HalloQueen fest to feature Dusty Ray Bottoms, raise funds for local LGBTQ+ nonprofits

by Alixandria Thomason

In just a few days, October 23 and 24, Drag Queen Story Time will present the third annual HalloQueen Fest in Louisville. This event is one of kind in that it welcomes people of all ages, supports local businesses and non-profits, and is the only LGBTQIA+ Halloween festival in Kentucky! This year it is being held at American Turners and is being presented by Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky. 

HalloQueen Fest has over 150 vendor booths for service providers, arts and crafts, and businesses. Local and regional entertainment will fill the day, including Dusty Ray Bottoms from season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. There will be “monster food,” monster jam music, trick-or-treating, spooky Drag Shows, and carnivals games, and so much more to give an absolutely haunting and amazing experience. 

“Getting Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky involved is so awesome because it is going to raise awareness in our family event and raise money for the cause.” Bottoms said. “I’m also so excited to be hosting the event and see the community come together to showcase their art and current productions during the event.”

Adam Miller, founder of HalloQueen Fest, and his husband David started the event in 2019 as a middle finger to a local homophobic church by having their own “trunk or treat.” The event was put together in three weeks and was completely run by volunteers. That first year, 12,000 people and 36 vendors showed up at the event. After such a wildly successful first run, they decided to have it every year. Skip to 2020 and the name HalloQueen Fest was born. 

“I’m extremely excited for HalloQueen Fest,” Miller said. “What this means to me is I’m able to help continue providing safe spaces for all of our communities where we can promote love, acceptance, diversity and inclusion for all.”

The motto of HalloQueen fest is “pride isn’t a charge.” They believe that not only should pride events be free for all, but that they should be completely inclusive. They only wave the progressive flag, look at small businesses instead of corporations, and choose not to focus on alcohol. The centerpiece is the entertainment, the sense of community, and of course, Halloween. The founders focus on making sure everyone feels welcome there, especially more marginalized communities. For many in the LGBTQIA+ community, even queer events can feel othering, so this event is a breath of fresh (crisp) air for many. 

Another amazing part of this event is its focus on safety around COVID-19. The event is not only all outdoors, but they have also taken extra precautions to keep everyone healthy. Adam said that even though the pandemic has been scary, they’ve been watching the numbers every day and talking to the experts to make sure that this event is safe. For those that are unvaccinated, they ask that you still wear your mask. There will be hand sanitizer available, the vendors are encouraged to use the plexiglass protectors, and there will be no wrist bands this year to lessen human-to-human contact. There is also fencing around the event to help provide crowd control. 

HalloQueen is the largest fundraiser for Drag Queen Story Time, allowing them to provide diverse education around Kentucky. Not only will you be supporting an event that demonstrates diversity, equity, and inclusion, but you will also get to soak in the peacefulness of the waterfront park where the event takes place. For many, HalloQueen Fest is their new annual tradition, because let’s be honest, we all wish pride events took place in the fall. 

Bottoms said every tip they personally make at the event will go dircetly to Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky.

“So come on by say hello and tip your queen a dolla — it’s going to be a real fun, cute event,” Bottoms said.

To learn more please visit DQSTKY.ORG

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