Event Director Julia Music said the theme of this year’s Ferndale Pride is “transcendence” and she’s excited to celebrate the gains of the transgender community over the last year.

Event Director Julia Music said the theme of this year’s Ferndale Pride is “transcendence” and she’s excited to celebrate the gains of the transgender community over the last year.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

Ferndale once again ready to celebrate the Pride of LGBTQ+ community

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 21, 2024


FERNDALE — The city of Ferndale’s massive celebration of Pride and the LGBTQ+ community will make its colorful return next month.

The 14th annual Ferndale Pride festival will take place from 12:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 1, in the downtown. The event’s footprint is located at West Nine Mile Road between Woodward and Livernois avenues and portions of Planavon and Allen streets near West Nine Mile.

The theme for this year’s Pride is “transcendence.” Event Director Julia Music said organizers are especially excited this year because of the number of transgender people representing the state of Michigan in the national pageant system, such as Michael Christian and Blanca Sapphire.

“We’re really excited to talk about the amazing gains in the transgender community over the last year and how Michigan really is able to foster the growth of the trans community and the support of the trans community,” she said.

The festival will feature more than 200 vendors, live entertainment, a street fair, a children’s play area, a baby feeding area, and Reading with Royalty, a story time where drag performers read books.

There also will be a hydration station on-site for attendees that will allow eventgoers to fill their water bottles for free with filtered water.

“We try to always look for a way to bring equality to the event,” Music said. “Free water is a way to provide an equal event for folks who want to come out and have a good time who may not be able to afford water or afford the amount of time it might take to stand in a line to get a water.”

One interesting aspect of Pride each year is the number of volunteers who take time offering hugs to attendees at the festival.

Liz Pfleger, a hug coordinator with Pride since 2019, first got involved as a way to give back to the community, as a way of saying thanks because of how her daughter was treated after she came out.

“My oldest came out in high school,” Pfleger said. “She said growing up in the Ferndale/Pleasant Ridge area made her comfortable coming out at an early age. And so I approached Julia because I wanted to give back to the community that made my kid feel comfortable in our own skin.”

Pfleger, a Pleasant Ridge resident, is one of many who offers up hugs to people at Pride. The interactions with people can be very emotional, she said, as she recounted several times where people who were hugged broke down crying because they hadn’t been hugged in years.

“It sounds like a very simple thing. It’s amazing the reception that we get. I think it sounds like a really simple thing, but there’s a lot of people that don’t understand the power of a hug and just feeling like you’re enough,” said Pfleger.

“I’ve had older women break down crying,” she continued. “It is great for me to be able to do that and to find people that are wanting to do it, and then the reception we get from the people that want hugs, sometimes they just want to talk, sometimes they want to do fist bumps, elbow bumps. Not everybody wants to hug, but they want the physical touch.”

For more information on Ferndale Pride, visit ferndalepride.com. Pfleger also noted that organizers still are looking for more hug volunteers in the later hours of the event, from 5 to 9 p.m. People interested can visit ferndalepride.com/get-involved.