By Gari Voss
Allegan, Speak Up hosted their 2nd Annual Allegan Out Loud: Pride – The Celebration of the Freedom to Love, on August 4-5, 2023.
The Friday evening, August 4th, So You Think You Can Drag competition went into the wee hours of Saturday morning when Luz De La Rica was bestowed the title of Mx. Allegan Pride 2023.
Beauty Beyond Drag Productions emceed the competition and demonstrated how real Drag Queens perform before the amateurs took the stage. The judges had their work cut out as all four performers brought their own twists to the competition. Mx Allegan Pride 2023, Luz De La Rica, will not be a stranger to the Beauty Beyond Drag stage as she will be a headliner during Allegan Out Loud 2024.
Special thanks go to the Allegan Community Players who supported the production of So You Think You Can Drag plus provided refreshments for the more than 200 people who were in attendance.
The party continued Saturday, August 5, 2023, as vendors, booths and food trucks assembled on the Riverfront in preparations of the arrival of well over a thousand visitors.
At 2pm, children and their families gathered at the Griswold Auditorium for Drag Queen Story Time with B.R.I.T. The stories were NOT about being LGBTQ+, but about being accepting of differences and caring for each other.
The crowd mingled and grew throughout the afternoon until the 6pm Drag Queens came on the Riverfront Stage for Drag on the River. The performances were hosted by DeeDee Chaunte and Cherry Poppins. Audience members pulled out their dollars for Daya Molayne-Chaunte, LaReine Divine, BittaSweet and B.R.I.T. as they danced and added aerobatics to the music.
To cap off the evening, everyone was invited to join in the dance as the beat went on into the evening.
Allegan Speak Up! organizers would like to thank their sponsors and everyone who supported the Saturday activities in celebration and acceptance.
Allegan Speak Up! organizers would like to thank their sponsors and everyone who supported the Saturday activities in celebration and acceptance. Said spokesperson Eddie Quiñones-Walker, “The addition of the Friday night attraction in partnership with The Allegan Community Players was a smash hit. We are thrilled to have crowned our first Mx. Allegan Pride winner, Luz De La Rica who, in addition to winning a sash, crown, and $500 cash, will perform with Beauty Beyond Drag at Allegan Out Loud 2024!”
As expressed by Allegan, Speak Up organizers, “This weekend was something to behold. Our hearts are still bursting with joy after seeing the amount of love that filled our city. Thank you to everyone who came out to spend the day and celebrate with us and thank you to all our sponsors who helped make this possible! We will see you all again next year!”
More information about Allegan, Speak Up can be found at https://www.facebook.com/alleganspeakup or https://www.alleganspeakup.org/.