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‘Spread Your Wings With Pride’: Kona Pride Weekend returns
was written by Chelsea Jensen, 2019-09-13 10:05:00
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KAILUA-KONA — Pride takes flight with the return of Kona Pride Weekend kicking off this evening in Kailua Village.
“Allies or LGBTQ themselves, we just want everyone to come and celebrate with us,” said Rocco Vick, owner of My Bar and one of the organizers of Kona Pride Weekend and its eight events spread over three days to celebrate and normalize being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.
Festivities begin after sunset tonight at 7 p.m. with a low-key social featuring cocktails and pupus at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar overlooking Kailua Bay. At 9 p.m., the weekend really gets going with Glow Your Pride at My Bar. The dance party’s theme this year is unicorns and the cover charge is $5.
Come Saturday is the highlight of the weekend, the second Kona Pride Festival, taking over the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel luau grounds from 1-6 p.m. with family friendly fun for all ages. Cost is $10. Keiki ages 12 and younger enter free. Tickets can only be purchased at the event.
This year’s theme, “Spread Your Wings With Pride,” was selected by the Kona Pride Festival committee because it exemplifies the growth of the LGBTQ community on the Big Island, said Vick. It’s also in line with the nonprofit Kona Pride Inc.’s mission of “pushing the visibility of LGBTQ on the island, especially on the west side.”
“‘Spread Your Wings With Pride’ just felt appropriate because it feels like that’s what’s happening with this blossoming community on the west side and we wanted to represent it with something symbolic like that,” he said. “Expect a lot of wings this weekend because we’ve got a lot of rainbow wings everywhere.”
During the six-hour event, attendees can peruse a vendor village featuring 25 different businesses offering artisan crafts and more, enjoy live music and entertainment, take in food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, and a get wet at a Water Palooza Party designed to keep things cool in the Kona heat.
Emceeing Kona Pride Festival 2019 is Miss Edie, host of Zumanity, Cirque du Soleil’s show in Las Vegas. New York City’s Mitch Ferrino will be the DJ.
To put Kona on the map, the festival has also partnered with worldwide party, PAPA Party, created by Eliad Cohen, a prominent Israeli gay personality. The touring party has millions of followers worldwide, taking part in pride events in London, Barcelona, Spain, and Tel Aviv, Israel.
“Getting that attention to Kona will help us to build our pride as more of a destination pride in the following years, which is what we’re trying to do,” Vick said.
Once the sun’s well below the horizon, the fun moves to Privateer’s Cove for a comedy show and celebrity cabaret extravaganza getting underway at 8 p.m. Cost is $30.
The 18-and-over event features Toni Tripoli, writer and opening comedian for Joan Rivers, with “Sexy Naughty Funny” and celebrity impersonators, including performances by Bolivia Carmichaels as Reba McIntyre, Coco Montrese as Tina Turner and Candi Stratton, Miss Trans USA 2019, as Cher.
“It’s going to be wild,” said Vick.
The official after party for the festival is at My Bar. From 8 p.m. until closing at 2 a.m. is “Pride Unleashed” with a dance party inside the bar and block party outside featuring Yara Sofia and Shakti, who appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Anetra, and music by DJ Vaughn.
The fun continues Sunday morning with a Drag Bingo Brunch hosted by Candi Shell and Bolivia Carmichaels at 11:30 a.m. at Daylight Mind Coffee Co. Cost is $40.
The weekend wanes with a flamingo-themed pride pool party called “Flamingle” at Royal Kona Resort. DJs will be performing from 1-6 p.m. Cost is $10.
“It’s just going to be a great way to close out the weekend,” Vick said. “Everybody having a good time, enjoying the sun.”
For more information, including links to tickets for some of the events, visit www.konapride.com.