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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The annual TriPride Festival is back in Johnson City after completing its first trifecta of locations in Kingsport and Bristol which started back in 2018 in Johnson City. This year’s theme is “Let Your Pride Shine.”
The Johnson City TriPride will kick off with a parade at 11 a.m. starting on Main Street. It will make its way down Commerce Street, then Boone Street, ending at the festival’s location at Founders Park.
President of the Board of Directors of TriPride, Melody Taylor, said people can line down Commerce Street to get a good view of the parade.
One of the parade grand marshals will be Tennessee State Representative, Gloria Johnson.
“We were honored that she was able to make time on her schedule to come and lead off our parade,” Taylor said.
Special guest, drag queen Eureka O’Hara from Johnson City, will be performing at this year’s event.
“She used to perform regularly at New Beginnings back in the day,” Taylor said. “So she’s kind of a hometown hero to us.”
O’Hara has made appearances on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the “AJ and the Queen” movie and the HBO series, “We’re Here.”
Taylor said it’s exciting to have O’Hara perform as a special guest and loves being able to watch her journey.
“A lot of people in this area have seen her way back when she first got her beginnings in like performing and everything like that,” Taylor said. “So I think that they feel really attached. And it’s just great to see someone from this area succeed in the way that she has.”
Over 150 vendors, including food, arts and crafts and local businesses will be at this event. Free confidential HIV and STI testing will also be provided as part of the health services at TriPride.
Taylor said they put an emphasis on all health services at this festival.
“Giving anything from Narcan doses out and kind of instructions on how to use that as well as like suicide prevention, mental health awareness, things like that,” Taylor said.
Taylor said this event is important to the community, as recent anti-LGBTQ legislation has been pushed in Tennessee.
“So, unfortunately, pride events have always had to be some sort of a statement and viewed politically,” Taylor said. “You know, to us, we’re just out here celebrating who we are and the ability to be your true, authentic self regardless of who you are, what that may be. “
Taylor said the event helps with visibility in the Tri-Cities.
“So that people see that there are LGBTQ people in this area, that we are proud to be exactly who we are and that we’re meant to be exactly who we are,” Taylor said.
TriPride is a free ticketed event for all ages. You can sign up online for tickets beforehand or get them at the entrance on Saturday.
There will be metal detectors at the festival entrance. You can check their website to see a list of prohibited items and to see other festival information.
The TriPride festival is expected to go to 7 p.m., then an afterparty will start at New Beginnings bar and club. A drag brunch will also be there on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. to wrap up this year’s festivities.