PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) — Pride Month may be over, but an organization continues to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community this weekend at the Alaska State Fairgrounds.
The Queen’s Guard — an Alaskan 501(c)(3) organization based in the borough of Matanuska-Susitna — is hosting its third Underground Pride event this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The organization’s president and founder, Vincent Feuilles, said the event has grown exponentially since its inauguration in 2020.
“Our initial estimate was that we would probably see 2,000 to 3,000 people if, you know, the growth stayed consistent from first to second, from second to third,” Feuilles said. “And now, honestly, I think we’re going to see more than five or 6,000, if not more.”
This year the event will have more than 100 vendors, wedding and vow renewals, a toilet block as well as a number of guest speakers – but some residents have expressed concern on social media about a show of dragsters which should be presented during the gathering of all ages. .
“We got really good support from the local community on this,” Feuilles said. “There have been a few messages that have been negative.”
Feuilles established The Queen’s Guard in January 2019 with the goal of creating a safe and positive environment for LGBTQ+ members in Alaska. He understands the hesitation surrounding performing the drag show at an event where children will be present, but says the show will be family friendly.
“I understand and hear their concerns, I do. I mean, everyone in The Queen’s Guard is very, very aware that there’s this perception that a drag show is something you go to see in a bar,” Feuilles said. “There’s no nudity, there’s no sexual suggestiveness, there’s no sexual innuendo. It’s not appropriate at an all-ages event.
Feuilles said that many stereotypes and misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community still exist, and that part of her organization’s mission is to help educate the public. He even encourages reviewers to come check it out for themselves.
“This is an open community event for LGBTQ people and their allies. If you want to come and see what we’re doing, then come and see,” Feuilles said. “But please leave your hatred and any animosity at the door.”
Underground Pride is free to the public and will take place on the Purple Trail in the fairgrounds. Alaska State Fairgrounds rules still apply, which state no smoking, alcohol or weapons and only service animals are allowed.
Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.