PADUCAH — A Western Kentucky Pride event could be in jeopardy after conservative community members advocate for it to move indoors and out of the public waterfront.
In the past week, Western Kentucky Pride Festival event sponsors have received letters requesting them to back out of the event, said Dustin Havens, director of WKPF. So far, no sponsors are backing down.
He added that protesters will be going to the next city commission meeting on July 23.
Sponsors of the event include Dairy Queen, Dollar General, Qdoba, Jimmy Johns, Kentucky Care, Tindell Tech, Olive Garden, Off the Corner, The Rock Shop, Aritsan Kitchen, Anja, and Temps Plus of Paducah.
The inaugural event set to take place on Aug. 24 on the Paducah Waterfront is advertised as a family friendly event featuring live music, food, activities and more. The WKPF Facebook event page says it is destined to become the premier event for the community.
On July 16, the WKPF Facebook page posted:
It has come to our attention, that some individuals of our community wish to petition the city commissioners to force the festival from outside to indoors. Forced Quarantine, and the public degradation and slander of our community is a violation of our constitutional rights, and would in turn be a violation of their own fairness ordinance. The next city commission meeting is next Tuesday (July 23) at city hall at 5:30 p.m. if you find it in your hearts and ability to join us to show Paducah that we are united and that we are just trying to celebrate who we are and the beautiful area we live in. Western Kentucky Pride Festival has from the beginning has been a family friendly event with music, food, arts, and crafts. We have for too long allowed ourselves to be victims of a hate filled world we will be above the negativity and stand tall, all while drawing in people from all over the region to boost our cities economy.
This isn’t the first Pride event backlash that has happened in Kentucky within the last 30 days.
The Taylor County Library and county officials received complaints from conservative community members concerning an LGBTQ+ Pride Panel that took place on June 18.
The panel, which included discussions with five openly queer people from across the state, is part of the library’s effort to offer relevant community and cultural events.
“The issue that we are facing is just a core group of radical right wingers who feel that we don’t have a place in their city, yet want to grow and see the city become great while pushing out anyone who doesn’t think like them,” Havens said. “We are a community of decent, tax paying citizens who just want to celebrate who we are.”
Editor’s Note: We will update this article as we receive more information.