New group plans gay gathering for OBX in June

By on March 26, 2011

Spearheaded by a local group of gay and lesbian friends, a non-profit organization, OBX Pride Inc., was recently formed and is producing the first gay pride festival in northeastern North Carolina.

OBX Pridefest is set for June 24 through 26.

Like many new events that are springing up to attract visitors to the area, Pridefest organizers are learning the ropes as they navigate through the planning of events, complying with local ordinances in a number of jurisdictions and finding sponsors.

OBX Pride board member David Miller said he expected at least 1,000 people based on responses to social networking sites such as Facebook, early reservations at hotels and a broad-based advertising campaign targeting the Triangle area of North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and as far north as Pittsburgh. If the advance PR is a success, planners predict as many as 4,000 visitors could be spending their dollars locally.

The group is also taking the unusual approach of hosting the event during the active tourist season, when the beach is most crowded and accommodations more expensive. One local participant said that summer, rather than fall ,was chosen so that participants with children could attend, as well as to take advantage of the summer weather and warmer water temperatures.

In fact, family activities are an important component the organizers want to emphasize. During the day, planned activities include booths, educational kiosks and family-style games at the event’s main staging area — the First Colony Inn at Nags Head.

There will be outdoor concerts, including singer/songwriter Eric Himan, who has composed an Outer Banks themed-song the organizers hope garners radio airplay. Another 20 performers are scheduled, ranging from comedians to puppeteers. According to a press release from OBX Pride, “We know this area of North Carolina has mostly attracted the traditional American family.  We’re here to say the Outer Banks is big enough for all kinds of families and couples.  Same-sex parents with children are also American families.”

Other activities include two beach parties, a sunset cruise on the Crystal Dawn, a walking tour of historic Manteo, a shopping tour of the Manteo waterfront and special events put on by the Dare County Arts Council.

Kitty Dunes Real Estate is the primary sponsor, and has sent out over 60,000 notices to its mailing list of visitors.

Other sponsors/participants include Village Realty-First Colony Inn, the HQ site for the event, Kelly’s and Pamlico Jack’s, both of which are hosting shows and events for adults at their locations, and The Lost Colony, which is sponsoring the Luau Beach Party on Saturday and then inviting festival-goers to the Gazebo complex for a midnight cabaret put on by The Lost Colony cast.

Miller wanted to remind other local businesses that they are still looking for sponsors and donations.  More information, including ticket sales, can be obtained from the official website at: www.obxPrideFest.com. The organization’s official website is www.OBXPride.org

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