal, were present and offered their support from the faith community.

Armed forces and law enforcement recruiting stations were also on-site, further demonstrating the sense of unity and inclusion.

One group notably not present during the event was that of protesters. While other Pride events around the country have experienced varying degrees of backlash from anti-LGBTQ groups, this was not the case in Salisbury on Saturday.

As Delighted Tobehere stressed, the goal was to “never engage but to always ignore, ignore, ignore” any protests or demonstrations against Pride and the LGBTQ community.

Without having to worry about outside agitation, festival organizers could focus on love, support and community. South Carolina native Kevin Ragland said he never expected Salisbury to have a festival like this and that he “will definitely be back next year … and every year after that.”

His enthusiasm was matched by vendors and guests alike as the event officially came to an end at 5 p.m. The party was only just getting started for some though as an after-party at the Fish Bowl was to go on later in the evening.