The inaugural Seymour Pride was organized in two days.
The event was publicized on social media, and that resulted in more than 100 people showing up at Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour
Katrina Hardwick, one of the organizers, said with a quick turnaround, she was happy with the turnout.
Afterwards, people reached out wanting to donate to cover expenses and asking if it would be done again this year.
“I said, ‘I guess we are,’” she said, smiling.
Planning started earlier this year — early March — and the event is set for noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Celebrations, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 101, at Shops at Seymour.
Admission is free, and it’s a family-friendly event for all ages. There will be food and drinks available for purchase from the Missy’s Ice Cream and Treats food
truck, and there will be nearly 20 vendors, including nonprofit organizations providing resources and local small businesses selling items. Plus, there will be Seymour Pride shirts available to buy.
The agenda includes guest speakers, a disc jockey, a dance performance, a comedian, door prizes, a raffle auction and a drag show.
The speakers include Kaylynn Linville, Rhea Murray, Christopher Taylor-Price, Whitney Thoele, Lydia Suzan and Chad Harmon. Hardwick said Suzan was named Miss Pride of Indiana USA 2022 and crowned Miss Indiana 2018. Suzan also will sing.
A DJ from Louisville, Kentucky, will play music throughout the day, the dance performance is being choreographed by Hardwick and the comedian is Blake Champlin.
Kid-friendly activities outside the facility will be available, too. That will include face painting and SHS Gay Straight Alliance members manning a tutu-making station.
The drag show will be from 3 to 5 p.m., consisting of five drag queens and two drag kings volunteering their time and only working for tips.
“We want to make sure that people understand this is an all-ages, family-friendly show,” Hardwick said. “This is important for us because people sometimes have a negative connotation when they think of a drag show. They think that it’s not appropriate for children, that it’s sexual or language and stuff. … All of (the performers) do different environments and different types of events, so they know that their show should be appropriate to the type of event.”
Hardwick is joined on the steering committee by Tiffany York, Mars Rogers, Olivia Whan, Katie Schwipps, Basil Miller and Lacy Rae.
Hardwick said she was happy to have nearly 20 people show up to the first meeting to plan the event.
That included York, who attended last year’s event with her family.
“I’m more of an introvert, so I don’t do the big cities. I can’t do it. It’s too much for me,” she said. “So when (Hardwick) announced on Facebook, I was like, ‘That is perfect. That’s a great way to ease into that. It’s easier for kids because it’s not the big, flamboyant parades and all that. It’s more of a small-town feel.’”
At this time in 2021, Hardwick said big cities weren’t having their Pride events because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Creating a small event in Seymour was the perfect option.
“This is a community service we can do, and there are so many kids that have showed up for meetings and everything, and they are so happy that they can do it here with their parents or if they don’t have family, they can still come and it’s easier for them to do,” she said.
Because of the popularity of last year’s event and the response to this year’s event, Hardwick, York and others are in the process of forming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Cummins Inc. and Serenity Closet partnered to provide a large grant to help get that established.
“We haven’t decided on a name, but it’s going to be something that encompasses bigger, like Jackson County Pride or something like that, and under that umbrella, Seymour Pride would be one of the things we do,” Hardwick said. “We’re going to have different activities all year long. We’re going to do calls for action, like maybe volunteer for United Way with our group.”
York said it’s about giving back to the community and being a part of the community.
“Make sure these kids, especially the younger ones that are coming, can invest into their community and not feel like they need to flee,” she said.
It’s important for the LGBTQ+ population to feel recognized, loved and supported throughout the year, Hardwick said, so monthly family dinners are planned as part of the yearlong activities.
“A lot of people that have the resources and the means that are in the LGBTQ+ community leave small towns like this because they don’t feel welcome, they don’t feel accepted. We want to change that,” she said. “We want to build a community that’s accepting and loving of all and make sure that if they keep leaving, then that can’t happen because we need people like them here to represent and also to be doing our own things and normalizing Pride, normalizing having these events.”
If you go
What: Seymour Pride 2022
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Celebrations, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 101, at Shops at Seymour
Who: Family-friendly event for all ages
Cost: Free admission; food and drinks will be available for purchase from a food truck, local small businesses will sell items at their booths and Seymour Pride shirts will be available to buy
Noon to 12:15 p.m.: Kaylynn Linville speaks
12:15 to 12:30 p.m.: Rhea Murray speaks
12:30 to 12:45 p.m.: Christopher Taylor-Price speaks
1 to 1:15 p.m.: Door prize giveaways (1 of 3)
1:15 to 1:30 p.m.: Dance performance
1:30 to 1:45 p.m.: Whitney Thoele speaks
1:45 to 2 p.m.: Door prize giveaways (2 of 3)
2 to 2:15 p.m.: Lydia Suzan sings and speaks
2:30 to 2:45 p.m.: Chad Harmon speaks
2:45 to 3 p.m.: Comedian Blake Champlin performs
3 to 5 p.m.: Drag show
5 to 5:30 p.m.: Door prize giveaways (3 of 3) and raffle drawings
5:30 to 6 p.m.: Wind-down, music playing and mingle