Three years ago, two groups tussled over the future of Seattle’s annual Gay Pride events. This Seattle Times lays out the struggle at the time — one group seeking to move the celebration downtown for a bigger event, the other seeking to preserve the tradition of celebrating in the heart of the city’s gay community. Long story, short, the downtown celebration grew and the Capitol Hill celebration became a smaller but still vital effort.
Now, a committee of the Capitol Hill Community Council — a group that I chair — is considering plans for again staging a larger Pride effort on Capitol Hill.
The Capitol Hill Community Council’s Arts and Events Committee is making initial plans for a Capitol Hill Pride Festival 2009 on Saturday June 27th from 11am-4pm. The plan is to close down two blocks on Broadway between Olive and Harrison St. rather than hold it in Volunteer Park like it was two years ago.
Back in 2006, the Seattle Pride Parade moved from Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle along 4th Avenue and Seattle PrideFest was held at The Seattle Center instead of Volunteer park. As the downtown Pride Parade drew a record number of people several groups continued to organize a competing festival in Volunteer Park calling it QueerFest. Without the Pride Parade on Capitol Hill the Volunteer Park events turned out to be much smaller than previous years and eventually created financial trouble in 2007 for The LGBT Community Center, which is now on a hiatus. There was no pride festival on Capitol Hill held in 2008 other than the annual dyke march and rally.
My role, here, is to report the information to you. My post about the Hill Pride organizing, by the way, was planned for Monday, so I’m happy to have Seattle Gay Scene get the conversation started. My role with the community council will be to facilitate the conversation at our March meeting on Thursday night to discuss budgeting council funding for organizing the event. The council’s funds available for this effort are extremely modest — we have less than $2,000 in the bank — so even if the planning budget is approved, the celebration will require a lot of help from the people who live here and the businesses in the community. (The challenges in running this Web site and facilitating the council now that it is growing into a body that pursues larger issues like this are also growing. It was a good experience to help guide the group through a year of reforming and working on things like bylaws and finding focus but I will not seek reelection in June as chair of the council.)
So, how will we decide on what is the right thing to do? How will we decide whether to spend this money or not? A plan will be presented Thursday night and a dollar amount proposed by the arts committee lead and council VP Charlette LeFevre. People in attendance at the meeting will have the opportunity to speak. We will discuss any feedback we get via e-mail. And then we will vote. By the council’s definition, anybody who lives, works or operates a business in the areas between I-5 to 24th Ave and Interlaken to Madison is a member of the council and eligible to vote. It’s an inclusive — and, yes, cluttered — process. But it’s your chance to either start the process toward making this happen or redirect the council’s plans.
Capitol Hill Community Council March Public Meeting
Thursday March 19th, 7p-9p
Cal Anderson Shelter House (park clubhouse in the park near the Bobby Morris sportsfield)