Ryan Mims, of Roseville, and Tyler Beltz, of Ferndale, profess their love for one another before officiant Katie Petho at their wedding ceremony during Ferndale Pride Saturday, June 1, at the Rust Belt Market.

Ryan Mims, of Roseville, and Tyler Beltz, of Ferndale, profess their love for one another before officiant Katie Petho at their wedding ceremony during Ferndale Pride Saturday, June 1, at the Rust Belt Market.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Amid rainstorm, thousands celebrate Ferndale Pride

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 3, 2019

 Thousands of people walked the streets of West Nine Mile Road celebrating the ninth annual Ferndale Pride Saturday, June 1.

Thousands of people walked the streets of West Nine Mile Road celebrating the ninth annual Ferndale Pride Saturday, June 1.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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FERNDALE — Though heavy rainfall threatened the festivities, the ninth annual Ferndale Pride took place as scheduled in the heart of downtown Ferndale on Saturday, June 1.

Thousands poured into Nine Mile Road to wear their pride for the event, as well as celebrate the official beginning of Pride Month and remember the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a historic event in LGBT civil rights in 1969.

Ferndale Pride had an inauspicious start, as the looming threat of a thunderstorm was apparent. Event organizer Julia Music said this worry had kept her up all night in the days leading up to the event.

“I was pacing at the rug in my hallway because there’s nothing you can do about the weather,” she said.

The rain and lightning storm did eventually hit in the afternoon, which shut down the main stage for a couple of hours and sent people inside businesses, Music said.

“But that filled the bars and restaurants, and then when the rain let up, the streets just refilled with people and the bars and restaurants remained full,” Music said. “It was just overwhelming to see how many people came out and stayed the course through not the best weather and kept coming out even though they knew the weather would be bad in the night. Honestly, it was fantastic to see how many people stayed and just had a great time in Ferndale.

“Once the rain was done, we squeegeed up the stage and got our performers back on track, and many tents reopened,” she continued.

The return of the storm later in the night led to the main stage closing again and volunteers taking it down early, Music said.

Over the entire Saturday, attendees paraded through the street wearing shirts, bandanas, flags and more bearing the rainbow, transgender, bisexual and pansexual colors.    

The colors were represented on numerous businesses in the downtown area to show their support for Pride as well.

Hannah Roegner, of Huntington Woods, was celebrating her first-ever Pride event by bearing the pink, purple and blue flag representing bisexuality.

Coming to Pride is something Roegner said she’s always wanted to do.

“It’s just great to see all these people down here and not caring about what anybody else thinks,” she said. “Just kind of being themselves.”

Roegner, 19, said she’s heard before from people how they believe bisexuality is just a phase and not a real thing, and that it’s only a step to identifying as being either gay or straight.

“I can come here and I know that a lot of people don’t think that way,” she said. “They’re like, ‘You can be whoever you want. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. You’re having a good time and so is everybody else.’”

Along with Roegner was her friend Maddie Nicholas, of South Lyon, also wearing the bisexuality flag.

Nicholas, 20, was attending her second Pride event after going to one in Grand Rapids last year. She said coming to the festival allows her to be in a fun environment where she can see other people with similar and differing backgrounds celebrate what Pride means to them.

“You can walk around wearing a flag as a cape, and you can see other people and kind of nod like, ‘Oh cool, same,’” she said. “It’s just a fun event. Everybody’s happy to be here. It’s got a sense of community. I know that’s thrown around a lot, but you just feel a sense of friendliness with everyone. You don’t feel like complete strangers.”

Looking back on the festival, Music said she was really happy with how the ninth edition came together.

“When you see that many people just having so much fun, it’s very heartwarming because we know the history,” she said. “We know that 50 years ago, if we were walking down the street holding hands with somebody that we love, we can be murdered, and some of that does still exist today. We’re still trying to let people know that we’re just people.”

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