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Friday August 12th

Chapel Hill and Carrboro team up to celebrate the second annual Small Town Pride

<p>Chapel Hill and Carrboro hosted the first annual Small Town Pride festival in 2021. Photo courtesy of Catherine Lazorko, Carrboro's Communication and Engagement Director.</p>
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Chapel Hill and Carrboro hosted the first annual Small Town Pride festival in 2021. Photo courtesy of Catherine Lazorko, Carrboro's Communication and Engagement Director.

The Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are collaborating to host Small Town Pride, a series of Pride Month events happening to celebrate the local LGBTQ+ community in June.

This is the second year that Chapel Hill and Carrboro have planned Pride Month celebrations as part of Small Town Pride.

Chapel Hill Mayor pro tempore Karen Stegman said that Pride Month is both a time to celebrate and to raise awareness.

“It's really important to very publicly embrace and show community support for LGBTQ community and to celebrate the achievements and the progress that has been made in terms of rights,” she said.

The Small Town Pride events for this year include:

  • Chapel Hill Pride! Promenade, a celebratory Pride march on Saturday, June 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. in downtown Chapel Hill
  • Poets Open Mic Night, an LGBTQ+ poetry showcase on Tuesday, June 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. on Zoom
  • Drag Story Times, an hour of story time by Triangle-area drag royalty on Saturdays, June 11, 18 and 25 from 3 to 4 p.m. in varying locations
  • ORGULLO LATINX PRIDE, an event with local food trucks, a drag show, a DJ and kids games on Saturday, June 11 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Carrboro Town Commons
  • Pride Piper Walk, a march to roll the four-foot-tall “Rainbow Ram” down Weaver Street from the Century Center to Carborro Town Commons on Friday, June 24 at 4:30 p.m. for the Pride Food Truck Rodeo & Dance Party
  • Pride Food Truck Rodeo & Dance Party on Friday, June 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Carrboro Town Commons

Raafe Purnsley, who performs under the drag name Stormie Daie, is one of the three people reading in Drag Story Time for Small Town Pride.

Purnsley said he began doing drag in 2013 and has been reading to children as Daie since 2014.

“Some drag queens are funny, some drag queens host, some drag queens read to kids,” Purnsley said. “I just thought it was going to become this thing that was associated with being drag queens, and it wasn't going to become a political statement anymore.”

Purnsley is excited about the job and said that education is a big part of his life. 

He continues to read to children to encourage conversations about the LGBTQ+ community that families don’t know how to have. He also discusses other important topics like anxiety, environmentalism and self-love.

“People just want to read to kids, you want to promote literacy, people want to make reading fun,” Purnsley said. “People want to get up and do something on a Sunday morning that isn't just brunch.”  

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said that it is important to celebrate Pride Month because the well-being and safety of LGBTQ+ people in the community are still on the line.

As one of only a handful of elected officials who have publicly come out as gay in the state, Seils said it is important to him to make sure that the community is always doing better and being welcoming.

Matthew DeBellis, the LGBTQ+ Liaison to the Chapel Hill Town Manager said that there has been a demand from the Chapel Hill community for a big Pride celebration.

“I hope to make this something that happens every year," DeBellis said. "One of my goals is to make it something that when I'm gone, we're still doing it. We're still doing Small Town Pride no matter what's happening."

For more information about the events, visit the Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture website.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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