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Ronan celebrates pride

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RONAN — On July 9, ‘Sweet Pride in July’ was held in the Ronan City Park, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Sponsored by Safe Harbor and The Spirit of Many Colors, an LGBTQ+ club at the Salish Kootenai College, this was the eighth year of celebration. A celebration with food, games and activities, and some drawings for prizes, the nice weather brought in plenty of attendees of all ages.

Typically held in June, which is traditionally Pride Month, Safe Harbor and The Spirit of Many Colors instead opted early on to hold the Ronan celebration in July, as several other towns from Kalispell to Helena had scheduled their pride events for each weekend last month. 

“We go with a pretty low-key approach, so there’s not a lot of pressure on anyone,” Dana Grant of Safe Harbor explained. “The rest is really just supporting a community and encouraging people to come together and feel comfortable and feel like it’s okay to be whoever they are here in our valley.”

Some speakers participated briefly in this year’s event as well, sharing messages of acceptance and love. Food was provided, and attendees milled around between activities from rock painting to bracelet making to giant bubble blowing, filling the pavilion with laughter.

“It’s just a part of our overall effort to support inclusion and promote a celebration of all people in our community,” Grant commented. Having worked at Safe Harbor for 12 years, he has been involved since the beginning of the Ronan pride events, which began eight years ago. Past celebrations included drag and burlesque shows and a murder mystery party. 

“Different years we’ve had small groups, big groups, groups in between,” Grant said. “Weather and all those things affect it, but we just try to plow forward and have fun with whoever’s there.”

“It’s nice to see people come together for this,” one young attendee said. “It’s kind of easy to feel a little lonely in a small town, so it’s cool to see other people in the same boat come together and just have a fun time.”

An additional pride event is scheduled in September at the KwaTaqNuk Resort and will include a drag performance. Grant says some young people are wanting to take charge, so in the spirit of encouraging people to take initiative, Safe Harbor will be stepping back a bit and playing more of a supporting role when it comes to town. 

“We’re really excited to be doing it and for the support we have from the community and the people who show up to celebrate pride,” Grant said. 


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