Confetti rains down from the roof of Affirmations during last year’s Ferndale Pride event.

Confetti rains down from the roof of Affirmations during last year’s Ferndale Pride event.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Ferndale Pride adds attractions with expanded footprint downtown

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 24, 2023


FERNDALE — The next Ferndale Pride will be the largest one yet.

The 13th annual Ferndale Pride festival will be held on Saturday, June 3, in the city’s downtown. The event will be held from 12:30 to 10 p.m. and its footprint — its biggest ever — will cover West Nine Mile Road between Woodward Avenue and Livernois Street, portions of Planavon and Allen streets near West Nine Mile, and parts of the parking lots near Planavon and West Nine Mile.

The theme for this year’s Ferndale Pride, Event Director Julia Music said, is “celebrating queer joy.”

“We just really wanted to encapsulate what we think Ferndale Pride is, which is just a very happy, happy day,” she said.

The festival, presented by LIV Cannabis, will feature more than 200 vendors, as well as musical performances and other performers. The children’s area is back as well with a rock climbing wall and art projects.

New to Ferndale Pride is the baby feeding area, which will have lactation experts available for assistance, and there will be electricity for those who need to pump. There also will be Reading with Royalty, which will feature four drag queens and kings reading in the children’s area. The readings will start at 2 p.m. and end at 5 p.m.

The expanded footprint, which added about 40 vendors, also added extra space for stage reading.

“It’s quite a bit bigger for us,” Music said. “We are kind of constricted because Ferndale is divided by a state highway, and also the way our streets build out, we are kind of constricted to a small area. So we got creative in how we laid things out and opened up a parking lot.”

Mayor Melanie Piana said her favorite part of going to Ferndale Pride each year is feeling the joy of the whole atmosphere being at the event and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community openly and safely.

“I like all of it. All of it makes the whole event exciting and a fantastic experience,” she said. “Last year’s Ferndale Pride, between the weather and just being around people after the pandemic, was just such a joyous occasion, and I just love being there around everybody, walking around experiencing everything, but the music, the people, the costumes and the vendors — it’s just quintessential Ferndale.”

Piana also said there’s reason to celebrate with the signing of an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act this year, which added protections for LGBTQ+ persons.

“So much more to be joyous about in the state of Michigan, but we still need to do a lot of hard work with making sure everybody’s represented across the United States,” she said.

Free parking will be available for the event through a Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation shuttle service. It will run every 10 minutes from noon to 10:45 p.m. and will be located at Ferndale High School, 881 Pinecrest Drive, and the Gerry Kulick Community Center, 1201 Livernois St.

For a list of Ferndale Pride events and more information on the festival, visit