Friday, June 12, 2020

Don’t Let a Pandemic Get You Down—Woodstock Pride Promenade is On!

Last year the Woodstock County Pride Fest on Woodstock Square was a mind blowing enormous success.  Thousands thronged the Square for a lively program and visited the colorful booths and display tables of local social service agencies, activist groups, businesses, and supportive churches.  The parade was impressive and welcomed by crowds thronging the streets around the Square.  Pretty good for a first time event in a county many were afraid to even come out in a decade ago.  Everyone was eager for an even bigger and better event this year.  Then that damned Coronavirus pandemic and lock-down scrubbed the Fest for 2020.  Bummer.

A home decorated for last week's Buffalo Grove Pride Drive.

But event sponsor Woodstock Pride found a way to celebrate anyway—the Woodstock Pride Promenade which will be held this Sunday, June 14 from noon to 3 pm.  Participants in decorated cars can start on the Square and drive through town past registered homes and businesses which will also be decorated for the event.  The virus-safe event will be similar to but much larger than car parades organized to celebrate birthdays, graduations, weddings, and other events.  Buffalo Grove has already had a very successful similar affair.

A map of the route will be posted Sunday morning on the Pride Promenade Facebook event.  Participants will be able to follow the route any time between noon and three. 

Woodstock resident Crystal Squires has already decorated her windows for the Pride Promenade.

The ongoing Black Lives Matter and George Floyd marches and rallies have shown how important standing up for oppressed communities in these dark times is.  Members of the LGBTQ community were prominent in the BLM actions in McHenry County and all across the country especially since Blacks and people of color who are Gay, Lesbian, transgender, or those in drag are often even more apt to be targets for police or vigilante attack.  Women and those who identify or present as women may be at the highest risk of all.  In Buffalo Grove and other places that have held Pride events this month, that link was explicitly acknowledged.  And it will be in Woodstock.

This Buffalo Grove home clebrated Black Lives Matter.

But the Pride Promenade will be anything but a grim political expression.  It will be joyful but also defiant of the forces working to reverse all of the gains since the Stonewall Rebellion of 1968 that was the inspiration of Pride Month.  After all, that was an uprising against police oppression and brutality too.  Nobody expected the queers and drag queens to fight back, but they did.

A big tip-o’-the-hat to the indefatigable Missy Funk and the other members of Woodstock Pride for their tireless dedication in putting the Promenade together.

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