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Friday, July 06, 2018

Inaugural gay pride event planned for Westminster on July 7th, 2018

Inaugural gay pride event planned for Westminster on July 7th, 2018 By Kevin Dayhoff

Westminster, Md. June 4, 2018 - - After months of meetings and preparations, a group of Carroll County citizens have formed to develop plans to hold an inaugural gay pride event, The Westminster Pride Festival, in Westminster. The newly formed Westminster Pride Planning Committee is a consortium of civic, business, nonprofit, and church leaders who have joined together with community leaders and members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
The planned event, The Westminster Pride Festival is believed to be the first of its kind in our community. It will take place on July 7, 2018 from noon to 5 p.m. in the 200 block of East Main Street, between Church and Court Streets. Permits for the event have been issued from the City of Westminster.

All proceeds from The Westminster Pride Festival will be donated to the Westminster Pride Festival Fund, which is a fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. The fund is the very first LGBTQ+ fund at the Community Foundation with a specific focus on the LGBTQ+ community.

According to information from the planning committee, The Westminster Pride Festival seeks to raise the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in Westminster and Carroll County. “It is time we showed our pride in our community,” said Jason Garber, who along with his husband Lance Garber have been planning this event with a core group of dedicated volunteers.

“We have made Westminster and Carroll County our home,” said Garber, a McDaniel graduate and former president of McDaniel chapter of Allies. “My husband and I enjoy living in this very close knit and accepting community, and we want to celebrate Pride Month with all the friends, family and allies we have.”

‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month’ - LGBT Pride Month is currently celebrated annually in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Inn civil unrest in New York City, otherwise known as the “Stonewall Riots,” that took place following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street, in Manhattan. In subsequent years, marches, parades, festivals, and events have been scheduled in the spring to shed additional light on the civil rights of the gay and lesbian community.

According to various media accounts, ever since the initial Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the participants have encountered very little resistance from onlookers.

This year, in Carroll County, it was decided by the organizing committee that in order to be respectful of other Pride events that are taking place in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Frederick, MD, The Westminster Pride Festival wanted to kick off its inaugural year with no calendar conflicts. “People do generally celebrate pride with more than one festival, especially on the east coast where it is easy to make it to various pride parades and festivals.” said Garber.

Founding sponsors of The Westminster Pride Festival include Random House Penguin, MerMaids, and Birdie’s Café. The committee is made up of over twenty volunteers, who have dedicated many hours to ensure the success of this event.

The mission of the Westminster Pride Festival, according to the planning committee, is to assure the success of a yearly festival that includes information, support, music, art, food and overall acceptance and solidarity within the LGBTQ+ community, their allies and the Carroll County community.

According to the planning committee, The Westminster Pride Festival looks forward to creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to express and affirm themselves, increase visibility and foster respect for those who want to express their own sexual and gender identity.

“We endeavor to make this a yearly event that will ultimately lead to scholarships for the education of LGBTQ+ students,” said Sherri Hosfeld-Joseph, owner of Birdie’s Café and founding member of the Westminster Pride Festival. “This is something our community is clearly longing for… We look forward to an outpouring of support from our community in support of our LGBTQ+ friends, family members and loved ones.”

Vendors will include local restaurants including Maggie’s, Bud’s at Silver Run, The Food Chick, Starry Night Bakery and many others.

Entertainment will be provided by local bands, Henry and the Big Sleazy, The Flying Faders, Brinjal Band, The Dune Flowers, Faceplant and DJ powerline.

Information on healthcare, counseling services, and resources for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies will be available as well.

Families are encouraged to attend with children to enjoy food, games, activities and a day full of information and affirmation. Merchandise commemorating the inaugural event will be for sale on the planning committee’s website as well as the day of the festival.

For more information on how to become a vendor or sponsor, email the planning committee at, or visit the website at or go to the Westminster Pride Festival Facebook page at @westminsterpridefest. Visit the site to obtain information about the festival schedule and events, vendor booth applications, sponsorship or donation opportunities, or to learn how to volunteer.

Related: “Organizer Jason Garber on the first Westminster Pride Festival” By Jon Kelvey Carroll County Times: On Saturday, July 7, downtown Westminster will host its first LGBTQ+ pride event, as the Westminster Pride Festival fills the 200 block of East Main Street between Church and Court Streets… Read much more here:

Related: Westminster Pride Festival announces a fund at the Community Foundation of Carroll County, May 11, 2018 – updated June 27, 2018

A fund for the Westminster Pride Festival has been established at the Community Foundation here:

Art Artists Culture Carroll Co, Community Foundation of Carroll County, Diversity, Diversity Gay Lesbian, Diversity LGBQT+, Diversity LGBQT+ Pride Month, Westminster Pride Festival, 
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