Celebrating Golden Valley’s diverse community

GV21NWpridefestivalWEveryone in the metro is well aware of the Twin Cities Pride Festival held in downtown Minneapolis each June.
Golden Valley resident Peter Knaeble thought, why not create a similar event in Golden Valley.
“I just think the more events, the better,” he said.
Knaeble believes the event will show that Golden Valley is not only welcoming but embracing.
Inspired to get the ball rolling, Knaeble took to social media.
He shared his idea on the city’s Facebook page hoping to find out if any of the site’s followers were interested in helping.
The first to respond?
Councilmember Larry Fonnest.
Fonnest said one of the reasons he is supportive of the event is based on results from the 2013 city survey where 8 percent of the 400 respondents indicated that one of the challenges in Golden Valley is too much diversity.
“That was kind of a red flag for me,” he said. “We need to address that concern and help people prepare that change is coming. It’s not going to stop.”
The second reason Fonnest wanted to get involved is because Golden Valley’s LGBT prominent population, he said. Some refer to the city as Lavender Valley.
Following Fonnest’s desire to join in on the efforts, a few others sparked interest as well.
On Jan. 7, seven eager residents met at Lunds & Byerly’s to discuss what the organization could look like, how to put this event together and what it should be called.
The committee decided to call it the Golden Valley Pride Festival. The subtheme of the event will be, “a celebration of community, family and friends.”
The nonprofit chose June 12 so that the festival would occur before the large Twin Cities event June 25.
June is also nationally recognized as LGBT Pride Month.
Knaeble and the other committee members are envisioning a family-oriented celebration with live music, food, children’s activities and informational booths.
The event will act as a “lifting up of the LGBT community in Golden Valley,” according to Fonnest.
Knaeble believes it will be the first suburban LGBT pride festival in the state.
Although the foundation for the festival has been set, the group needs volunteers to help plan, promote and run the event.
“Given the short planning period, we’re going to need lots of boots on the ground,” Fonnest said.
The group has already spoken with LGBT-supporting organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, OutFront Minnesota and Quorum, but the committee wants to encourage local businesses to participate as well.
The Golden Valley Human Rights Commission has already voiced its support of the celebration.
The committee also ran the idea by the Twin Cities Pride Board of Directors, which “whole-heartedly endorsed” the event.
Fundraising will also be a major goal for the committee.
The planning committee intends to apply for community grants but will need the help from generous donors as well.
Further details about Golden Valley Pride Festival will be made available as the event approaches.
The committee’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the fireside room at Lunds & Byerly’s, 5725 Duluth Street.
Anyone interested in getting involved is invited to attend.
Individuals interested in volunteering, businesses desiring to participate or sponsor and those wanting to donate can contact Peter Knaeble at [email protected] or 612-309-9215.

Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]