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On June 5, Salida held its annual Pride celebration. The community came out to celebrate Pride after a year of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic when most festive events were canceled. Called “Start Where You Are”, this year looked a little different as there was no parade; the festivities began from where people started out for Riverside Park and were soon in full swing.

City Councilperson, Mike Pollock, dressed as a butterfly in celebration of Pride. Image by Brooke Gilmore.

Multiple important figures within the community spoke during the event including County Commissioner Keith Baker who talked about unity and owning one’s lane.

City Councilperson Mike Pollock acknowledged that “Salida is Gay.” Pastor Mel Roberts advocated for building a community of acceptance, especially within the church. Shelley Schriener from the Alliance spoke to violence within the LGBTQ+ community and how to help survivors.

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell speaking to what Pride means to her. Image by Brooke Gilmore.

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell said “Senator Tammy Baldwin says all of us who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our movement which is why I’m so proud today and I’ll be proud tomorrow and I’ll be proud for all the days for the rest of my years. I’m proud I live and work in the community where I grew up. I’m proud my community comes together in tough times and will challenge divisive and false points.”

Nonbinary drag artist Lady Shug gave a thrilling performance from start to finish. The event started on stage with an emotional performance that was recently seen on the HBO series “We’re Here.” Lady Shug then took the “Riverside slide” and closed out the performance in the Arkansas River. Click here to learn more about Lady Shug and follow them on Instagram.

Lady Shug in the Arkansas River. Image by Brooke Gilmore.

Lady Shug is a Diné non-binary drag artist from the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and has been a drag artist for years. They’re known to center their culture and Indigeneity in their craft.

After Lady Shug’s performance, Ark Valley Pride handed out this year’s pride awards. The 2021 Grand Marshal was Beck Cerón who said, “I am honored to be the Grand Marshall of this years Ark Valley Pride.  I’m thankful to be a part of a town that’s full of art, integrity, kindness and ultimately progression. Here’s to staying true to yourself and standing for your rights.”

To see the full list of award recipients, click here. Happy Pride!

Featured image: Lady Shug. Image by Brooke Gilmore.