Every first Sunday in June, Pine City plays host to one of the few rural LGBTQ Pride festivals in America, and each year it gets a little bigger.

For 2017, the festival has booked Kat Perkins, a semifinalist on NBC’s The Voice. Perkins will be performing a Sia tribute. Joining her will be Mark Joseph and The American Soul, a regional blues and soul favorite. Twin Cities Public Television’s Val Mondor will serve as emcee.

East Central Minnesota Pride will celebrate 13 years in 2017, and has thrived despite protests and an opposing “pro-family picnic” in 2009. In indeed, the theme for 2017 will be “Pride Persists.”

According to organizers, the event will be an alcohol and tobacco free event with music, food, and art activities for children.

“Our goal has always been to provide support and friendship for LGBT and other diverse people living in the rural areas of Minnesota,” said Don Quaintance, a founding Pride board member, said in a statement. “This event brings people from all walks of life together in friendship, community and progress in understanding. It truly exemplifies the statement: ‘All are welcome here’.”

East Central Minnesota Pride happens with the help of volunteers and groups like East Central MN Men’s Circle, East Central MN Purple Circle, East Central MN chapter of PFLAG, Rural Aids Action Network, Rainbow Health Initiative and OutFront Minnesota.

East Central Minnesota Pride is on Sunday, June 4 from noon to 5pm at Robinson Park in the heart of Pine City.

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