Tarrant Pride’s inaugural art fest on Saturday is 1 of several new events designed to bring Cowtown LGBTs together in a centralized location
Party in the gayborhood
The Spring Out Art and Street Festival is noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at South Jennings and Pennsylvania Avenue in Fort Worth. For more information, visit tcgpwa.org.
FORT WORTH — Keeping the momentum going from last year’s creation of Pride Days, the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association is expanding the number of annual events they plan for the LGBT community, including the Spring Out Art and Street Festival set for Saturday, April 14.
The festival is the first-ever street arts fair the organization has planned.
It will include more than 60 vendors and is expected to draw a crowd of 1,500, TCGPWA Treasure Tony Coronado said.
With several bands, performers, DJ Soul and booths for ceramics, photography, jewelry, painting and glassware, he said the event is one that will grow and expand as it continues in future years.
Coronado also said having more events in Downtown Fort Worth will help the LGBT community create a central location to gather because it is “literally all over Tarrant County.”
“We’re hoping that having these events at Jennings and Pennsylvania will inspire people who really do want to have a central location for commerce and residents to build off of that,” he said.
Todd Camp, chair of the media and souvenir booklet committee, said it is always TCGPWA’s goal to grow the organization with new and bigger events. Camp said the art festival is an event to bring out the community in a central location with a big venue of artists and performers.
“I think it’s a great chance for us to kind of go back to a model that worked really well, which was to have an event right there in the heart of our gayborhood to get people out and to support the cool businesses,” Camp said.
The long-term parade committee transitioned this year into a long-term development committee after the parade was moved to Downtown Fort Worth, Coronado said. Now the development committee has developed a two-year plan to increase the number of events throughout Tarrant County in the months leading up to Pride in October.
“The two-year plan for this committee is to get these monthly events solidified,” he said, adding that laying the groundwork for monthly events will help grow them in years to come. “What [the arts fest] is going to be in four or five years is going to be totally different that what it is now.”
Because January is the Titleholders pageant and Valentine’s Day sales is a large effort in February, Coronado said March 24 was the first new event planned with a community Easter egg hunt at Trinity Park. Coronado said about 100 people showed up for the festivities and it was a good start for an event that he wants to make a new tradition.
With the arts festival Saturday, he said participation will help draw more members from the community together for something other than Pride, the Q Cinema Film Festival and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, which he said are the only large annual events for the community in the county.
“That’s pretty much it, so we’re just developing other events and doing business a little more mainstream,” he said. “It’s just a matter of developing the organization and our GLBT community in Tarrant County.”
Last year the organization had a few Pride Day events such as a Six Flags event and a day at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, but the plan is to continue to grow the events each year, holding them in various locations around Tarrant County to draw in the large LGBT community.
“Our community is Tarrant County isn’t built like Dallas or Houston or Austin, where you have that congregation of folks and businesses, so we have to do business a little bit different,” Coronado said.
Although a May pet fest and November event will not occur until 2013, and planning for events in June and July is still in progress, the August event will be Cowtown Hoedown, on which the organization will collaborate with TGRA for the first time. A September event is also still in the works, as is a December Christmas show. Next year will also feature the first-ever event after Pride in October with a Halloween street festival, Coronado said. The ultimate goal with creating and continuing events each month leading up to Pride is for the community to come together more often than a few times a year, he said.
“We want people to buy into their own GLBT life in their own community and then participate with us as a whole,” he said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 13, 2012.