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Utah Pride Festival & Parade 

Friday, June 5-Sunday, June 7

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Contrary to popular conservative beliefs around these parts, Utah has quite a large GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community. In fact, Utah’s GLBT population is so industriously out-and-proud that it has developed one of the premier pride celebrations in the Western United States—known as the Utah Pride Festival, held annually since its humble beginnings back in 1983.

Pride weekend typically gets underway with the pageantry of the Grand Marshal Reception and very happening after-party. This year’s marshal is human-rights activist, author and lecturer Cleve Jones, recently portrayed in the film biography Milk. Jones is lucky enough to reign over all things Pride ’09, including the multi-day festival itself with performances by the Sister Wives, Debbie Graham and comics Karen Bayard and Paula Poundstone. There will also be several marches, like the Dyke March and the Interfaith March, not to mention the big parade with floats and celebrities and dignitaries to boot. Even outgoing Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is getting in on the fun as the recipient of this year’s Pete Suazo Political Action Award for being, among other progressive things, Utah’s first governor to openly support civil unions for same-sex couples in our state.

Although it’s likely that Huntsman will be nowhere near either event, where else can you count on experiencing the thrill of a public karaoke competition alongside a drag show competition that should definitely put the “fun” back in “funtastically fabulous?”

Utah Pride Festival @ Washington Square, City & County Building, 450 S. 200 East, 801-539-8800, June 5-7. Grand Marshal Reception 6 p.m. & After-Party 9 p.m., Friday, June 5; Parade starts 10 a.m., Sunday, June 7; full schedule: UtahPrideCenter.org/utahpride/2009-schedule

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