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4th Annual Down East Pride Festival


The Down East Pride Festival, the only annual Pride event in eastern North Carolina, will be held this year from Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20 in Greenville, NC.

Now in its fourth year, the Festival will kick off on Friday with an evening of entertainment by eastern North Carolina performers, continue through Saturday with morning workshops, the afternoon outdoor festival on the Town Common, and a nighttime Pride Dance, and conclude Sunday morning with a nondenominational church service followed by brunch.

The Friday night opener will be a relaxed, casual "family" event featuring music and other entertainment in an informal setting. Local artists will be invited to perform to emphasize the festival's theme—'Our Down East community, our Down East pride!'" —and support a sense of LGBT community in eastern North Carolina.

Saturday morning workshops will again precede the outdoor festival. Marc Adams, author of The Preacher's Son, will be a featured presenter with his Campaign of Awareness on religious educational institutions and hate crimes against gay and lesbian youth. Adams' visit to Down East Pride earlier this year was warmly received and the Festival committee is pleased to sponsor a return engagement.

As always, however, the Saturday afternoon outdoor celebration along the Tar River on Greenville's picturesque Town Common will be the centerpiece of the Festival.

On stage at Common will be the eclectic rhythms and soun (Suzanna Mallow and Andrea Jones). Red Letter Day hails from the Maryland shore and has a strong following up and down the eastern seaboard.

In contrast, rising Asian-American artist Magdalen Hsu-Li will perform her unique blend of pop/rock/alternative music and jazz. Hsu-Li's visit to Greenville is part of her upcoming national tour, a major undertaking that will take her from north to south and from coast to coast. The one — the only — Miss Purina Chow is the festival's Grand Marshal, and performances by some of the area's most prominent female impersonators will also grace the Festival stage.

Also taking the stage will be the messages of speakers M. K. Cullen of NC Pride P.A.C., Mandy Carter of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and Southerners on New Ground, and Don Davis, of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. In response to community suggestions, this Down East Pride Festival will also present some new attractions, including a dunking booth, volleyball and other activities. Another addition, a silent auction, will feature a script from the TV comedy Cybil signed by the show's entire cast, as well as autographed Broadway posters.

Of course, there will be food and vendors aplenty, as well as Down East Pride's second annual toaster oven drawing, capping its current "friend-raiser" membership drive.

A reception for the day's speakers and performers will follow the outdoor portion of the festival. A relaxed, informal, non-alcoholic hour or two, this "meet and greet" event will be open to all.

On Saturday night, the Festival will host its annual Pride Dance, a benefit, at the Paddock, and the weekend will conclude with an inclusive community church service and brunch on Sunday morning.

All festival events, except the Pride Dance and Sunday's brunch, are free of charge.

  For information, call 252-551-0316 or e-mail: DownEastPride@Bigfoot.com. Updates on the Festival are posted on the Down East Pride website at <http://www.bigfoot.com/~downeastpride>.  

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